As mentioned in my SOA methodology question post, I had the opportunity to attend Cape Clear’s SOA Architect Forum in Boston. The forum attendees were predominantly enterprise IT professionals, and IT consultants (large firm and boutique) who specialize in integration and/or SOA.
Chris Riley and Andy Wall (engineers/SOA practitioners, not marketers) from Cape Clear did a great job speaking to SOA concepts and practices, supporting standards (Web Services (SOAP, WSDL, UDDI), XML (XSD, XSTL, XPath, XQuery), WS-RM, BPEL), and of course, introducing and demonstrating the Cape Clear ESB.
Although it would be premature for me to comment on the product itself – I want to take it for a spin myself first – there are points I do wantto cover, which will lend insight into Cape Clear’s architectural premise.
From the onset, I could tell the forum wasn’t just about selling Cape Clear’s ESB, it was also about evangelizing SOA. Not pound on the podium evangelism, but rational, informative evangelism. My quick recap of Cape Clear’s
- Business benefits: agility (time to market, responsiveness), real-time visibility, better regulatory compliance
- IT benefits: reuse, responsiveness, developer productivity, standards based, innovation catalysts
- Architectural Approach
- An overarching layer, exposing existing IT assets as business services
- Standards based: use the Web Services family (WSDL, SOAP, UDDI, WS-*, BPEL)
- Interoperable: invocation and discovery, XML Schema
- Smart Service Definition: implementation independent, loosely coupled, coarse grained, documents rather than RPC, asynchronous and synchronous
- Incremental: start with a project, work your way to the enterprise
- Business-Driven: partnership between IT and business, smart investment, measurable payback
- Governance: service library, data models, reference deployment architectures
- Do NOT derive service definitions from existing code
- Do NOT model the technology, model the business!
- Not Message Centric, but SOA Centric
At a glance, not many surprises here. Good SOA fundamentals. Good Technology practices. Good Business focus. Good advice for the attendees.
What’s important to note though, is this advice doesn’t just pertain to the attendees; it pervades the Cape Clear ESB. This brings me to their architectural premise. The Cape Clear ESB has been designed and developed with the
following in mind:
- A document (or noun) view of services; REST architectural style, but not (XML/HTTP) technical implementation model
- IT assets, now and the future, will be heterogeneous, however interoperability will be achieved through standards; specifically, WS-* standards
- Incremental wins the day. Offer functionality that people are ready for, and that is ready for consumption.
- Invest for innovation. Cape Clear has hand developed the internals of the ESB engine, but leverages OSS projects for tooling, and object/relational persistence.
And the big points…
- SOA Centric, not Message Centric. Within the Cape Clear ESB, the integration services (data translation, interceptors, etc.) run as Web Services, and interact using WS-* technologies.
- Standards, Standards, Standards!
So, a good way for IT professionals to learn about SOA and Cape Clear. It was great to see the emphasis on imparting knowledge, and fielding tons of interesting (but at times tangential) technical questions, rather than a hard product or service sell. It was also nice to hear the same messages from his team, as I heard from Annrai himself, when we spoke of Cape Clear’s vision.
Next, for me on Cape Clear, is to take the ESB for a spin. Now, if only I had screen shots of the design and development of the phone provisioning scenario to get me started…