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Chapter Seven. Service Integration Archi... > Best Practices in Service Integratio...

7.6. Best Practices in Service Integration Architecture

A successful service-oriented architecture enables companies to rapidly implement new business solutions or change existing ones and can deliver a substantial ROI. However, SOA is not necessarily easy to accomplish. The following best practices will help you reap the full benefits of SOA.

  • Provide high-level organizational structure and support. Success with SOA requires ongoing enterprise commitment and investment. SOA can not be accomplished with a single project. There needs to be a group of experts, such as the competency center, that focuses on the definition, growth, and reuse of the SOA. There need to be organizational processes and policies governing enterprise integration. As integration crosses organizational boundaries, it can also cause territorial disputes. Companies need processes and policies for managing these disputes (described in more detail in section 4.4, Organizational Structure and Architecture Governance).

  • Implement standards-based architecture. Standards help ensure both interoperability and portability. They prevent technology lock-in, and help preserve value in IT investments. Web service standards are enabling the widespread adoption of SOA, despite the fact that it has been a known best architectural practice for three decades. XML enabling your systems is one way to provide a standards-based transport, management, and storage format for all structured data and unstructured content within the organization.

  • Implement a standards-based approach. Follow the example of the standards committees that have long experience with creating processes that are successful in creating interoperable standards. Perform design reviews for service interfaces, and include all stakeholders. Stakeholders can be identified through the use cases.

  • Think big, start small. When planning for an SOA implementation, consider the enterprise-wide impact in order to maximize reuse and agility. But start with a project that has a limited scope and a high probability of success. Nothing succeeds like success. You will learn a lot from each implementation, so wait until you have a couple of smaller implementations under your belt before tackling the most difficult challenges.

  • Invest in training. You will have a higher probability of success if your employees know what they're doing. Few designers and programmers have experience with SOAs built on standards such as Web services and XML. It's all too new. All stakeholders, including business and IT managers, architects, designers, programmers, and operational support personnel need to understand the overall concepts of SOA and what their role in the process is. Architects and designers need to understand the design parameters and best practices for creating agile and reusable systems. Programmers need to understand the new technology, and how to implement services and infrastructure components. Operational support personnel need to understand the implications of managing a distributed SOA.

  • Use tools to save time and money. Don't try to handcraft everything. A wide variety of tools are available that can reduce time and skill sets required to implement the solution. Invest in tools when the advantages clearly outweigh the cost.


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