Monday, June 18, 2007

SOA still making an impact

IBM’s SOA (Service-Oriented Architecture) conference, IMPACT 2007, attracted nearly 4,000 attendees to Orlando, Florida. IBM used the occasion to make some software and services announcements.

IBM introduced a new mainframe version of WebSphere Process Server, which, they claim, automates people and information-centric business processes, and also consolidates mission-critical elements of a business onto a single system. IBM suggests that a combination of DB2 9, WebSphere Application Server (WAS), and WebSphere Process Server will deliver process and data services for SOA on a mainframe.

IBM also announced DB2 Dynamic Warehouse, which integrates Information on Demand and SOA strategies to implement Dynamic Warehousing solutions – they said. It also integrates with Rational Asset Manager (a registry of design, development, and deployment related assets such as services) to improve SOA governance and life-cycle management. At the same time, IBM announced a new WAS feature pack to simplify Web services deployment.

The trouble with SOA is that there are a lot of people talking about it, but not enough people who really understand how to implement SOA in an organization. IBM has thought about that issue and announced at IMPACT 2007 218 self-paced and instructor-led courses conducted online and in the classroom. IBM also claimed that it has good relationships with colleges and universities round the world and is working on the development of SOA-related curricula with them.

If you want to visualize how an SOA affects different parts of an organization, IBM had an interactive 3D educational game simulator. Called Innov8, this BPM simulator is designed to increase the understanding between IT departments and business executives.

At the same time, IBM announced an online portal containing Webcasts, podcasts, demos, White Papers, etc for people looking to get more SOA-related information.

Lastly, IBM announced its SOA portfolio, which contained integrated technology from DataPower SOA appliances, FileNet content manager, and Business Process Management (BPM). Included in the announcement was the WebSphere DataPower Integration Appliance XI50, which can now support direct database connectivity. Also, IBM has integrated the capabilities of WebSphere with the FileNet BPM.

So, not surprisingly, SOA and WebSphere are definitely THE hot topics for IBM at the moment.

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