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SCA Applies SOA Principles to Apps Design


SCA aims to apply the SOA principles of component reuse and standardized interfaces to application design. As with SOA, the main benefits are flexibility and interoperability, because with SCA, applications are not dependent on just one Java platform.

SCA was created by the Open SOA Collaboration, an IBM-led effort whose membership roster includes 18 Java and SOA players, such as BEA Systems, Oracle, Red Hat and Sun Microsystems. The first SCA implementation was Apache Tuscany, an open-source project. In April, the reins for SCA were handed over to OASIS. Microsoft has no plans to support SCA.

SCA looks likely to become the successor to the Java platform. It could become more, but probably not without support from Microsoft.

Without a new programming model, the exponential acceleration in software speed could come to a screeching halt. Sure, Moore's Law still applies, but it's increasingly manifested as a larger number of CPU cores--which helps with server consolidation, but doesn't make today's single-threaded application run any faster. To take full advantage of tomorrow's hardware, apps must be broken up into small, loosely coupled components that can run concurrently on different cores on the processor.

Distributed applications ought to face this problem already, but most don't--thanks to SOA (service-oriented architecture). Designed to aid with service reuse and interoperability, SOA's architectural style also helps prevent unnecessary dependencies among applications or services. With SCA (service component architecture), under development by the Web services standards body OASIS, most of the big SOA players are attempting to apply SOA principles to applications. Just as SOA is about realigning IT infrastructure to fit businesses processes, SCA intends to rebuild applications so they are better aligned with SOA.

SCA is on the road map of every major SOA vendor except Microsoft, and its promise goes beyond making service-oriented apps or making more efficient use of multicore processors. By standardizing metadata about the relationships between app components, it should speed development time, letting apps be built from a large set of reusable components that are language- and runtime-platform-independent. On track to be ratified by OASIS within the next year, the first draft of the spec is supported by IBM and Oracle, among others.

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