Friday, November 20, 2009

SOA Sandbox - WebSphere Application Server Community Addition

As an update to my earlier post regarding the SOA Sandbox wanted to share that a new trial and associated exercise focusing on WebSphere Application Server Community Edition (WAS CE) has been made available.

WAS CE is a light-weight, freely available Java EE 5 application server - based on the Apache Geronimo project. Typically we'd look to use WAS CE where the focus for the project is on simplicity and cost - looking to move to more advanced application servers (WebSphere Application Server) as security, scalability and manageability become more important.

In summary the exercise: "demonstrates how a developer can build, deploy and test dynamic web applications using WebSphere Application Server Community Edition v2.1 (WAS CE) and Eclipse. You will leverage Eclipse Galileo to setup, deploy, and test a web services application against WAS CE. In addition, you will also explore the capabilities of the Eclipse Web Services tool for generating web services, as well as embedded tooling in WAS CE that aid in creating WSDL files and source."

The exercise is in the section of the Sandbox focused on the SOA Reuse Entry Point.

Again - with this being in the Sandbox - no need to download or configure the application server nor the development tooling. Quick and easy to get going - and available for free. A great way to gain hands-on experience and learn more about creating SOA solutions.


Monday, October 19, 2009

Smart SOA Sage

We've made the Smart SOA Sage available up on the site earlier today. It's an interactive conversation - for those new to SOA or looking to learn more.

It'll run in your web browser and is quick to go through - and not only is it educational - but its amusing as well.

It has been a long winding road to get the Smart SOA Sage out (lawyers....don't ask) - but we're excited to get the conversation out there. Give it a try - and pass along the link to any others you think might value (or be amused) by the Sage.

I'd be interested in any comments you have on the Sage.


Monday, October 5, 2009

Fernie half-marthon and a look back at the season

Spent the weekend in Fernie, B.C. and participated in the Fernie Half-Marathon on Sunday morning. Having a race in Oct. means that there can be weather challenges. Leading up to the event - long range forecast was indicating that there would be a little rain (and possibly snow) on Saturday and partly cloudy on Sunday (and dry). However, it talking to folks, they indicated that they had heard 20cm of snow. Yikes!

Another concern going into the race was the elevation profile. No profile was available. There was a map of the course, but I've only driven past Fernie in the past, so the route didn't provide much insight. However, the course was always close to the river, so I figured that it was likely to be flat.

When picking up my race package on Saturday, I found out that the event was having a name the hill content. So there was going to be at least one hill.

On Sunday - there wasn't much sun - cloudy, with a bit of rain and from time to time a bit of snow. The high for the day was supposed to be 6 - a little chilly, but no too bad. I dressed in layers - figuring that if I started to get too warm it would be easy to ditch a layer (or two).

When I arrived at the race - came across many people running in shorts and a shirt. They looked cold - and were keeping active and working to stay warm.

The race went well. Course was well marked - many volunteers and everything was well organized. Ended up with 377 runners in the event - a good number as the race was mostly on hiking and biking trails. Wide enough for passing, but not a mass of humanity.

I ended up finishing in 2:05 - my fastest half marathon this year. Here's a look at the elevation profile of the course:

Just the one hill at the beginning and from there it was relatively flat.

This was my third half-marathon of the year. The previous race was a Five Peaks race held at the Canmore Nordic Center. Here's a view of the elevation profile for the race:

Definitely more climbs/descents to deal with for the Canmore race. I have some work to do both on my hill climbing and how I handle the more technical running needed to go down some of the hills. There were a number of places where the race course went through the trees, single track and was steep. It was a challenge to walk down without sliding - never mind running. I finished in 2:35 - the winner of the race clocked in at 1:25 which is just amazing.

The other race I competed in this year was Powderface. Here's the elevation profile for that race:

This was also a very tough race - hills were steep, lots of rocks, and as mentioned previously even some wildlife.

Running the three races this year has been a lot of fun. Looking forward to some more races in the new year. In the meantime, going to take a few days off from running and heal a bit. Then will start on a new training program and see if I can start to work on my timing and endurance.

Friday, October 2, 2009

SOA Sandbox - getting started with SOA

Regardless of the topic - the best path to learning is usually through hands-on experience. To read about a topic or have someone else describe it - while useful - is no replacement for getting your hands dirty. In looking at SOA this can be a challenging situation as there can be multiple development and runtime tools that need to be downloaded, installed and configured before getting started with any experiential learning (unless the goal is to learn about downloading, installing and configuring).

