Ten HBIs (half baked ideas) on SOA-cloud convergence

Ten HBIs (half baked ideas) on SOA-cloud convergence

Summary: Is SOA becoming the cloud? What impact will SOA's cloud formations have on the business?


Is SOA becoming the cloud? What impact will SOA's cloud formations have on the business? What are the roles of Enterprise 2.0 and virtualization?

I just wrapped up the keynote address for ebizQ's latest Cloud QCamp, exploring the growing convergence of SOA with cloud computing, Enterprise 2.0 and virtualization. David Bressler of Progress Software joined me in the second half of the session for his take on SOA=cloud, followed by a rousing audience Q&A session.

We're clearly moving to a service-oriented way of doing business. And the services businesses will increasingly rely on will originate from a number of places -- they could be SOAP-based services, but they may also be mashups or REST-based services, or they may be coming from the cloud.

And that gets us right to the roots of what SOA is all about. Pure and simple, SOA is about the deployment of loosely coupled services to complete a business process. And it doesn't matter where those services are coming from.

There are four forces converging that are changing the way services are being delivered. There's SOA, of course. And cloud. Then there's virtualization. And Enterprise 2.0. These forces are all interrelated, and all leading to the same thing.

What is this thing? I referred to a term that ZDNet's own Dion Hinchcliffe coined has been actively promoting -- Web Oriented Architecture. SOA may benefit from WOA (and Enterprise/Web 2.0 in general) because it enables business end users to see and experience online services via composite mashups and cloud computing. SOA could be sold as an internal cloud that provides online services inside the walls of the enterprise.

(UPDATE: The term WOA was actually first coined by Gartner's Nick Gall back in 2006.)

The creation of an internal cloud offers businesses the chance to leverage their existing investments and IT assets within a new service-oriented framework. And when we talk about SOA meaning Some Occasional Agility, perhaps the path to agility is through WOA, enabled by these cloud and Enterprise 2.0 services.

To wrap up the session, I proposed 10 HBIs -- half-baked ideas -- for the year ahead, and beyond:

  • HBI #1: Less talk about "service oriented architecture" in the market -- but this doesn't mean SOA will have gone away.
  • HBI #2: The new economy emerging from the downturn will drive SOA, WOA, and cloud computing in new directions -- as vehicles for new business growth.
  • HBI #3: The rise of the Intelligent Web -- SOA, WOA and the cloud are turning business intelligence into "collaborative intelligence."
  • HBI #4: The rise of the "Loosely Coupled Business," built on brokered or aggregated services.
  • HBI #5: Computing Power "Too Cheap to Meter?" Thanks to SOA, WOA and the cloud, massive data center power is available for literally pennies.
  • HBI #6: Made to order: Application vendors may begin to look more like "Dells" than "IBMs" as they become assemblers of made-to-order, pre-built software components.
  • HBI #7: Opportunity knocks: Companies will seek services from third parties, providing new opportunities for smaller microbusinesses -- as well as large "cloud combines."
  • HBI #8: Integration, light and simple: Enterprise 2.0 and Web 2.0 is becoming the "Global SOA."
  • HBI #9: SOA, WOA and cloud will increase outsourcing, but outsourcing will take a new form -- fewer mega-deals, more micro-outsourcing.
  • HBI # 10: More business users will be building their own applications. More IT people will be involved in the business.

Topics: Browser, Enterprise Software, Software, Software Development

Kick off your day with ZDNet's daily email newsletter. It's the freshest tech news and opinion, served hot. Get it.


Log in or register to join the discussion
  • Economics of the new SOA model

    In April, we presented a webinar on this very topic. http://www.cirrhus9.com/webinars-3.html (if you're interested in viewing it)

    It's extremely interesting to see how this is falling into place. A lot of the emerging Cloud technologies, and subsequent applications, will fit into this model nicely. But, does SOA = Cloud by default? No, it does not. It's just a new way to deliver SOA to clients.

  • RE: Ten HBIs (half baked ideas) on SOA-cloud convergence

    "Is SOA becoming the cloud?"

    No. SOA, as a style of architecture, isn't "becoming" anything. One might find services in "the cloud" but that doesn't relieve the need of defining one's architecture in the first place--to determine whether or not the service is needed and what form it needs to be.

    "What impact will SOA?s cloud formations have on the business?"

    The same impact outsourcing has always had. Some will over-extend, some will under-utilize and some will get it just right because they understand exactly which services provide the best return--by defining their architecture before going shopping. Decide what is needed, then make a build vs. buy/lease decision. SOA != cloud.
  • RE: Ten HBIs (half baked ideas) on SOA-cloud convergence

    There's quite a lot of talk about WOA and SOA
    and the cloud and how they relate to each
    other. However, I don't think that's the most
    important point. They are quite complex issues
    and depending on the viewpoint they will mean
    different things. There is an abundance of text
    about these issues. I thinkg the focus should
    be more on calculating the actual business
    benefits you can get from WOA.

    I think WOA will definitely provide advantages
    to the companies (supply networks) that can use
    them now. The benefits will come as faster
    development, tighter integration and more
    integration opportunities. Also the ease of
    integration will bring new integration

    In addition, woa provides the opportunity to
    create more user driven business applications.
    (mostly due to easier development where the
    user is the customer). I could also see B2B
    going "viral" because of open APIs.

    What is needed now are some clear business
    cases which have been able to use WOA for
    business benefit in their supply chain. We're
    doing a pilot project on calculating the
    benefits of a WOA implementation and
    how to approach WOA development from a SME
    viewpoint. If you're interested, follow our
    blog on
    • Curious

      Do you view WOA as a form of SOA? (per the definition of WOA from Gartner's Nick Gall)

      "I think the focus should be more on calculating the actual business benefits you can get from WOA."

      I'm kind of with you on that but instead of focusing on the benefits of the particular style, shouldn't we focus on the overall system itself?

      How does WOA, an architectural style with particular principles, provide an "opportunity to create more user driven business applications?" What prevents other styles (new and old) from achieving the same?

      Being user-driven is a good thing to do, but if it's the only thing I'd say be careful. There are other aspects to systems that are at least as important as the user experience.

      Side trip: unless the user is really paying to use the system, the user is not a customer. A faux customer/provider relationship between people or groups can be counter-productive--better to focus on the real customer of the company, not on so-called "internal customers."