SOA and cloud bonding: is this good, or too risky?

SOA may provide valuable lessons to cloud computing
Written by Joe McKendrick, Contributing Writer

Many times in this blogsite, I have talked about the growing overlap between service oriented architecture and cloud computing. That is, SOAs are, in many senses, private clouds, and the fact that cloud formations need to built and manage according to SOA principles.

So clouds are the new SOA. But Dave Linthicum says there are risks lurking within this cozy relationship, warning that "many of the same mistakes made by the same people will be repeated within cloud computing projects."

He adds that "the guys who fell short in meeting your SOA expectations are not the guys to tap for cloud computing projects. The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting a different result."

Dave advises that since cloud computing "is simply a new way to do computing, based on a very old model," it's important to remember the principles of good systems design, development, and management: "Lead with architecture, and your own needs, and then drive those into the 'to be' solution." The architecture will get you to where you are going.

I only have to take issue with Dave on the point about "the guys" that delivered SOA "failure." This makes the assumption that SOA has been, more often than not, a failed project -- sure, there are anecdotal stories out there, and issues in terms of business expectations and ROI. But most if the surveys I have seen found that SOA projects are either meeting at least some expectations, or the jury is still out.

Second, SOA proponents have been on a learning curve for the past few years, and have been ironing out the kinks and bugs in this new approach to technology-enabling business. Many may even have their 10,000 hours in for understanding what is needed to ensure value through SOA, and thus may have some important lessons and understanding to contribute to budding cloud projects. Such as -- understanding the role of governance and architecture.

We learn and improve -- as individuals and institutions -- through our mistakes. All the more reason to look at the SOA experience for the next generation of cloud computing.

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