An SOA Evolution, Insurance Edition

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24 August 2011

The Technologies Seeking to Usurp the SOA Standards


Is SOA fit for the next decade? With the rise of new companies dealing with massive scale and performance issues, SOAP and WS-* are being challenged as the leading methods of integrating IT systems. Are SOAP and WS-* good enough? What problems highlight the weaknesses of these standards, now widely adopted among insurers? What are the alternatives?

In a new report, An SOA Evolution: The Technologies Seeking to Usurp the SOA Standards, Celent reviews SOA’s, origins, history, and current state. In addition Celent looks at the new approaches vying for developer attention including Facebook’s Thrift and Google ProtocolBuffers. What problems do these solve that SOA did not?

This report examines the new problems facing the IT industry and why developers are finding alternatives to the standards underlying many software implementations aligned to SOA. Celent examines some of the alternatives that are gaining ground and finds SOA is not dead, but rather evolving as the industry responds to a new set of challenges.

Why aren’t SOAP and WS-* one-size-fits-all solutions?

  • It’s expensive to parse a SOAP message in JavaScript on a mobile web browser.
  • Sending even moderately sized data files in SOAP can double the size of the message and requires
    considerable computing power to process at the other end.
  • SOAP-based web services offer little direction in service design and little support for using common data items.

“For insurers, SOA, SOAP, and WS-* are certainly not dead, but perhaps there’s something to learn from the alternatives,” says Craig Beattie, Analyst with Celent’s Insurance group and author of the report. “Over the next three to five years, the standards surrounding SOA, SOAP, and WS-* should move towards a much lighter framework.”