muSOAing for 6/18/09

A quick recap on Process Orchestratoin before we hop onto this new world of Service Orchestration.

The need for Process Orchestration has been in place since the first computer program was written. Be it COBOL, C, 4GLs like PowerBuilder or Java you have implemented Orchestration of some sort. The so called 4GLs were nothing but abstractions that hid the gory details of the Windows SDK or J2EE from you and abstracted them out in the form of widgets and controls like a Datawindow control or a JMS control.

Some of the recent Process Engines like BEA WLI and Oracle BPEL PM incorporate some very sophisticated technologies under the covers such as the ability to spawn multiple instances on demand depending on the load, dynamic in-memory caching and other features that make these highly desirable for enterprise level computing.

The term BPM was tagged on to these technologies though the focus was very much on technology though the processes themselves implemented serious business logic. So then came along web services and several things happened. You had a set of standard interfaces/APIs that the business could avail of. You had the option to expose these functions to your internal business and your trading partners. This level of standardization enabled the easy choreography of these APIs however disparate they did seem from a business perspective.

One point of note is, SOA should be viewed as a top down effort where the thinking should always be Business First. I think the technological building blocks have a) matured sufficiently enough and b) proliferated to such an extent, thanks mainly to opensource efforts, that a tactical effort is hardly necessary to evangelize this technology set.

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