Friday, August 24, 2007

SOA certification program launched

Just saw this article on the CNN/Money website.
IBM Federal SOA Institute Launches IT Certification Program: IBM today announced the first Service Oriented Architecture (SOA) certification and training program for Federal IT professionals. The program was established to provide knowledge, and share important skill sets needed, for SOA development and adoption.

The 12-week certification program is sponsored by the IBM Federal SOA Institute, and will begin September 12th through December 4th. A second series is scheduled for Spring 2008.

Two distinct course tracks are available: an entry level curriculum in order to become a certified SOA Associate, intended for those who are new to SOA concepts and would like to increase their overall understanding; and an advanced curriculum, to become a certified SOA Solution Designer, structured for senior IT professionals who require enhanced knowledge to deploy SOA capabilities within their organization.

Certification modules cover issues such as the value of SOA, determining return on investment, bridging the gap between technical and business teams, basic architecture, establishing solutions using existing assets and new components, identifying barriers to adoption, preparing for governance issues, and effective deployment and management within an organization.


Thursday, August 2, 2007

Web Services performance through the years

On my travels I get asked the simple question many times ... "are web services fast"?

I usually answer by showing the above graphic. Back when I started on Web Services in 2002, the answer was no. As you can see over 5 years, the answer has definitely changed to "it depends".

I say "it depends" with a little sarcasm. Obviously the performance shown in this chart tells you web services performs. However, in practice I find misuses of performance data and/or web services.

The first thing to be wary of is people trying to prove web services aren't viable are folks using "Hello World" string in/string out web services compared to legacy communication protocol xyz. I usually ask such folks how many distributed services in their architecture are string in string out with such small payloads. The answer is none. Usually the service uses complex industry standard schemas and has a small payload in with a large payload out. The above graph therefore is based on a 3k input document using banking industry standard schemas with a 10k output document.

The second thing to be wary of is primitive web services testing. The above graph is an example of primitive web services testing. This is because my team works on optimizing web services. It shows very clearly the impact of web services calling services that have zero business logic. If we optimize the performance of this primitive we will help in all scenario using web services. However, for customers you need to understand that when you add business logic, the performance impact of web services is far less of a concern. To accurately gauge performance impacts of web services in your application, I would suggest a measuring a vertical slice of your entire application, starting at the web service interface, then calling business logic, and finally any database logic. Comparing that vertical slice between web services and legacy communication protocol xyz is a useful comparison.

Lastly, don't replace every legacy communication protocol xyz in every application with web services. Web Services has been documented by almost every vendor to be useful when the service calls are coarse grained. Replacing "services" with calls that are under 1k of input with 1k of output (example a string in, a simple bean out) isn't usually a good idea. Reusable services in a SOA (for example) are typically much larger in payloads as they tend to be calling services that are not fine grained in payload or function.

Now, you may be asking two questions ...

1) How did we improve the performance over the years
2) What is the performance story for 2007 and the new Web Services Feature Pack?

I think those are two good posts to add in the next week or two ...