SOA Governance and Cloud Computing
Ryan Boyles 100000UX41 firstname.lastname@example.org | | Tags:  cloud amywohl governance iaas soa paas cloud-computing saas
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Before we start talking about how SOA supports cloud computing and, particularly, governance, it would be well to remind ourselves that cloud computing does not replace SOA nor is SOA the same thing as cloud computing. SOA and cloud computing are synergistic, with SOA facilitating cloud-based flexibility and cloud computing providing an important model for SOA-based flexibility.
SOA is an architecture methodology that allows developers to build cloud components better and assemble cloud-based applications faster. It also provides elements, such as governance, which are necessary to a successful cloud implementation.
SOA helps organizations better model their digital business and design the services that will allow them to model what happens in the real (physical) world and link them with the processes that will implement those services in the digital world. The cloud computing environment is itself made up of multiple pieces:
In a well designed SOA implementation of the cloud, all of these pieces will be built as SOA-based services and linkages established between the SOA services as well as between SOA services and the real-world processes they will implement in the cloud.
Governance is also a set of piece-parts. Within the general environment of IT governance (implemented as part of the SOA design), there needs to be governance for the portfolio (of software services), technology governance, project governance (to prevent recreating silos in the cloud that replicate those that already exist), and governance for the services themselves. There will also need to be architectural governance, and SOA governance itself. Together, these different governance services will enforce business strategy and objectives. Moreover, where SOA governance is used (now we are speaking more generally than just about cloud computing), organizations are more satisfied with their use of SOA and more likely to be expanding its use. We would expect this experience to follow SOA users into the cloud.
It’s important to think about governance up front, when the cloud computing design is first being considered. Governance works best when it is designed in, not bolted on later. Admittedly, it’s hard to build in governance in an organization’s first cloud/SOA project. Often, it’s a departmental effort and that department may not see the benefits of governance nor want to bear its cost. But when the organization moves to multiple projects, especially hybrid cloud projects where security, risk compliance, and governance all become important, the role and need for governance become much clearer. Often it’s when the organization is ready for an integration project – whether that’s linking private clouds together or using a hybrid cloud environment to link public and private clouds and the data center – the organization will recognize the need for governance.
Then it will be time to look at SOA governance across the boundaries of portfolio governance, technology governance, project governance, and service-level governance to be certain you will reach cloud success. I will talk more about these issues in future blogs. For more information on governance, go to the IBM SOA Governance website.