Forbes published a really great Q&A between Chris Perretta, a banking CIO, and Joe McKendrick, a technology analyst and SOA expert.
The piece is about State Street Corporation’s development of an internal cloud. This is no small internal effort — it turns 40-50 applications today and the bank is migrating over 100 applications to it.
Perretta calls it “a processing cloud and a data cloud,” and several times says things like, “For the general public we say ‘cloud,’ but we’re talking about more than that.”
What he’s really talking about, it turns out, is the IT infrastructure of his company’s future, both in terms of application development and data management.
“State Street’s private cloud, which now delivers close to 50 applications with another 100 on the way, didn’t just pop out of nowhere, Perretta points out. ‘This is more of an SOA initiative,’ he explains, adding that when selling the concept to the business, people don’t want to hear that, they want to hear the word ‘cloud’ in there. But there are very few new ideas in the world.’”
It just goes to show that Anne Thomas Manes was right when she said SOA was dead as a business topic, but would very much live as part of something bigger.
“Successful SOA (i.e., application re-architecture) requires disruption to the status quo,” Manes wrote back in 2009. “… it requires a massive shift in the way IT operates.
“And here’s the secret to success: SOA needs to be part of something bigger. If it isn’t, then you need to ask yourself why you’ve been doing it.”
State Street apparently got that, and as a result, it’s reaping the benefits of efficiencies and new capabilities. It’s even acting as a cloud computing infrastructure for its customers, according to Perretta, allowing them to upload and save data, and even do processing work.
All of which is impressive, but for those in data management, there’s also this: By bringing all the apps to this processing/cloud infrastructure, State Street is, in a sense, what he calls a “digital ecosystem” that can manage data as well as applications.
“And we’re now bringing out some pretty powerful data tools that are also sitting on it,” Perretta says in the Forbes article. “We’re also turbo charging our efforts to provide much more data insights for our customers, opposed to just top-level processing than we have done for them in the past.”
Perretta considers it the company’s architecture for the future. Given that it manages both apps and data, and allows customers to use it for on-the-fly processing as well, it certainly seems to merit that description.