Thursday, April 16, 2009

DoD and SOA

I was at the DoD sponsored SOA Symposium a couple of weeks back. I was speaking on Open Source and SOA, which is a little different to the abstract shown (more on that in a minute). Overall I was very pleased and impressed with the conference: it was by invitation only and limited to about 400 attendees (including the presenters). Every session was packed and there was a good mix of vendors and use-cases. I can hear what vendors think any time of the day, so it was the user-driven sessions and interactions that I was particularly interested in.

If this event was anything to go by then the DoD (and the US Government in general) really seems to have embraced SOA and open source. That's really good to see on a number of levels (I'm trying to remain objective here!) What blew me away though was the sheer scale of the projects that they run: lots of people involved and lots of money being spent. It should go without saying that reliability, fault tolerance and security (the Common Criteria is king here) are critical to everything that goes on, which can make it hard for the majority of vendors to get accepted.

Overall it was probably one of the most eye-opening events I've been to in recent years. The sessions were uniformly good, but it was the interactions between the presentations that really made this event shine. It's good to see (open source) SOA being used successfully in large-scale, mission critical applications.

Now back to my presentation. Because this was a DoD sponsored event you have to try to make your sessions vendor-neutral. Well I obviously missed that memo so had a rush on at the last minute to update the slides and remove all of the SOA Platform references. The presentation I ended up with was much better as a result: given my academic background I don't like white papers or sales-driven presentations anyway.


Anil Saldhana said...

Mark, I am glad that you were able to share your experiences here. It will be valuable.

I have spoken at DHS/DOD sponsored forums in Oct08 and Mar09 on "Assurance with Open Source".

Common Criteria is a minimum requirement to get past the door but not the only criteria. You can say, "it is required but NOT sufficient". :)

Security is one of the most important criteria for any government agency as far as software goes. But it certainly is very welcome that OSS is being embraced.

I can tell you more offline.

John Apps said...

Any chance of getting a copy of the slides?

Cheers, John

Mark Little said...

Hi John. Sure. Email me.