DreamWorks, HP Put SOA Into Action

Film animation giant DreamWorks is jumping on the service-oriented architecture bandwagon. The company on Wednesday announced it has implemented an HP solution based on SOA to simplify and consolidate key business operations.

SOA is an approach to building and managing IT infrastructures using standards-based software and services as autonomous, re-usable components.

“The new architecture provides us a more unified, efficient IT platform to support our core business applications that keep our company up and running,” said Abe Wong, head of Information Technology for DreamWorks.

Works Like a Dream

HP worked closely with DreamWorks to integrate several of its key business applications into the new architecture, such as company directories, employee bulletin boards, vacation requests and even cafeteria menus.

Running on a Linux operating environment, the SOA project included planning, designing and re-engineering DreamWorks’ existing applications. The filmmaker expects the SOA approach to streamline its workflow and offer a common look and feel across each application.

The company now has a central repository to maintain data, roles and responsibilities as well as workflow information related to the applications.

For example, for a company known for blockbuster films such as “Shrek 2” and “Madagascar,” protecting intellectual property is vital. The SOA has allowed for a new copyright tracking application that provides DreamWorks both authorization and authentication of incoming, valuable feature film scripts.

“This is just continuing the momentum. We are past the stage where SOA is hype. It’s the right time for SOA. Now it’s a matter whether or not it will stick and whether companies will commit to it. Success stories like this help,” Ron Schmelzer, a senior analyst with Zapthink, told LinuxInsider.

Is the ROI for Real?

The inherent flexibility of the SOA architecture positions DreamWorks to add additional business applications and support ongoing enhancements, according to HP.

“HP’s SOA implementation is empowering DreamWorks to achieve a better overall return on its IT investments,” said Uday Kumaraswami, vice president, Enterprise Applications Practice, HP Services. “Using our worldwide scale, HP applied resources across three times zones and six geographies to help DreamWorks optimize business applications and heighten operational efficiency.”

As part of the implementation, HP’s Linux Reference Architecture offering of integrated software and hardware stacks, including the JBoss Enterprise Middleware Suite (JEMS), helped DreamWorks realize cost-savings and facilitated its efforts to deploy open-source technology onindustry-standard platforms.

“SOA is maturing. If you wanted to do SOA four years ago you were pretty much on your own. You had a couple of products that would let you do some Web services, but now SOA is a lot more than Web services,” Schmelzer noted. “It’s governance and security and metadata and much more.”

SOA Solutions

Like DreamWorks, many IT departments today face the challenge of migrating and reusing legacy applications to deliver streamlined, flexible business operations that support changing business requirements,” according to Carl Greiner, senior vice president at Ovum.

“As information technology moves toward a shared-services model of computing across business processes, applications and infrastructure, companies will increasingly rely on technology providers with proven SOA capabilities to assess and implement SOA architectures to deliver streamlined business operations,” Greiner said.

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