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DreamWorks Moves To SOA

A move to the Linux operating system and open source applications more than a year ago played a key role in DreamWorks' transition to a service-oriented architecture.
SOA allowed DreamWorks to develop and integrate a new copyright-tracking application with authorization and authentication features for incoming film scripts. Hollywood studios rely on open-source code to protect their digital property rights. DreamWorks took it one step further.

A central repository now maintains data, roles, responsibilities, and workflow information related to the applications. Other business services migrated to the SOA model are company directories, employee bulletin boards, vacation requests, and cafeteria menus.

SOA will allow DreamWorks to continually add business applications, as well as support ongoing enhancements. "We're using HP's Linux reference architecture," Wong said. "HP took a lot of open source technologies and applications and pieced them together to develop this framework."

Wong declined to give details on the investment in the technology. A 2005 survey from AMR Research Inc. of 134 services and manufacturing companies shows 65 percent that use SOA spent less than $1 million in 2004. The research firm said investments in 2005 remained flat, but 60 percent plan increases averaging 17 percent for 2006.

While the appeal of SOA includes faster and more flexible reconfiguration of business steps within a process, SOA's greatest shortcoming remains complexity, including the lack of off-the-shelf software to accommodate the shift, according to AMR Research.

DreamWorks Animation runs on the Linux operating system. It uses an Oracle Corp. database, as well as financial and human resource applications, and JBoss Enterprise Middleware Suite (JEMS) for application servers. Custom-built applications, when an off-the-shelf package is unavailable, are written in a J2EE framework.