A useful alternative is to check out the SOA Sandbox. The SOA Sandbox is a cloud-based offering from IBM. The goal is to provide a way to get started with the SOA Entry Points and the associated set of IBM Products and Best Practices. By being cloud-based - there's no need to download any tools or runtimes (although there is a small Citrix plug-in download).

Once in the Sandbox, there are simple hands-on guided exercises. Its a great way to explore, learn and experience tools. Some of the tools available include: WebSphere Application Server, WebSphere Business Events, WebSphere Enterprise Service Bus, WebSphere Process Server, Rational Application Developer, and WebSphere sMash (here's the complete list)

The Sandbox takes things further by including access to an Information Center - which contains documentation on Best Practices and architectural guidance. This includes whitepapers, decision guides, technical presentations and demos.

The Sandbox is available 24/7 and is free. Exercise trials are available in 4 hour windows.

Seems to me, that this is a great way to learn about SOA as it reduces the typical hassles involved in getting set up - while incorporating guidance and exercises.


Sunday, July 12, 2009

Couple of Augmented Reality Links...

Article today in NYTimes discussing some of the latest Augmented Reality apps showing up on mobile phones.

They included a link to discussion of an app made by IBM for Wimbledon called IBM Seer Android. Some videos of the app in action are available.

I'd expect that a set of services exist behind the scenes that make this application (and like others that will work like it) possible. Guess I have some work to do in finding out a little more about how they built this application.

Saturday, July 11, 2009

Racing is not fun...if you're dead

Today was the my first trail race - participating in the Powderface42 (well, I just did the 1/2 marathon, so for me it was the Powderface21).

As we looked to get the pre-race instructions, we were informed that there would be a 15 minute delay. Turned out that a bear had been sighted on the trail - and precautions need to be taken before releasing the runners our on the race course. After the organizers and volunteers had put measures in place (bear spray and noise makers in the vicinity of the sighting) - we were all asked to run in groups. Although it was a race - we were given the guidance - "Racing is not fun...if you're dead". With those words of wisdom, we finished the prep and started the race.

The race is very hilly, many climbs along the way - total amount of climbing (according to my gps) was in the neighborhood of 4400ft (here's an elevation profile).

Results aren't published online yet, but the posting at the event had my coming in at 2:47 which put me in 37th place. For a first 1/2 marathon on a tough course, I'm happy with the result.

The race was a great deal of fun (what could be better than hills, mountains, mud, trees, and rivers?), was very well organized and the volunteers were great.

Looking forward to next year's event already!

P.S. I'll provide some links to some photos as they get posted.


Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Augmented Reality

Finding the topic of Augmented Reality to be quite fascinating - some of the demos that I've seen on the IPhone have looked phenomenal.

I've been trying to ramp up a bit and pick up some knowledge in the area - some resources that I've come across so far include:

Augmentality - Blog covering augmented reality
Twitaround - demo showing an app on iphone - locating and viewing other twitter users
Nearest Tube - another demo - related to the tube in London

Seen that there's a few books up on Amazon on the topic - considering picking up a couple to get a few more details. Would be interested in any opinions from someone that's already well read in this area.

I can't help but think that a Smarter Planet would include augmented reality - imagining it combined with RFID, intelligent datasources, flexible & service based solutions.



Been migrating to a new MBP and its taking a surprising amount of time to move data off the old laptop and to find the apps that I want to install and use. It's been a while since I've been on the Mac platform and it's good to be back.

Some of the apps that I've been working with so far (and having some fun with) include:
- Tweetdeck
- Dropbox (pleased that I can synch across Mac and Win boxes, even virtual images)
- VirtualBox
- Skitch
- Keychain

and just getting started with Blogo and Curio. The other surprise so far is how quickly the harddrive is filling up. Apparently been getting a little sloppy with downloading various disk images and need to do some cleanup.


Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Clouds, SOA and Aging

Well, I haven’t quite reached the stage of yelling at kids to get off my lawn – but I might be getting close.

I attended a session at Impact titled: “Delivering Strong Services: SOA to the Cloud” – delivered by Daryl Plummer from Gartner. Was the first time that I’ve had the chance to see Daryl in person and enjoyed his presenting and the ideas he discussed.

If you attended Impact, you can log in and download the slides – look for session 3097 (or search by the title).

