Integrating and Governing the Cloud: A New Role for SOA

Loraine Lawson
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Service-oriented architecture (SOA) can help solve two major cloud problems: integration and governance, according to Ovum research firm.


"Many organizations are realizing that cloud computing can lead to more information silos and greater integration complexity," Saurabh Sharma writes. "Ovum believes that the most prominent driver of SOA adoption is its capability to meet complex integration requirements, including on-premise-to-cloud integrations and B2B integrations that involve multi-enterprise process automations."


Indeed, today SOA Software launched a campaign to promote that its governance capabilities could be deployed as VMware images, giving companies a way to "the flexibility to quickly deploy and migrate governance solutions within and across their enterprise." Specifically, you can add these to the same virtual machines running internal cloud, the release added.


Cloud computing - internal or external - can simplify IT deployments and support in many ways. But as with past innovations in information technology, IT's playing catch-up on issues like governance and integration.


"Let's face it, right now, cloud is only creating more information and application silos, not less," Joe McKendrick says in a recent post. "With so many people in the business signing on to their own cloud services, things are getting duplicated and a bit chaotic."


This is where SOA-based solutions will be able to slip into the gap, helping resolve both problems.


More than likely, these SOA-based solutions will come from outside middleware vendors, who long ago SOA-enabled their own solutions to make it easier to deploy and integrate them into your applications. Although, I will add, there are still CIOs and CTOs who will tell you SOA is a great way to achieve your own strategic goals.


Many of these vendors - just like SOA Software - also specialize in API management, which has also become more of an issue with SaaS and cloud adoption. TechTarget recently published an excellent piece that explains how API management and SOA relate, as well as how APIs have evolved in this age of SaaS and cloud.


But I'll sum up: These are not your typical, enterprise app, proprietary APIs. They're open, which basically means they're easy for developers to use. And right now, they're powering cloud, SaaS and even mobile Internet use.


At the nitty-gritty level, APIs are light-weight versions of Web services. The big difference is the language. APIs use JSON and REST, whereas, traditional Web services and SOA relied on the much more difficult to use SOAP.


The TechTarget piece presents SOA as a sort of old and clunky approach that lead to the much better APIs. But while true in some ways, it's not like SOA is, in fact, extinct. It's just settled into what I would describe as a more behind-the-scenes role, doing the heavy lifting of things like governance and integration for quick-and-light solutions like virtualization and APIs.


What this means for end-user companies is you can probably buy a middleware solution for your cloud governance and integration problems, because, as McKendrick nicely puts it, "There's no need to fight the same battles all over again."

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