Let’s face it; the novelty of SOA has worn off. It has now entered the mainstream. But, for many of the early SOA adopters, the promise of increased agility hasn’t lived up to the reality – especially when it comes to data.
First generation SOA was focused primarily on service mediation, enabling applications to be transformed into reusable services. But as the complexity of business requirements increased and simple web services morphed into precise sequences orchestrating multiple services, data inconsistency became a problem.
The solution to that problem – mapping XML data connections between applications – soon became a new problem. A recent Gartner research report, Conceptual Leap: Bridging Data Silos with Semantic Mediation, describes the problem as: “Point-to-point interfaces can be expensive to develop and maintain due to their number and due to the lack of standardization. Modules cannot be readily reused when inconsistent semantics are buried in the code.”
In fact, even the smallest change could lead to hours of coding, and this was typically done without any insight into the impact of change. There had to be a better way. Enter semantic mediation – which Gartner describes as:
“Semantic mediation is about negotiating ‘the meaning in the middle,’ using a semantic model to serve as a central reference point for translation and reconciliation of meaning between independent (i.e., technically decoupled) worlds and systems.”
For me, the key take-away from this report is that SOA no longer has to struggle with the inflexibility of point-to-point data mappings. Data exchange using a semantic approach, relies on a canonical model to represent the meaning and relationships between data entities. This is not rudimentary transformation. This is agile interoperability bridging multiple data silos delivering information to the application or process when it needs it, in the right format, with the original business context intact.
Next generation SOA is here, and it relies on real-time semantic data integration to enable IT to respond faster to rapid business change.
For more on realizing agility through SOA, check out Hub Vandervoort’s recent chat with Integration Developer News.
View all posts from Calvin Fudge on the Progress blog. Connect with us about all things application development and deployment, data integration and digital business.
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