How to prove the value of service-oriented architecture

Service-oriented architecture is an abstract concept that agency leaders often don't fully understand. Here's a real-life example of proving its value.

Offering data Web services is the best way for agencies implementing service-oriented architectures to prove the value of SOA to their organizations, said Dan Pelman, senior information technology manager with the Federal Aviation Administration’s Air Traffic Organization.

Why start with data? “Most times you can abstract data, you can get to it and put something to wrap around it, and share it out and bring it back in,” Pelman told an audience of federal managers at the 10th SOA in E-government Conference on Sept. 16. The conference, held every six months at Mitre headquarters in Mclean, Va., is hosted by the company along with the Federal SOA Community of Practice.

SOA is a flexible set of design principles used during the phases of systems development and integration in computing. A deployed SOA-based architecture should provide a loosely integrated suite of services that can be used in multiple business domains.

Pelman described how the Air Traffic Organization has been able to achieve big returns on its investment in a Web services-based approach via the agency’s National Airspace System. The NAS has layers of data that includes information about an airport’s terrain, buildings, runways, mandates, obstacles in the way of airplanes, rules to avoid those obstacles and other pertinent information.


Related coverage:

Service-based approach could spur application modernization

Air traffic control architecture taxis down the runway

 


The FAA’s Instrument Procedure Development System takes all that data and supplies it to a two-dimensional, computer-aided design system that holds all of the business rules associated with the data.

“Data, business rules, graphical user interface -- that’s the way we see the world,” Pelman said. “What does your customer care about? The GUI. They want it to look and feel right.”

Once you have these building blocks, you are in a position to serve up layers of data as services.

For example, a flight operations manager requested to access an application behind the firewall without going through the secure virtual private network. “I could have laughed and said, ‘you’re not going to do it,’ " Pelman said. Instead, Pelman asked, “What’s the problem?”

It turned out that after pilots completed their flights, they had to get off their airplanes with their secure, government-issued laptops, find a place to log on and record their hours. Pilots have to record that information immediately. They can't wait. But the system is built into an architecture that allows business layer information to be sent to a GUI through Web services.

Pelman asked the operations manager, “what if I could get you a Blackberry or iPOD where [pilots] could sit in their aircraft and plug in their time or information they needed?” The system knows the flight number and information about the aircrew, so pilots could post their information without having to go through the back-end system.

The flight operations manager had thought he would need a new application, Pelman said. However, in this case, the business rules and datasets were already there. The idea of a linked handheld device was just what the manager needed.

“What he really wanted was a new GUI that was based on the business he was trying to get done,” Pelman said. “He suddenly got excited by SOA for a second” because his problem could be solved and he only had to pay for the GUI. And it would only require a couple of hundred hours worth of work.

“Do you see SOA?” Pelman asked. “Do you see what the possibilities might be?” he said as he implored the enterprise architects present to take up the SOA mantle and deliver it to senior IT and business management.

 

X
This website uses cookies to enhance user experience and to analyze performance and traffic on our website. We also share information about your use of our site with our social media, advertising and analytics partners. Learn More / Do Not Sell My Personal Information
Accept Cookies
X
Cookie Preferences Cookie List

Do Not Sell My Personal Information

When you visit our website, we store cookies on your browser to collect information. The information collected might relate to you, your preferences or your device, and is mostly used to make the site work as you expect it to and to provide a more personalized web experience. However, you can choose not to allow certain types of cookies, which may impact your experience of the site and the services we are able to offer. Click on the different category headings to find out more and change our default settings according to your preference. You cannot opt-out of our First Party Strictly Necessary Cookies as they are deployed in order to ensure the proper functioning of our website (such as prompting the cookie banner and remembering your settings, to log into your account, to redirect you when you log out, etc.). For more information about the First and Third Party Cookies used please follow this link.

Allow All Cookies

Manage Consent Preferences

Strictly Necessary Cookies - Always Active

We do not allow you to opt-out of our certain cookies, as they are necessary to ensure the proper functioning of our website (such as prompting our cookie banner and remembering your privacy choices) and/or to monitor site performance. These cookies are not used in a way that constitutes a “sale” of your data under the CCPA. You can set your browser to block or alert you about these cookies, but some parts of the site will not work as intended if you do so. You can usually find these settings in the Options or Preferences menu of your browser. Visit www.allaboutcookies.org to learn more.