I don’t plan on regurgitating the entire presentation, but did want to discuss a couple of ideas that were a part of the session.

The first is the idea of scalability versus elasticity. I’ve seen this discussed in a number of places and presentations related to Cloud solutions. When I see the reference to elasticity I think in terms of being to scale up or down as needed. I.e. the solution is able to stretch to meet the needs related to the current (and changing)workload. So I find it odd to see discussions of cloud where it is mentioned that cloud provides scalability and elasticity – seems redundant to me. Have I misinterpreted the meaning of elasticity?

More specific to the session at Impact, there was a discussion on the idea of Cloud Service Brokerages that provide service intermediation or service aggregation (for example). As I listened to the presentation my thoughts wandered to the idea of an ESB and viewing these brokerages as essentially providing ESB like services to a number of customers. The would be an EESB – an extra-ESB – and following on that line of thinking starting to see myself thinking in terms of inter, intra and extra cloud based solutions and drawing parallels to how we saw focus on internet use and capabilities evolve over the years.

And hence the aging comment – seems that after you’ve spent enough years in IT you start to relate everything back to what you’ve seen previously. So here I am, in my advanced years thinking – this cloud stuff is just repeating the cycle of thinking that we experienced in inter/intra/extra-net roll-outs. Back in my day…


Future of Writing in a Digital World?

Came across “Clive Thompson on the Future of Reading in a Digital World” in the June issue of Wired and wanted to capture a few thoughts about the article.

As mentioned in previous posts, I’ve been working on a book on Patterns-Based Engineering for some time now. In discussions with the publisher regarding timelines, production efforts, etc – I’m hoping that the finished product sees the light of day before the end of the year. So I’m living in the current of producing a book – and wondering - how will this future view of reading change how the book gets released and then read?

Looking at the stories listed in the article, as well as other successes out there such as Cory Doctorow or even the open source movement, its fascinating/appealing/scary to think of putting a book out there digitally with no restrictions. So much effort and time goes into the writing – it’s a challenge to think of just opening it up and letting it go.

I’ve not looked at the system yet, but CommentPress sounds quite interesting as it allows a book to become much more interactive – allowing the readers to start conversations on the content of the book – with very fine grained starting points – right down to the paragraph level. (As an aside, it would be interesting to look at comparing this to the capabilities of Google Wave)

We’ll be having some discussions with our publisher about how digital copies will be made available and their plans for interactivity. At a minimum, we’re looking at setting up a site along with an associated wiki for the EPF practice that we are producing in association with the book. In the meantime, we’ve been talking to many people about the book and looking to incorporate as much feedback as possible.

I’d be interested in any comments/suggestions anyone has on how they’ve changed their authoring efforts based on the “future” of reading and some of the new offerings out there such as CommentPress.


Friday, June 5, 2009

RSC 2009: PBE: Principles, Practice and Patterns

Here’s the ppt that Celso and I delivered at the 2009 Rational Software Conference. The content is derived from the book we are producing which will be coming out later this year. Its a brief view into the content allowing us to share the work and gather some feedback.

NSDP02d NSDP02d Lee Ackerman Patterns-Based Engineering: Principles, Patterns and Practices presentation as delivered at the Rational Software Conference 2009.

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

GM, Smart Cars and Smart

Attended a session today discussing software development in a smarter planet. The presenter was discussing all of the software that now ships in cars – essentially how we now have smart cars – and speculated that perhaps this was a reason GM was in its current situation. That is, they’ve struggled in production of cars that are smart - and that’s the factor behind the bankruptcy.

I have trouble with this line of reasoning – and while I’d agree that its an issue in terms of being smart – its not just the cars themselves. Instead I see it as being an issue of smarter business processes (and manufacturing, distribution, etc) – that is being a dynamic business. As we look back over the past couple of years (18 months?) the amazing volatility and changes in terms of gas prices, consumer preferences (SUVs, gas efficient models, back to SUVs?) and overall economy/finances – these all place incredible pressures on the business.

As an automobile manufacturer:Which models should be sold? How many to produce? How to deliver the innovations that customers demand? Scale up? Scale down? How could elasticity be inserted into the production process? And how do you act on these decisions in real time and with agility?


Monday, May 18, 2009

Updates – Impact, PBE, and RSC

A quick post with some updates on a few topics. Returned from Impact about a week ago, conference went very well. Attended some very good sessions (favorite was a session on Cloud), had some time to reconnect with some friends and past acquaintances, met some new folks, and had a chance to connect with some folks that I’d only previously met over the phone.

