IBM Pads SOA Plate

IBM  said it is opening two service-oriented architecture (SOA) centers to develop, and manage business services.

Company officials said that the centers, located in Pune, India and Beijing, China, will serve as the foundation for a new model for delivering SOA-based services for Big Blue.

SOAs  are distributed computing frameworks that allow customers to reuse code and services, helping them choreograph Web services and bits of legacy software to power modern business processes.

For example, a new business service can track inventory through the design, manufacturing, supply and payment processes, all of which were previously disconnected.

Ginny Rometty, who leads Global Business Services, said the advent of SOA will change the industry as much as the Internet has, because of how SOA allows applications and business processes to connect.

Rometty said during a conference call with reporters that IBM expects demand for SOA to grow by 54 percent through 2008, making it a $160 billion market.

The new centers will help Big Blue further tap into this market, giving programmers a place to create and manage a portfolio of repeatable services components.

The center in Pune will initially develop business services for the insurance industry, while the Beijing center will develop services for governments, including financial and case management and banks.

Approximately 500 IBM SOA experts will focus on these activities at each center.

Robert LeBlanc, general manager of WebSphere, said the tools and models are based on assets IBM recently acquired from Webify Solutions.

One of the benefits of SOA, said LeBlanc, is that companies can even incorporate older legacy systems into this framework.

“We have been enabling our middleware to expose the function as a Web service,” LeBlanc said on the call.

“The legacy is being opened up to participate, and that’s what makes SOA so powerful. In building loosely-coupled systems, I can start to build these composite business services as business functions, and it really is independent of what the technology is behind it.”

LeBlanc also said that IBM is compiling a catalog of composite business services that it can bring to various engagements around the world.

The new SOA centers follow IBM’s announcement earlier this month that it has successfully integrated the SOA technologies from several acquisitions into its own brands.

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