Sale of Personal Data, Targeting & Social Media Cookies

Under the California Consumer Privacy Act, you have the right to opt-out of the sale of your personal information to third parties. These cookies collect information for analytics and to personalize your experience with targeted ads. You may exercise your right to opt out of the sale of personal information by using this toggle switch. If you opt out we will not be able to offer you personalised ads and will not hand over your personal information to any third parties. Additionally, you may contact our legal department for further clarification about your rights as a California consumer by using this Exercise My Rights link

If you have enabled privacy controls on your browser (such as a plugin), we have to take that as a valid request to opt-out. Therefore we would not be able to track your activity through the web. This may affect our ability to personalize ads according to your preferences.

Targeting cookies may be set through our site by our advertising partners. They may be used by those companies to build a profile of your interests and show you relevant adverts on other sites. They do not store directly personal information, but are based on uniquely identifying your browser and internet device. If you do not allow these cookies, you will experience less targeted advertising.

Social media cookies are set by a range of social media services that we have added to the site to enable you to share our content with your friends and networks. They are capable of tracking your browser across other sites and building up a profile of your interests. This may impact the content and messages you see on other websites you visit. If you do not allow these cookies you may not be able to use or see these sharing tools.

If you want to opt out of all of our lead reports and lists, please submit a privacy request at our Do Not Sell page.

Save Settings
Cookie Preferences Cookie List

Cookie List

A cookie is a small piece of data (text file) that a website – when visited by a user – asks your browser to store on your device in order to remember information about you, such as your language preference or login information. Those cookies are set by us and called first-party cookies. We also use third-party cookies – which are cookies from a domain different than the domain of the website you are visiting – for our advertising and marketing efforts. More specifically, we use cookies and other tracking technologies for the following purposes:

Strictly Necessary Cookies

We do not allow you to opt-out of our certain cookies, as they are necessary to ensure the proper functioning of our website (such as prompting our cookie banner and remembering your privacy choices) and/or to monitor site performance. These cookies are not used in a way that constitutes a “sale” of your data under the CCPA. You can set your browser to block or alert you about these cookies, but some parts of the site will not work as intended if you do so. You can usually find these settings in the Options or Preferences menu of your browser. Visit www.allaboutcookies.org to learn more.

Functional Cookies

We do not allow you to opt-out of our certain cookies, as they are necessary to ensure the proper functioning of our website (such as prompting our cookie banner and remembering your privacy choices) and/or to monitor site performance. These cookies are not used in a way that constitutes a “sale” of your data under the CCPA. You can set your browser to block or alert you about these cookies, but some parts of the site will not work as intended if you do so. You can usually find these settings in the Options or Preferences menu of your browser. Visit www.allaboutcookies.org to learn more.

Performance Cookies

We do not allow you to opt-out of our certain cookies, as they are necessary to ensure the proper functioning of our website (such as prompting our cookie banner and remembering your privacy choices) and/or to monitor site performance. These cookies are not used in a way that constitutes a “sale” of your data under the CCPA. You can set your browser to block or alert you about these cookies, but some parts of the site will not work as intended if you do so. You can usually find these settings in the Options or Preferences menu of your browser. Visit www.allaboutcookies.org to learn more.

Sale of Personal Data

We also use cookies to personalize your experience on our websites, including by determining the most relevant content and advertisements to show you, and to monitor site traffic and performance, so that we may improve our websites and your experience. You may opt out of our use of such cookies (and the associated “sale” of your Personal Information) by using this toggle switch. You will still see some advertising, regardless of your selection. Because we do not track you across different devices, browsers and GEMG properties, your selection will take effect only on this browser, this device and this website.

Social Media Cookies

We also use cookies to personalize your experience on our websites, including by determining the most relevant content and advertisements to show you, and to monitor site traffic and performance, so that we may improve our websites and your experience. You may opt out of our use of such cookies (and the associated “sale” of your Personal Information) by using this toggle switch. You will still see some advertising, regardless of your selection. Because we do not track you across different devices, browsers and GEMG properties, your selection will take effect only on this browser, this device and this website.

Targeting Cookies

We also use cookies to personalize your experience on our websites, including by determining the most relevant content and advertisements to show you, and to monitor site traffic and performance, so that we may improve our websites and your experience. You may opt out of our use of such cookies (and the associated “sale” of your Personal Information) by using this toggle switch. You will still see some advertising, regardless of your selection. Because we do not track you across different devices, browsers and GEMG properties, your selection will take effect only on this browser, this device and this website.