Middleware holds SOA key
has an important role to play in SOAs success. Sneha Khanna talks
to Laxman Bhatia, Marketing Manager, Solutions, Asia Pacific, BEA Systems, about
emerging frameworks and technologies in this segment
Has service oriented architecture (SOA) been adopted by
The Indian market is quite mature in terms of middleware adoption, especially
in the case of big companies. SOA has been in the market for a while now. The
technology is not just successful in large enterprises but medium-size companies
Middleware and SOAwhats the connection between
SOA is a natural progression for middleware. The goal of SOA is to enable organisations
realise business and technology advantages through a combination of process
innovation, effective governance, and a technology strategy that revolves around
the definition and re-use of services.
SOAs benefits are higher productivity, agility and speed, because the
components can be re-used instead of having to be re-created, and skills can
be leveraged across projects. It allows IT departments to deliver business services
faster and be more closely-aligned with the business. Further, it allows businesses
to deliver the optimal user experience and gain a competitive edge by being
able to respond quickly and efficiently to needs and opportunities.
SOA is all about processes and solutions. Middleware acts as the glue that binds
everything together. It is the plumbing that goes under to make things work.
Middlewares principal contribution is to provision and securely enable
SOA services over a network. It plays the fundamental role in the creation,
management and monitoring of service infrastructure. In fact, the complete lifecycle
of these services is handled by middleware.
Most companies have a variety of middleware running. Is
there a way to standardise?
That is done by service infrastructure as it abstracts the underlying implementation
and creates a common layer of services. After this layer is created and designed,
one can start leveraging the principles of SOA and getting the maximum return
As an example, for point-to-point solutions we have a product called Aqua Service
Bus. It helps converge enterprise application integration from the past and
Web services of the present under one umbrella to provide a standard platform.
How do initiatives like enterprise service bus (ESB) help
accelerate the deployment of SOA?
An ESB creates a layer of abstraction over underlying implementation. It also
understands proprietary systems and technologies. ESB abstracts these in a standard
interface and the service infrastructure created by it is more usable and manageable.
ESB plays multiple roles. For example, it routes service
messages based on business routes, filters messages, validates messages,
takes care of data transformation, applies sophisticated business logic
to messages, and manages network traffic by defining policies over the
ESB plays multiple roles. For example, it routes service messages
based on business routes, filters messages, validates messages, takes care of
data transformation, applies sophisticated business logic to messages, and manages
network traffic by defining policies over the network. These policies are necessary
criteria if third parties are to have secure access over the service network.
The ESB also monitors and manages services such as the performance governance
model and service level agreements. When you combine these components together,
ESB is the answer because it has in-built flexibility and all the above-mentioned
qualities. It allows you to create similar information across the enterprise
and provision all these services over a network.
How does one deal with the bottlenecks that hamper SOA?
SOA is about change, and change is the hardest thing to achieve. Typical SOA
- An additional tier of governance to manage the common
services infrastructure layer.
- Adjustment of the culture of IT. Developers have
to be taught to stop thinking in terms of solving independent problems and
start writing their applications with re-usability in mind. IT staff need
business process architecture skills, and not just technical ones.
What are the middleware concerns with regard to RFID?
When considering an RFID edge-server, it is important to choose the one which
is lightweight, remotely-manageable, secure, scalable and reliable. Other RFID-specific
considerations are how the edge-server architecture approaches high I/O and
network bandwidth concerns, high CPU utilisation caused by intensive pattern-matching,
and how that meshes with the requirements of low CPU and memory utilisation
at the edge. Reliable transactional messaging with message-ordering, exactly-once
messaging guarantees, and the ability to function in disconnected mode are also
important considerations for the RFID serverespecially around disconnected