BEA CTO: we need 'business intelligence' applied to SOA

Once you have information in the repository, you can look at it in a more holistic way: 'Why did it change? Who changed it? What does it mean that they did this? Was it done under an agreed-upon workflow and policy?

SOAs involve a lot of moving parts, and will require the monitoring of uptime and SLAs from services outside of your control, as well as change management of and access to services that come from within. In a recent interview, Rob Levy, executive vice president and CTO of BEA Systems, said the rise of repositories will stimulate the emergence of tools -- such as dashboards -- that can manage the artifacts within repositories, along with policies that govern their use.

You can look at repository information in a more holistic way: 'Why did it change? Who changed it? What does it mean that they did this?'

"We see SOA governance as the ability to understand why you're doing it and who is allowed to do what, and then adding traceability and management view into the SOA stack. It's about how it's done, why it's done, who did it and where did it happen, more than what it is that did happen," he told Rich Seeley of SearchWebServices.

"The first thing you need for governance is the ability to put all the artifacts somewhere so you can actually see them in a cohesive manner....  Once you have information in the repository, you can really start looking at it in a more holistic way, and say: 'Okay why did it change? Who changed it? What does it mean that they did this? Was it done under an agreed-upon workflow and policy?'"

Levy said BEA intends to support the use of dashboards to manage and monitor changes within the SOA repository. "You'll see more 'business intelligence' types of views on top of the central repository and you'll see policy definition against that," he said. "There's no difference between policy against change management policy and policy against security access. One is an IT policy, the other is a governance policy, but the concept of policy applying to the artifact did not really change."

A dashboard view of what's going on with the SOA -- not only in terms of change management and access from within the respository, but also for runtime issues in terms of usage spikes and potential bottlenecks -- will make the job of managing these architectures much easier.  Look for more "intelligence" to start being applied in this space.