Service-oriented organizations have a head start in the cloud race

Service-oriented organizations have a head start in the cloud race

Summary: New Forrester report urges carrying over SOA practices into cloud projects.


If your business technology is service oriented, you may already be light years ahead of other organizations in preparing for a move to the cloud. SOA-aware services already have the systems independence and reusability that will help put the cloud pieces together.

World Trade Center NYC construction Aug 2012-Photo by Joe McKendrick


That's the view of Forrester analyst James Staten, who recently issued a report, along with other colleagues, on what to do and what not to do when it comes to cloud computing. One key takeaway is that the work that went into service oriented architecture could pave the way to smoother cloud adoption. "Revisit your old SOA enterprise architectures — they’re relevant again," Staten advises.

The major difference is that cloud applications leverage REST versus SOAP web services. But "leading cloud-native services are built using SOA-class designs — as a series of interconnected but discrete services. They are designed for survivability of the infrastructure failure and have independence of locality. They are also designed for rapid innovation and iteration. It also reduces risk of incompatibility when new enhancements are delivered as system updates." All familiar territory for SOA practitioners.

Staten provides these additional pieces of advice:

  • Segment the application portfolio. "If you have applications already built in an SOA fashion, these are likely your low-hanging fruit and first applications you can bring over to the cloud."
  • Leverage cloud services to accelerate application design. Another lesson from the SOA era: "the concept of only writing the code you actually have to and otherwise leveraging preexisting services," Staten says. "Cloud platforms, especially PaaS offerings, provide a collection of prebuilt services that can ease application design." Such services include messaging, queuing, caching, scale-out databases, and application runtimes.
  • Get started now. "If your lead client-side developers and your enterprise architects don’t yet have accounts on leading IaaS and PaaS cloud platforms, get them access. If you don’t know what cloud to start with, find out which ones your business-aligned developers are already using."
  • Establish compelling business success metrics. Metrics include provding more access, improving the customer experience, adding more value, actually increasing performance, and keeping things running through scheduled downtime.

(Photo: Joe McKendrick.)



Topics: Cloud, Enterprise Software, IT Priorities, Software Development

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  • Additional carry-over benefits from SOA to Cloud

    I totally agree with the point that a mature SOA adoption means a head start on successful adoption of cloud services. After all, the concepts of abstraction and decoupling that are so important to SOA are also major attributes of cloud services. I'd also add a few additional attributes of a mature SOA adoption that carries over well to the cloud space:

    IT Governance - the organization is already set up to consume and manage reusable services, thus cloud deployed services simply become a discussion of hosting infrastructure and ownership rather than requiring any changes to the governance model.

    Operations and Support - SOA requires a very different support model from traditional application support models in that the focus is more on understanding dependencies than every little detail within a given application. A mature SOA ops organization is tooled up to manage and support applications with complex dependencies distributed across multiple systems, thus they are already well suited to deal with cloud services.

    Funding Models - as an organization's SOA deployments mature, the funding model starts to move away from FTE's and towards transactional and/or SLA based funding. This translates directly to the cost model for cloud services.
    Shan Gu
    • Additional reasons SOA accelerates cloud

      Thanks, Shan, these are great observations.