Solving the Problem of SOA Governance

Loraine Lawson

Here's a mathematical puzzle:


You have several development teams (x>2) working on SOA. How many services (y) can they create without governance (z) before the problems of SOA > the benefits of SOA?


The answer is 50.


Does that seem overly simplistic to you? It may sound facetious, but it's the real answer, according to this Information Age podcast on SOA governance.


Time and time again, SOA efforts fall into confusion once a company has several development teams and about 50 services built. That's also the point where there are too many services for informal management, says Robert Meyer, the senior product marketing manager for Tibco, a software provider specializing in SOA and business process management solutions (and the podcast's sponsor).


Once companies hit this number, they quickly can lose the benefits of SOA unless they take time out to set up SOA governance. "The people who don't put this in place can actually spend more than they would on traditional application development," Meyer says.


It's really not surprising to learn that governance is playing catch-up in SOA. After all, governance always seems to be two steps behind the IT development department, and so far, SOA hasn't been any different in this regard.


Likewise, it shouldn't surprise you to learn that the tendancy in developing SOA governance is to move from no governance to overkill.


While you may need governance for a successful SOA implementation, BEA's VP of global SOA consulting Bruce Graham warns it's easy to go too far and overwhelm developers.


When that happens, you could have a developer backlash on your hands.


The podcast offers loose guidelines for establishing SOA governance. But what's most useful is the tip for knowing when your SOA services and governance are in balance.


If everything's working correctly, your services should correspond to specific business functions. When that happens, SOA not only makes development more efficient -- it will provide new insights into how the business operates, according to Graham.


The podcast runs 14:13 minutes.

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