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SOA On Wall Street: IBM-Fest February 16, 2007

Posted by newyorkscot in SOA / Virtualization.
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Well, once again, IBM leads off another conference with its keynote speech on how they have already solved the entire world’s problems. Although you know how the presentation is going to pan out, I was pleasantly impressed with the speaker, Sandra Carter, VP SOA and Websphere Strategy, Channels and Marketing — she stood in front of the podium without any prompts and delivered the presentation in a very professional and confident manner.

The IBM pitch was not a bad one and pointed out some of the considerations for building an SOA, such as being able to simulate and adapt to changes in the business process model. That said, there were some pretty strange statistics being quoted such as: “74% of CIOs with SOA strategies are on the executive committee of their company, versus 59% of CIOs without SOAs are not”, and “the average salary of a CIO with an SOA is $250k, versus $159k for those who do not”. That second statistic did not sound like Wall Street to me.

When IBM got into the details, there were all kinds of tools (and acronyms) being thrown around: Component Business Model (CBM), Service Orientated Modeling and Architecture (SOMA), SOA Business Catalog, SOA Maturity Model, Assessment Tool and Workshops, etc. On the product side of things, they illustrated a couple of case studies where there were different drivers for adopting SOA, each of which utilized a different set of various Websphere products such as Websphere Business Services Fabric, Process Server, Message Broker, MQ, DB2, etc.

Some time was then spent on Websphere Front Office for Financial Markets which is a “sharable low latency market data distribution service” – that sounds more like a repackaging of MQ to me than any revolutionary new product offering.  It also has “Reliable Multicast Messaging”, which is an upgraded pub/sub mechanism with higher performance levels. Additionally, “it prevents loss of market data ticks” and has metering, monitoring, auditing and entitlement capacilities. Specifically, this *new* piece of infrastructure can handle 100,000 messages/second and a latency in the order of 300 microseconds. It can also hook up to various market data providers such as Opera and Bloomberg (who are a development partner for this product) using their “binary self-describing ticks”. Sounds to me that IBM have decided that market data is their new strategy for financial markets. This was all demonstrated in an application that had a LOT of data flashing rapidly across it (we could not figure out if the demo was written in flash or Winforms – either way it did not look like a trading application !).

The presentation ended with a quick run through of thier Enterprise Service Bus Offering that includes 3 products for SOA: Websphere ESB (for web service integration); Websphere Message Broker (for web service and non-web service assets); and Websphere DataPower (a specialized hardware/software appliance that provides performance acceleration on XML processing as well as enhanced security capacilities).

In summary, it was typical stuff — lots of plumbing that probably needs a lot of IBM consulting services to generate a lot of reports/assessments to tell you how to use it.

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