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Users Send SOA SOS

NEW YORK CITY -- IT managers are calling on vendors to cut through the hype surrounding Service Oriented Architectures (SOAs) and get down to helping them deploy the technology.

To review: A number of vendors, including big names such as IBM, Sun Microsystems, HP, Oracle, and BEA are currently pushing SOAs to the masses. (See Oracle Sets Sights on SOAs, SeeBeyond Sucked Into Sun, IBM Intros SOA , and BEA Looks to VOIP, SOA.) But at the IDC SOA Forum event here today, there was confusion about how best to deploy the technology, which encompasses middleware, application software, and legacy systems.

SOAs are supposed to let users run services in the form of application software across different computing environments -- a kind of platform of platforms.” An SOA theoretically brings some much-needed agility to businesses groaning under the strain of tightly coupled services and systems. But many users still need convincing.

”The biggest hurdle is separating the vendor fog from the technology,” said Jim Weythman, CTO of Integrasolv, a New Jersey-based software development firm and prospective SOA user. “It’s understanding what the essence is versus the glossy stuff.”

Tim Fisher, senior vice president of services firm RCG Technology, another New Jersey user, told Byte and Switch that his headache is a cultural one. “The biggest hurdle now is showing businesspeople the value of SOA,” he said. Vendors, he thinks, should do more to help IT execs “sell” the SOA concept to skeptical end users within their own organizations.

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