Most large enterprises have already made several steps along the road towards enterprise SOA, or at the very least already have a number of Web services deployed. Most of these companies have multiple platforms from multiple vendors, distributed across organization, administrative and trust boundaries. The platforms themselves create technology boundaries. Customers are quickly realizing that they need to find a way to share services between these technology, organizational, administrative and trust silos.
Some vendors try to position ESB products as the solution to this problem, the reality is that ESBs are service platforms themselves that often reside within, or even create these silos. They are better suited for system integration and service construction tasks, leveraging their built-in development, workflow, and adapter frameworks.
SOA Federation provides the solution for this type of service sharing. It promotes some specific best-practices that enable service sharing across defined boundaries. The pages below delve deeping into the concepts of SOA Federation.
For an introduction into how companies would leverage SOA Federation please see: SOA Federation Scenarios
For required SOA Repository Federation Scenarios see: SOA Repository Federation
For a description of specific use-cases please see: SOA Federation Use Cases
For a description of what an SOA Federation solution is please see SOA Federation Solutions, this page includes descriptions of Service Virtualization, Trust and Management Mediation, and Publication and Discovery Automation.
An SOA Federation solution does share some characteristics with an Enterprise Service Bus, but it offers both more and less capabilities than an ESB in important areas. This link examines the concepts involved using specific use-cases and examples to identify the requirements for an effective SOA Federation solution.