Service-Oriented Architecture (SOA) is a set of best practices for organizing enterprise IT resources to support dynamic, flexible business processes. As an architectural approach, SOA is inherently platform, technology, and protocol neutral, so how well leading platform vendors are able to tell an accurate SOA story, while nevertheless seeking to promote their own platforms, is an interesting question.
It’s important to emphasize that it’s reasonable for any vendor to seek to explain how their offerings support their customers’ architecture efforts. SOA, however, sets the bar particularly high, as a core aspect of SOA is organizing heterogeneous resources to better support agile process requirements. It is important, therefore, to contrast how well platform vendors, and in particular Microsoft and IBM, position their offerings to support their customers’ efforts to deal with their inherent heterogeneity, without requiring them to solve heterogeneity problems by moving to a single vendor platform.