By now, unless you’ve been on an extended vacation in a remote, unwired, non-connected country (actually sounds kind of nice) you’ve heard the promises around cloud computing: lower costs, eradicate daily management, massively reduced overhead, your health will improve, you’ll be better-looking and life will generally be better.
So, maybe cloud doesn’t truly deliver on ALL the hype, but for anyone who’s been involved in traditional software implementation and management and compared it to working in a cloud environment, there’s likely little doubt that much of what cloud experts propose actually does allow for a more efficient and effective way of running your IT department. But at the end of the day, a cloud offering is really just a way of delivering functionality (through a service), and it’s not worth a whole lot if there’s not a unified roadmap for how to construct, orchestrate and run all the services you. Without the processes that bring a service to the user, then all you have is some code that’s easily accessible.
Of course, there’s a way to bring cloud services and functionality together, and it’s easily done with a – you guessed it – service-oriented architecture (SOA). There’s confusion about the role an SOA plays in a cloud environment, but make no mistake, cloud is not a replacement, nor an incremental improvement of cloud. Rather, SOA acts as a cohesive, flexible infrastructure that enables services to function and integrate. That’s partially because, just by it’s very nature, an SOA is in and of itself a services-based platform. An application in the cloud can’t do much unless it’s sitting on top of something that’s optimized to recognize and pull together, in a agile way, the various types of components that exist within a service (and think about what needs to be done when you’re combining a variety of services).
So when we talk about SOA and cloud, we’re really getting at the fact that the cloud needs SOA, but it must come with adequate services security, governance, adherence to standards, and commitment to flexibility. There are entire operational, developmental, planning, and policy attributes that are crucial to using an SOA for your cloud, and that’s what we’ve built our SOA platform on. Our Integrated SOA Governance solutions [ http://www.soa.com/solutions/integrated_soa_governance/ ] provide integration capabilities that enable your enterprise applications to be integrated and communicate with one another. In future installments in this blog series, we’ll get more into how our governance solutions help keep your applications, talking and transacting, and how that can be done in the cloud.
Ultimately, we want to ensure that customers can take advantage of a cloud environment, but it’s important that they understand that there’s an optimal way to do it. There are a lot of different ways to skin this cat, but we think that architecting your enterprise application and services environment with an SOA will ensure that you’re truly taking advantage of the cloud.
As I mentioned, we’ll have more blogs in this series about cloud, SOA, APIs and your enterprise applications. Stay tuned! www.soa.com/atmosphere