SOA and cloud: clearing up the 'foggy' relationship

In a new article, Dave Linthicum says the most common question he gets nowadays is: “How will our organization move from SOA to cloud computing?”"That’s just not logical," he says.

In a new article, Dave Linthicum says the most common question he gets nowadays is: “How will our organization move from SOA to cloud computing?”

"That’s just not logical," he says.

Why not? Because SOA is an architectural pattern and strategy, while cloud computing is a type of solution:

"Putting this more simply, SOA is all about the process of defining an IT solution or architecture, while cloud computing is an architectural alternative. Thus, SOA can’t be replaced by cloud computing. In fact, most cloud computing solutions are going to be defined through SOA. They don’t compete -- they are complementary notions."

SOA will make many cloud computing arrangements not only technically feasible, but also make it palatable from a business perspective. "The ability to create a successful cloud computing solution means having an information-, service-, and process-level understanding of the problem domain," Dave explains. "Then, break the architecture down into services that are decomposed and normalized, and then define core business processes that leverage those services." Sounds like a job for SOA.

The cloud approach, then, is actually the technology solution that gets applied against the architecture or strategy. Remember, SOA has nothing to do with the technology applied against it. But cloud computing does represent a potent technology solution that is now available to enterprises.

So the question that should be asked is not “How will our organization move from SOA to cloud computing?” but "How can our organization develop a service-oriented approach to a business problem, and is cloud computing the appropriate technology solution for delivering the required services?"

Nice job de-fogging the relationship between SOA and cloud, Dave.

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