The Key Elements of SOA Governance

Loraine Lawson

If you're in the early stages of SOA experimenting - and most organizations are - you probably aren't too worried about governance just yet. After all, traditionally, governance is something you add when things get too complicated, and how complicated can it be after a few projects?

I've been told that logic won't hold for SOA. As services accumulate and get reused, most organizations quickly realize they need governance sooner rather than later. In fact, Robert Meyer, the senior product marketing manager for Tibco, claims companies typically need governance once they've built 50 services.

Which means, even if you're just in the planning stages of SOA - or even in the planning to plan stage - you should think about governance.

Whatever stage you're in, SOA World Magazine published a priceless article on SOA governance this week. It bears the rather ambiguous title, "Business Optimization Through SOA." That's because it spends a good page talking about how SOA can help the business - which is great, if you need help explaining SOA's business value or if you're looking for clues on how to determine ROI. But the bulk of the article, and the really good stuff, is actually about SOA governance.

According to the article, there are three main "levers" to SOA governance:

  • Policy definition
  • Policy enforcement
  • Audit

Policy definition is self-explanatory and obvious. But organizations frequently overlook policy enforcement and audits, opting to just trust that their developers (or consultants) will follow the policy. In technical terms, this is called "A Bad Plan," and the article explains why it's particularly important in SOA to enforce policies through audits. By audits, the article means both audits for regulations such as Sarbox, as well as assurances - or lower case "audits" - for those inside the company who need to know they can depend on your services.


I've just summed up what I consider the core of the piece - it's four pages and there are a lot of other governance issues covered here.


It's a great article. However, if you've never visited SOA World Magazine or other Sys-Con Media sites, be forewarned: The ads can cause sensory overload. The video ads automatically start chattering when you open a page and heaven help your PC if you use Firefox and opened two of their pages in different tabs at the same time. And then there's always an overlay ad you must close before you can see the articles.

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