In a meeting yesterday, we discussed the various ‘types’ of services.  There are some pretty passionate folks, and each person came to the meeting with their own taxonomy in mind.  The problem with labeling services with a ‘type’ is that you have to have a good idea of what you will do with this attribute.  Is it used to describe the service behavior or the service logical domain?  Is it used to describe that behavior to a developer, to a business person, or to another enterprise architect?  Does it matter who the source of the taxonomy is?

The IASA is working on creating a taxonomy, but that may take a while.  In the meantime, we have a long list of standards.  The Microsoft DSI has some terms.  Microsoft Biztalk has some terms, as does the WCF (Indigo).  Then, outside the Microsoft world, there are taxonomies from the analysis organzations (Gartner/Meta, and others) as well as from software and hardware vendors. 

The net result of having no standard is that every organization invents one. 

Including, unfortunately, mine.

(We may end up with multiple taxonomies, one for architects that describes some particularly useful aspects of the behavior, and one for business consumers to describe a disjoint set of behaviors that has to do with business capabilities).

By Nick Malik

Former CIO and present Strategic Architect, Nick Malik is a Seattle based business and technology advisor with over 30 years of professional experience in management, systems, and technology. He is the co-author of the influential paper "Perspectives on Enterprise Architecture" with Dr. Brian Cameron that effectively defined modern Enterprise Architecture practices, and he is frequent speaker at public gatherings on Enterprise Architecture and related topics. He coauthored a book on Visual Storytelling with Martin Sykes and Mark West titled "Stories That Move Mountains".

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