We all know that SOA stands for Service Oriented Architecture, right? Gaurav Sharma over at Infosys-Oracle has another definition of SOA and it really fits well with both the business and IT goals surrounding SOA.

Gaurav redefines SOA as Scalable, Open, and Adaptable, and then walks through how Oracle solutions fit this definition. This actually makes a lot of sense, because open and adaptable are inexorably tied to SOA as an architectural methodology. SOA is built on open standards like SOAP, WSDL, and XML and its meta-data driven execution style is highly adaptable, making it flexible or, in the language of SOA and business goals, agile.

You might recall that Forrester Research's latest SOA adoption study cited flexibility (agility) as a key business driver behind SOA implementations in the enterprise.

soara You might also recall that the "A" in SOA really stands for architecture, and that a complete enterprise architecture requires - or should require - a complementary application infrastructure. That infrastructure should align itself with the goals of the business just as well as the rest of the architecture in which services play a large role. An adaptable architecture, as Gaurav points out, is necessary to tailor solutions dynamically to meet the needs of both the business and IT.

Application delivery networks align themselves well with SOA, whether it's defined as service-oriented architecture or scalable, open, and adaptable. An application delivery controller is, at its core, about providing scalability. Adding support for open standards, both in delivering SOA applications as well as management, makes it open. And adaptability is yet another core tenet of a modern application delivery controller, whether it's through reusable policies or a customizable platform that can adapt in real-time to changing network and application infrastructure conditions.

I like Gaurav's redefinition of SOA as a description of what a SOA ought to be in terms of its attributes. SOA itself is a methodology, an architectural paradigm that should produce an architecture that is SOA (scalable, open, and adaptable).

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