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5/23/2007
08:02 AM
David Linthicum
David Linthicum
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Here Comes Salesforce SOA

I've been blogging about the "platform on-demand" space for a while now, clearly a destination for many SaaS players, with Salesforce.com leading the way. Indeed, Salesforce has been cobbling together an offering for some time now under the "Apex" brand. This week at its Salesforce Developer Conference the company announced it has added enough features to now offer Salesforce SOA, or SOA on-demand… I've always said that SaaS and SOA are linked concepts, now Salesforce.com is proving me rig

I've been blogging about the "platform on-demand" space for a while now, clearly a destination for many SaaS players with Salesforce.com leading the way. Indeed, Salesforce has been cobbling together an offering for some time now under the "Apex" brand. This week at its Salesforce Developer Conference, the company announced that it has added enough features to now offer Salesforce SOA, or SOA on-demand."Salesforce SOA provides the ability to mashup salesforce.com's multi-tenant, on-demand service with enterprise workflow and business processes to enable new kinds of enterprise applications on demand. As a new capability of the Apex programming language, Salesforce SOA will enable SOA-based business processes, such as enterprise applications, to be created, maintained and leveraged on demand. SOA business processes will become virtual and sharable, and benefit from the scalability and agility of the on-demand model."

Brad Shimmin, another Intelligent Enterprise contributor, did a good job with a story that discussed the notion of SOA on demand.

"SaaS is about delivering a single piece of software to many users, and SOA is about building software that's flexible and reusable. If you put the two together, you end up with a SaaS solution that uses SOA technologies to more rapidly adjust to changing market conditions and customer needs."

Salesforce.com is on to something here. Indeed, on-demand SOA is one of those notions that will find a market quickly. It's cost effective, provides enough features to be productive… oh, did I say cost effective?

Truth-be-told, SOA is a rich man's game. The time in planning, requirements gathering, implementation and testing is daunting enough. When you consider the cost of a "big stack" SOA platform, most midsized enterprises are priced out of that market. Moreover, SOA has the danger of creating another set of stovepipes that could make inter-enterprise integration difficult if not done properly. Enter products like Salesforce SOA, with core SOA technology such as service development, deployment, testing, service management, workflow, etc., all on demand, all available as subscription services. This product has a few clear advantages:

Cost. Yes, I said it again. But you need to consider maintenance as well - no hardware or software to maintain. The product upgrades itself since it's a remote platform that somebody else is maintaining.

Centralization. The use of a central SOA, on demand, means that other enterprises can easily discover and share services in support of value-chain integration and other applications where many distributed entities are accessing the same set of services and/or applications for common purposes.

Integration with Web assets. The fact that this is SOA on-demand, on the platform of the Web, means that all of the assets of the Web, such as APIs, information and millions of services, will be available to that centralized SOA as the mother of all repositories.

I've always said that SaaS and SOA are linked concepts, now Salesforce.com is proving me right. It will take some months before the killer applications/SOAs begin to exist on this platform, but with the number of Salesforce.com subscribers and interest in this product, I don't think it will be a long wait. I'll be watching Salesforce SOA, as well as anybody else jumping into this space. It's just darn interesting.

Application integration and service oriented architecture expert David Linthicum heads the product development, implementation and strategy consulting firm The Linthicum Group. Write him at david@linthicumgroup.com.I've been blogging about the "platform on-demand" space for a while now, clearly a destination for many SaaS players, with Salesforce.com leading the way. Indeed, Salesforce has been cobbling together an offering for some time now under the "Apex" brand. This week at its Salesforce Developer Conference the company announced it has added enough features to now offer Salesforce SOA, or SOA on-demand… I've always said that SaaS and SOA are linked concepts, now Salesforce.com is proving me right.

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