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February 13, 2013—The SEI often works to transition mature technologies and processes to the broad software engineering community, and to accelerate the adoption and impact of software engineering improvements. In that spirit, the SEI has made all of its SOA Migration, Adoption and Reuse Technique (SMART) resources freely available. These resources comprise all the SMART training materials, processes, and artifacts. SMART is a family of techniques created by the SEI to help organizations make better decisions about service oriented architecture (SOA) adoption.
"SOA is no longer an emerging technology," said Grace Lewis (pictured), senior member of the technical staff in the SEI's Research, Technology, and System Solutions Program, "We have worked with many organizations and have seen where they succeed and where they fail with SOA adoption. The insights we've gained from this work have informed SMART. It's time to share this knowledge with the public."
If implemented correctly, SOA adoption can provide organizations agility and help them leverage legacy systems. The key word in the previous statement is if. "There is still a widespread belief that SOA can be implemented out of the box," said Lewis. "The reality of SOA implementation is much more complex, which is why we've advocated that SOA is not a thing but rather an architecture pattern and a way of developing systems."
Lewis noted that the SEI started developing SMART in 2006. At that time, SMART focused only on providing guidance for migrating legacy systems to SOA environments. However, as the SEI started working with organizations interested in using SMART, its developers realized that organizations approach SOA adoption through a variety of entry points. For example, the SEI has experience with organizations that have found themselves in the following situations:
- SOA adoption appears to be valid strategy, but the organization is not completely convinced.
- SOA adoption has been mandated, but the organization does not know where to start.
- An organization needs to fit into an existing SOA environment, or acquire an SOA infrastructure, but it is not sure how.
- An organization wants to provide services in an SOA environment, but it does not know what services it should provide.
- An organization wants to expose functionality from selected legacy systems in an SOA environment, but it does not understand the implications of this migration.
- An organization wants to fully migrate a set of systems to an SOA environment but needs to determine the proper path for migration.
"This is why we created what we call the 'SMART Family,'" said Lewis, "which is a set of processes and artifacts designed to help organizations at different points along the path to SOA adoption." The SMART Family of techniques includes the following:
- SMART-AF : SOA Adoption Feasibility
- SMART-ESP: Enterprise Service Portfolio
- SMART-ENV: SOA Environment
- SMART-MP: Migration Pilot
- SMART-SYS: Service-Oriented Systems Development
According to Lewis, one of SMART's strengths is its vendor and technology neutrality. "SMART is a set of best practices and questions any organization should ask before deciding to introduce service orientation," she said. "It helps educate organizations about the process, which in turn makes them better equipped to work effectively with vendors and consultants once they have made an informed decision about SOA adoption."
Lewis noted that the SMART resources now available through the SEI website will be of value to both developers and decision makers. "Adoption decisions are made at different levels," said Lewis. "SMART-AF, for instance, is targeted more toward decision makers while SMART-ENV will be of greater value to IT personnel. That said, the resources, especially the interview guides, are the codification of our knowledge in what can go wrong with SOA adoption, which should be useful to all people involved in service-oriented projects."
Lewis is pleased the SEI has made SMART Family resources freely available, and she hopes the SEI's lead in the development of these techniques might establish a foundation for how organizations approach SOA adoption. "I suspect over time organizations might improve on these processes and tailor them to their own situations," said Lewis. "I would encourage any organization using these SMART resources to let us know how they used them and how effective they were."
To download the SEI's SMART Family resources, please visit http://www.sei.cmu.edu/architecture/tools/smart/index.cfm.
For more information about the SEI's work in the area of SOA adoption and implementation, please visit http://www.sei.cmu.edu/sos/start/soacenter/.