My reward upon returning from the conference was a deadline for the PBE book that I’ve been writing. Draft of the manuscript was due on Friday – and we managed to hit the date (although it was a long day). The rough draft of the manuscript is now with the publisher and should be sent out to our review panel shortly. Anxious to hear the feedback and comments from the reviewers. In the meantime, we have some supporting artifacts (case study model, codes, patterns) and the PBE practice that need further development. So won’t be sitting about waiting on feedback – too much to do.

We will be delivering a session at the upcoming Rational Software Conference that will provide a sneak peek on content from the book. If you are attending the conference, I hope to see you at the session – and please ask questions and let us know what you think of the material. I’ll be posting the ppt from the conference here after it has been delivered.

I’m also organizing a delivery of a SOA Architect Summit at the Rational conference. We’ll be delivering the session all day on Sunday, May 31st. I’ve arranged for a great roster of speakers – and am looking forward to the delivery and networking. Should be a great educational day – and will be the first delivery with updated materials. If you’ve already registered for the conference, there is no additional charge for the summit, it is being sponsored by the WebSphere team. A note has been sent out to conference attendees with details on how to sign up – if you run into any issues, please let me know.


Thursday, April 16, 2009

Impact 2009

Impact 2009 is fast approaching, just a few weeks away at this point. The complete list of sessions is posted along with details about all of the customers that will be presenting. Customer list is amazing – with over 300 customers sharing details on their successes. I’ve been to quite a few conferences, don’t recall ever seeing so many customers presenting. Provides all of us with a great opportunity to hear about the many ways in which people have leveraged SOA to solve real world problems – along with the challenges they had to overcome along the way. What worked well? What didn’t? What unique and interesting problems did that tackle with SOA? What innovative ideas did they bring to bear? Its amazing the solutions that we come up with as real world constraints are put in place and we need to find solutions that no else has yet come up with. And what better way for us to figure out our next solution, than to learn from the experiences of others?

In this economy, having such large customer participation speaks volumes to the success that people are achieving with SOA.

In regards to the sessions, whether looking for bleeding edge, leading edge or mainstream solutions – the list of topics covered is impressive. Best practices, experts, real world experiences – covering the range of topics – SOA, Cloud, BPM, Web2.0, Mashups, REST, Governance, Reuse, Connectivity, Integration, Patterns, and the list goes on.

Also, the Tech Zones, sound like a great way to dig into the details behind SOA, CICS, Java-Web 2.0, Messaging, and Business Process Management. Meet some of the product managers, architects and other tech leaders in these areas. If you get a chance to spend some time with one of the STSMs, DEs or other technical leaders – grab it. To earn these designations within IBM, the criteria are stringent and the people that achieve these ranks are not only impressive in terms of background, but usually great people in general.

The other big attraction for me is the networking. Meeting up with some of the Tech leaders from IBM is something that I look forward to. As mentioned, they usually all not only have great insights and experiences to share, but are great people as well. And of course, I’m looking forward to meeting more of our customers. Sitting in on the customer sessions will be interesting – but it’s always a better to be able to have informal chats about what’s going on and where things are headed.

I look forward to bumping into many at the conference. At a minimum, I’ll be working the Smart Work pedestal at the Solution Center during the week. If you get a chance, stop by and say hello.

If you haven’t yet registered, better hurry, time’s running out.

Saturday, March 28, 2009

Smarter Planet

There’s been quite a bit of material appearing of late discussing Smarter Planet. Thought I would highlight a few of the items that have caught my eye.

My favorite Smarter Planet commercial (so far) is “Smarter Math” -its a great highlight of the importance of math in today’s world. As the saying goes “any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic” – math is usually the magic.

In case you missed the stories, here’s a couple of articles about some initiatives related to Rail and Water.

Also, the Impact 2009 conference is coming up quick – looks like a great week – lots of customer success stories, education, certifications, networking, etc. Look to see coverage,explanations and examples of Smarter Planet, Smart Work and Smart SOA.


Monday, March 16, 2009

Starting to Run on the Road to Recovery

According to the Dr. I was free to start running again on the 1st. Stress fracture on my fibula should be sufficiently healed at this point that its safe to run again. However, I’m supposed to take it s-l-o-w-l-y. How slow is slow enough?

