SOA and Communications

Nortel and IBM recently announced joint technology for integrating business applicaitons with communication services (InfoWorld article, SearchSOA article). Personally, I’m glad to see this announcement. I first had conversations around communications services with a colleague back in early 2006. He was looking at the future state communications infrastructure and came to me wanting to know how to make sure it would fit in with SOA. I had never thought about this before, but it made perfect sense. Communications, clearly, is a capability, so why shouldn’t those technical capabilities be exposed as services? Kudos to Nortel for having a press release about this and really emphasizing how this can play in a company’s SOA is a win in my book. While I’m sure other vendors in the communications space also have these capabilities, they’re not emphasized. As a result, it creates an atmosphere for more silo-based thinking around point-to-point integrations, rather on how this capability fits into the broader collection of enterprise capabilities.

The field of communications would also probably make a great case study or research project. If someone were to try to define communications services 10 years ago versus today, you’d have a very different collection. Would a presence service even be mentioned? Would it have been voice only, or would it have involved text/instant messaging, email, and/or video as well? It certainly makes the case for active service lifecycle management versus defining the services once and then moving on to the next project. As you define your service domains, you have to recognize that the definitions of those domains and even the collection of domains themselves will change.

One Response to “SOA and Communications”

  • Rob Eamon:

    “Communications, clearly, is a capability, so why shouldn’t those technical capabilities be exposed as services?”

    One could argue that they probably have been exposed for a long time. But via proprietary interfaces instead of web services. This announcement seems akin to announcing a new interface SDK, albeit a standards-based one.

    I wonder how proprietary the web services are? Will an app be able to switch from one provider to another easily? Probably not, at least initially.

    The use of SOA within the article seems spurious. Interesting too that the article speaks of “**integration** of communications services into business applications.”

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