Microsoft sees SOA as 'lynchpin' for hybrid cloud strategy

Through its AppFabric offerings, Microsoft is concentrating its enterprise resources on enabling the development and deployment of composite apps both on-premises and in the cloud.
Written by Joe McKendrick, Contributing Writer

What has Microsoft been doing lately in regard to SOA? Richard Seroter recently spoke with Rick Garibay, GM of the Connected Systems group at Neudesic -- a very, very tight-knit Microsoft partner -- for his views on how Microsoft is addressing customer requirements for service orientation.

The long and short of it is that Microsoft is concentrating its enterprise resources on supporting the intersection between private and public cloud services -- enabling the development and deployment of composite apps both on-premises and in the cloud. Garibay observes that the vendor is now investing heavily in Windows Server AppFabric and Windows Azure AppFabric as a complement to BizTalk Server, the vendor's integration broker. The release of Windows Azure, Microsoft's public cloud infrastructure, also paves the way to the vendor's Platform as a Service capabilities, he adds.

Redmond's emphasis is now on "hybrid composite solutions," that encompass both on-premises data centers and the public cloud, Garibay says:

"Microsoft’s commitment to SOA and model-driven development via the Oslo vision manifested itself into many [Microsoft products] and I think that collectively, they allow us to really challenge the way we think about on-premise versus cloud. As a result I think that Microsoft customers today have a unique opportunity to really take a look at what assets are running on premise and/or traditional hosting providers and extend their enterprise presence by identifying the right, high value sweet spots and moving those workloads to Azure Compute, Data or SQL Azure."

Garibay says SOA is the "lynchpin" of emerging hybrid cloud solutions, and reflects "a certain level of maturity in how they think about application design and service composition." While SOA is seeing a resurgence in interest, Garibay points out that service orientation, and by extension a service oriented architecture, won't magically emerge from the primordial soup of enterprise spaghetti:

"SOA requires discipline, and I think that often the simplicity of the tooling can be a liability. We’ve seen this in JBOWS un-architectures where web services are scattered across the enterprise with virtually no discoverability, governance or reuse (because they are effortless to create) resulting in highly complex and fragile systems, but this is more of an educational dilemma than a gap in the platform." I also think that how we think about service-orientation has changed somewhat by the proliferation of REST. The fact that you can expose an entity model as an OData service with a single declaration certainly challenges some of the percepts of SOA but makes up for that with amazing agility and time-to-value."

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