During the time I was not allowed to run, I picked up a membership at the Y, and have been spending time in the pool. Low impact, and has allowed me to maintain some level of cardio fitness. As the 1st approached, I also added some biking into the mix. Now, that I’ve added running back, I’m well on my way to triathlon training.

Figure that as I ramp up the running (both intensity and distance) will continue to include cross-training as part of my program. Goal continues to be the powderface42 – which is now pretty much 4 months away. Yikes!

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Web-based IDEs

Came across a Slashdot article about Web-based IDEs. The posting also listed some additional pointers to articles and products (Bespin, Eclipse integration with Bespin and a Ruby on Rails example) related to the topic.

From a technology point of view – this all sounds quite interesting and a testament to the amazing services that can be delivered via the web. However, I wonder how we can leverage this approach to truly benefit those that would use such a Web-based IDE. What’s the value to the user?

Some initial thoughts on the topic – first looking at some of the positive aspects:

  • No monstrous downloads
  • Simplified deployment
  • A workspace that is available from any pc. Whether the user wants to access code from a desktop, their PC or some other computer, they can get to their work and their environment.
  • Low powered machines can be used for development. Could even try to do some work via a netbook (limiting factor here would be the screensize)
  • Easily leverage cloud based infrastructure for deployment environments. Rather than looking to run an IDE and a test App Server, Database or other services locally, can easily integrate with such services via the cloud. Latency between these components and the IDE would be negligible as the heavy communication would be within the cloud.
    • In addition to simplifying the developers workstation, could easily speed up the development/unit test cycle as more powerful processing could easily be thrown at the problem – in such a way that it would be less expensive than providing each developer with the horsepower needed to replicate the experience locally (which would be cost prohibitive) This could benefit both the individual developers as well as the development team.
  • Support for pair/group programming. Why limit the collaboration to just two? Many developers could connect to one session to work together in creating a solution. In addition, the pair/group would not have to be co-located, or even on the same network.

And of course, there are a few negatives as well:

  • No network? no development. There would need to be support for a disconnected usage model.
  • Richness of experience? Could a powerful debugging be provided? What about richness in using abstraction and simplification to increase the productivity of developers? We continue to expand the richness of the experience of what can be done via a browser, however, can we compete with what can be done with a modern IDE? (Perhaps the question is, should we?)

Running a bit with the idea – how would a services based approach then impact the implementation?

  • Would compilers be a service that you can plug in to your development process as needed? A DSL?
  • Could you easily connect in an 3rd party provider for test case generation? Test case execution? Transformation from high level model to executable code?
  • Could a service be used then to transfer and automatically deploy a finished app (service?) to somewhere else in the cloud?
  • Services for configuring/setting up the environment for new projects?

Perhaps some of the limitations of the environment and web hosting will drive us toward more and better use of DSLs to keep the environment simple yet powerful? Also, would patterns and transformations then become additional services that we can more easily integrate and weave into our development efforts?

All in all, sounds like a great idea. Hopefully as we evolve and mature the approach we can do so with a focus on providing value to the users of the tool(s) – rather than just doing something because its fun to write a cool app.


Friday, January 30, 2009

Twestivals – an example of the value of Twitter?

In reading stories about Twitter, such as those that appeared after Flight 1549, it was interesting to read the comments – some proclaiming that this was validation of the greatness that is Twitter, while others criticized the stories and comments for being a sad attempt at justifying Twitter and its value.

I’m still new to Twitter, been using it for a few weeks, and as such, I’m still figuring things out. I’m enjoying the experience and learning about twitter – and other topics via the tweets from those that I follow. So right now, my first impressions are quite positive. But, it still seems that its worthwhile to ask questions such as:

  • What’s the value?
  • Why should anyone care about using it?
  • How does this make my life any better?
  • What difference can it make?

An interesting event that I came across today was a Twestival – where a community is coming together to organize a fundraiser to be held on the same day across 100+ cities. Which is a daunting and complex task. The charity being supported is charity: water – a group that provides clean drinking water to impoverished communities.

Seems like a good event – and a good cause. I’ve bought tickets to attend the local event, looking to see firsthand how things will go on the 12th.

However, I’m curious as to how twitter has helped in organizing the event. I’ve started to follow some of the associated twitter accounts – looking to gain a better understanding of how they are using twitter to help plan and generate attention and demand for the event.

I’ve noticed that each of the cities hosting a fundraiser that day has a blog – detailing the event and encouraging people to attend. So at a minimum, they are using some other social media tools to bring the event together.

