The Open Source value proposition for SOA
This paper is aimed at IT managers and architects considering the use of Open Source Software within a SOA project. The deployment of any software into an organization has implications far beyond a simple technical evaluation. Once deployed it can be expensive, risky and disruptive to remove it. But relying on obsolete or hard to maintain software is equally worrisome. Therefore, the decision to deploy any new software requires careful analysis of the benefits, risks and costs associated with potentially relying on that software for many years to come. While Open Source Software (OSS) is a high profile topic in the software industry, a major inhibitor to adoption remains a lack of knowledge of how to evaluate the benefits and risks associated with its use. This lack of information leads organizations to either ignore OSS when it is the best solution or adopt OSS without fully understanding the consequences.
This paper focuses on the use of OSS to implement Service Oriented Architecture (SOA); an area which is notable by the number and popularity of Open Source projects. The goals of the paper are to clear the confusion around SOA Open Source Software and to provide decision-makers with the knowledge required to analyse whether an OSS-based solution is the best option for their SOA project. Furthermore, it highlights the value provided by OSS vendors which in many cases are crucial to the long-term success of OSS adoption.
As such, this paper should be considered as a guide for management in any organization that is in the process of selecting infrastructure software for use as part of their SOA program. It analyses the benefits derived from using Open Source Software for SOA projects: focusing in particular on the risk and budgetary dimensions. It clarifies the role of the businesses which provide services around the Open Source projects (the OSS vendors) and distinguishes between vendors providing OSS versions of closed source products and those providing OSS only solutions.