I’ve just received my IBM special edition of Service Oriented Architecture for Dummies. It’s shorter than the regular book, but is free - so you can use this link and order one yourself. It only covers the basics of SOA, and doesn’t dive into depth on ESBs, SCA, or any particular product, but despite being so general, it’s nevertheless worth a read if you’re looking for a good introduction to what SOA is all about.
Of course IT fads come and go, and many people have been saying that SOA is another one of these. In fact, many of these fads do last - they just lose the buzzword feel (e-business being a striking example). SOA certainly has some of the hype associated with a fad, but the book does highlight one of the key points that could play in its favour and allow it to persist - that keeping old IT infrastructure is A Good Thing, and that SOA is iterative and about reuse. This is a more realistic business IT model than throwing everything away and starting again, and thus it may see more practical success than some models that have been consigned to the dustbin because they demanded too much up-front.
Of course SOA still has some way to go, particularly with some of the -ies: scalability, security, usability, reliability, and so on. This special edition doesn’t really delve into those topics. But it’s a good start. I’d encourage anyone interested in SOA to read this book - it concludes with an promising example of how Delaware Electric are using WebSphere ESB to build an SOA.
Update 2006-09-22: I’ve been informed that we’ve run out of copies of the IBM special edition of this book - sorry! You can still pre-order a copy of the full book on Amazon by using the first link above, however.