For the organizers – I wonder – did Twitter help you plan? Did it help you build awareness? Has it helped you to keep each of the events on message? Do you think you would have accomplished similar results using other tools? Could you have done so as effectively? How would the cost compare using Twitter vs. other tools? Would it have been as successful if it was a Blestival or a Fastival?

Looking forward to the event and reading about the success achieved across all 100+ cities.


Thursday, January 29, 2009

New article published

A new article, “Model Driven Development Misperceptions and Challenges”, that I’ve co-written with Bertrand Portier has been posted recently on InfoQ. 

Models, abstraction and simplification are key tools to have available as you look to successfully create and deliver solutions – whether that is figuring out the processes for the business, the enterprise architecture, or the internal details of a specific software solution.   



Although I’m still a bit injured after my last run, decided that a goal is needed for guiding me through recovery and getting back out and running.  Goals are good, after all - or at least that’s what they tell me.

So I’ve signed up for the Powderface42 – race is scheduled for July.  This will be my first trail race – no concrete – nothing but nature.  The race is held just outside of Bragg Creek – at the foothills of the Rockys – so defintely not a flat race.  Take a look at the elevation profile – looks scary.

They had a write-up about the race in a running magazine – but they didn’t make the article available online.  But here’s a blog posting from SeeMikeRun discussing last year’s event.  In the posting he discusses how the winning time was a little over 4 hours – by someone that would likely run a 2:30 marathon on a normal course.

I have two goals for the race – 1.  I want to complete the race without any major injuries.  and 2.  I want to finish. 

In addition to training and figuring out how to run a trail race, they also advise ensuring that you are up on your trail safety – I have some reading to do. 

Monday, January 26, 2009

Where are you going?

As we look to succeed with SOA, we need to realize that there is more to such an effort than just looking at services, service-orientation or architecture.

Before digging deeper, here's a couple of quotes that I'm fond of and are applicable to the discussion:

"If you don't know where you are going, any road will take you there." Lewis Carroll

"If you don't know where you're going, you might not get there." Yogi Berra

Both quotes highlight to me, the importance of understanding what it is that you are trying to accomplish. Without this understanding, you will most likely not find what you are seeking.

As we look at SOA, WOA, ROA, and all the other acronyms and shiny technology - we need to understand the objectives and goals of what we are trying to accomplish. Where are we going? We need to look at the business – what is it that the business is trying to accomplish? What is most important to the company? And conversely, what’s not important? How could we better compete? How can we better serve our customers? How can we operate more efficiently? How can we become more agile and better react to our environment?

The answers to such questions become our guiding points. They help us in figuring out our objectives and goals – and we then determine what is the best approach to solving these problems. We have a target, we know what is important, and where we are headed. Once we have this in place, we can start to look at how the available solutions can help us in solving our problems. How could we succeed otherwise?

Thursday, January 22, 2009

SOA Architect Summit

One more resource that I wanted to point out today is the SOA Architect Summit. These events are delivered worldwide - and provide a great opportunity to hear from some technical leaders from within IBM on topics that would interest the SOA Architect community.

The next Summit is being held on the 29th in Minneapolis. If you're interested in attending, you can still register.


Some SOA Resources

I thought that a good place to start with a first post would be a pointer to some resources on SOA. All of the material below is available for free, but has worthwhile content - a nice combination.

The list is not a top 10, nor is it the complete, all you'll ever need to know kind of list. Just some things that I thought would be of value for someone looking for more info on SOA. If you have suggestions on other things that are worth taking a look at, add a pointer in the comments.

Here goes:

Smart SOA Tutorial: The SOA Marketing team put this together before I came on. It’s a nice interactive app that introduces Smart SOA. If you haven't looked at the Smart SOA materials in the past, it’s a nice high level fa├žade on a continuum of projects/maturity for SOA. It maps nicely to the SIMM model - and also provides guidance on how the SOA Entry Points fit into such a maturity model.

If you want to go beyond simulations/tutorials, check out the IBM SOA Sandbox. The Sandbox provides a hosted set of IBM SOA products that you can try along with a set of associated tutorials. Nice to be able to give the products a try, experiment and learn without having to download, install and configure.

If you're looking to find out more about the development of SOA solutions, a Redbook that I would recommend (although I'm biased) is: Building SOA Solutions using the Rational SDP.

Let me know if you have questions about these materials, or if you need pointers to materials on different aspects of SOA.