Design-time governance killed in the cloud?

An emerging debate over the value of design-time governance of services in the cloud computing era
Written by Joe McKendrick, Contributing Writer

Will the cloud computing paradigm kill off design-time service governance as a separate practice?

How badly do we need design-time governance in the cloud era?

Dave Linthicum recently posted his predictions on technology areas cloud computing may eventually kill off, and one of them is design-time service governance, a lynchpin of many SOA-based efforts.

As Dave explains it, with cloud computing, it's essential to have runtime service governance in place, in order to enforce service policies during execution. This is becoming a huge need as more organizations tap into cloud formations. "Today SOA is a huge reality as companies ramp up to leverage cloud computing or have an SOA that uses cloud-based services," he says. "Thus, the focus on runtime service execution provides much more value."

Many of the existing runtime SOA governance players support enough design and implementation capabilities that separate design-time tools are not required, Dave adds.

However, some others beg to differ with Dave's assessment. Jeff Papows, for one, believes "nothing could be further from the truth" in terms of the role of design-time governance in the cloud.

In fact, if anything, the rise of the cloud computing paradigm calls for greater attention to design-time governance. As Jeff puts it:

"If we cut corners at the beginning of the development process, we will almost always create gaps in the cloud resulting in the proliferation of bad code and applications. If in fact more services are accessed, sometimes anonymously, from God knows where, in fact the quality of those services now destined to be used and reused must in fact of an even higher quality. Sounds like design time governance to me."

The growing utilization of cloud resources brings forward new design governance challenges, Jeff argues." For example, when and how should cloud resources be used, do they support the proper technologies, functionality and performance we expect?"

In the SOA world, we've been preaching both sides of governance as the vital core of any SOA effort. And with good reason. Ultimately, as SOA proliferates as a methodology for leveraging business technology, and by extension, services are delivered through the cloud platform, people and organizations will play the roles of both creators and consumers of services. The line between the two are blurring more every day, and both design-time and runtime governance discipline, policies, and tools will be required.

Readers, let's hear your views on the subject. How badly do we need design-time governance in the cloud era?

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