The new frameworks

As delivery of service-oriented computing proliferates around the globe, the networking architectures of the Middle East are realigning to embrace this new trend. Adrian Bridgwater examines the issues at hand.

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By  Adrian Bridgwater Published  March 10, 2008

As delivery of service-oriented computing proliferates around the globe, the networking architectures of the Middle East are realigning to embrace this new trend. Adrian Bridgwater examines the issues at hand.

That service-oriented architecture (SOA) is here to stay will hardly be news to networking professionals across the Middle East.

At the network level, SOA can provide a higher level of unified services in a secure form even when these services stretch outside the core datacentre.

Internet-driven services from basic YouTube videos to more sophisticated web 2.0 features and location-based mobile services have ensured that 'packaged' technology resources in the form of identifiable and reusable units (or services) are becoming the accepted norm.

What is crucial now, as we sit in the calm before the storm, is how this development scales to operate at the network level and delivers thousands of times over at a quality that individuals and corporates will be willing to pay for.

Defining the term

Typically, SOA is defined as a collection of principles that describe an architecture where 'loosely coupled' services exist to feed a defined interface between service providers and service consumers.

At the network level, this means that SOA can provide a higher level of unified services in a secure form even when these services stretch outside the core datacentre.

Defined by Cisco as SONA (or service oriented network architecture), it is both users and software applications themselves that should be regarded as users or ‘consumers' of these services.

While SOA is still essentially a 'theory' as opposed to a proven concrete mathematical fact, the Middle East's nascent (and in many cases relatively young) economic and technological foundations are well suited to being gently re-aligned to take advantage of SOA-based networking where benefits can be identified.

Key to building effective SOA for the network is the fact that service delivery must be simple and unencumbered by the need to accommodate different architectures.

It should also be capable of working in different types of heterogeneous computing environments and handling different protocols, operating systems, policies and boundaries.

"We are seeing organisations of all sizes embarking upon this architectural approach."

"Cisco is working closely with customers and channel partners in the region to ensure that the benefits of SOA networking are understood and that it is taken into account for both existing and new projects," says Chintan Patel, business development manager for emerging markets technology at Cisco in the Middle East.

A new world of collaborative business

"Building a service-oriented network not only establishes a cost-effective, scalable foundation for the emerging collaborative nature of business interactions, it improves communications and strengthens customer loyalty."

"By optimising the network, an organisation can accelerate the creation of business value. Specifically, it can increase the flexibility of internal processes - reduce costs through standardisation - foster innovation inside and outside the company - improve the value created by enterprise applications and boost adoption of web 2.0 technologies."

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