SOA adoption on a decline

SOA (service oriented architecture) adoption has hit a bump in the road, according to survey detailed by Gartner.

The number of organizations planning to adopt SOA for the first time decreased to 25 per cent; it had been 53 per cent in last year’s survey. Also, the number of organizations with no plans to adopt SOA doubled from 7 per cent in 2007 to 16 per cent in 2008.

This dramatic falloff has been happening since the beginning of 2008, Gartner said.

Gartner has been doing the survey for five years, and this is the first time the numbers dropped, said analyst Dan Sholler, research vice president at Gartner. “What we’re seeing is that there are a bunch of organizations [that] for a variety of reasons don’t expect to be doing anything specific about SOA next year,” Sholler said.

This year’s survey saw a decline in the growth rate for SOA, he stressed. Overall, organizations expect to be doing fewer projects next year, with the economy contributing to that to a degree, Sholler said. Organizations also may be doing fewer things for which SOA applies, he said.

A growing number of large organizations are deferring plans to utilize SOA, the study found. Fifty-three per cent of respondents already were using SOA. Meanwhile, 20 per cent of respondents were building event-driven architectures and 20 per cent had plans to do so in the next 12 months.

Use of modern programming environments is closely associated with SOA, Gartner said. This suggests that more organizations are focusing on SOA in the context of new developments that use Java, Microsoft .Net, and dynamic languages like Perl, Python, PHP, and Ruby.

Organizations must ponder options when applying SOA in legacy programming environments because skills in blending the two likely will be scarce, Gartner said.

Gartner also said the number of organizations already pursuing SOA shows a massive change in the future perception of SOA, from something that is essentially inevitable for all organizations in a short time to a situation where many organizations evaluated SOA and have chosen not to spend time and effort on it.

The two major reasons organizations choose for not pursuing SOA are lack of skills and expertise and no viable business case. There is confusion about constructing a business case for SOA, Gartner said.

Gartner conducted surveys between May and July 2008 about the adoption, use, benefits of, and practices for SOA. An initial sample of more than 200 companies worldwide with more than 1,000 employees was included. Three subsequent phases of the study involved surveying attendees at Gartner conferences related to SOA. A total of 119 respondents were involved in these subsequent surveys.

The survey found that adoption of SOA and plans for adoption vary widely by region. SOA adoption is nearly universal in Europe, moderate in North America, and lagging in Asia, Gartner said.

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