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A couple of SOA Q&As


Every now and then I get some question by email, I usually just answer them directly but considering I got 2 such questions this week and that I have’t blogged for awhile (I do have a post about YARN which I hope to finish soon) – I thought I’d also publish my replies here.

Question #1 from Simon:

In your very interesting article “Bridging the Impedance Mismatch Between Business Intelligence and Service-Oriented Architecture” you highlight the challenges for BI and SOA to co-exist – that was 6 or so years ago – have you seen any advances that would cause you to revise that view?

I think the gap and dissonance between SOA needs and BI needs is still there. However, in addition to event publishing mentioned in the article, I see the approach to getting to BI on SOA getting more standardized. I outlined that in my book under “Aggregated Reporting” pattern (aggregated-reporting/) where essentially you create an immutable storage of historic data and let different services each update thier part of the big picture.
A trend that we see in the last couple of years, is the adoption of Hadoop (and other big-data platforms) as a means to implement the aggregated reporting pattern. The advantage of a platform like Hadoop is the ability to handle poly-structured data and apply schemas on read which help alleviate the challenges of diverse data sources that flow into the aggregated reporting pool

Question #2 from Marc:

Great book! I have some trouble with the ch 8.4. If you want say a service directly Map whith en table representation on the DB is en wrong thing I’am agree whith you. BUT, if a service is name ‘person’ and the result of get or put (a1b2c3) is a document of all the information’s person, it’s SOA or old way? Personally I implement this on a large insurance company. This type of service in an entity service (for other author is a thin service) but I think for you is a coarse service. Coarse of course, because they are a lot of information. But it’s the more use and reuse service (it’s an attribute of thin service on another books). In fact we test deeply this architecture, and (because we make just 1 call) it’s more relevant than the RPC way (not for 1 call but it’s better after 2 call, ex. Person + adresses.

I think I am not use old way, what’s your opinion?
PS sorry for my poor English, I’m French !

Thanks for the compliment on the book :)
It doesn’t sound like what you’re doing is the “same old way” anti-pattern. The point of that anti-pattern is to say that that if you just put an SOA name on something which is essentially an n-tier architecture than it isn’t really SOA. Same goes for artificially inserting a “service layer” without taking the steps to separate and isolate services anywhere besides that layer.

In any event, when designing architectures, getting to a SOA or a RESTful or whatever is not a goal in itself. We can, and should, use design ideas from whatever paradigm and get something that is both a good fit for our problem and a sustainable solution for moving forward.

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