SOA, IT and cloud governance converge into 'total services governance'

Is it time to govern the cloud?  Should it be the same governance we're working so hard to apply to service oriented architecture?
Written by Joe McKendrick, Contributing Writer

Is it time to govern the cloud?  Should it be the same governance we're working so hard to apply to service oriented architecture?  These are the questions tackled at Dana Gardner's latest BriefingsDirect analyst podcast, in which I had the opportunity to chime in. (Full transcript available here.)

Dana called the term "total services governance," which encompasses more than just SOA or IT governance, but also extended enterprise processes, resource consumption, and resource-allocation governance.

Some issues mentioned include:

Reliability. Ron Schmelzer says "people are starting to think more and more about governance, because we see the penalty for what happens when IT fails. People don’t want to be consuming stuff from the cloud or putting stuff into a cloud and risking the fact that the cloud may not be available or the service of the cloud may not be available. They need to have contingency plans, but IT contingency plans are a form of governance."

Managing Service Lifecycles. David Kelly says "looking at this from a macro perspective, we need managing the cloud-computing life cycle. From the definitions of the services, through the deployment of the services, to the management of the services, to the performance of the services, to the retirement of the services, it’s everything that’s going on in the cloud. As those services get aggregated into larger business processes, that’s going to require different set of governance characteristics."

Managing Scale. Dana pointed out that "we’re going to need to scale beyond what we do with business-to-employee (B2E). For cloud computing, we’re going to need to see a greater scale for business-to-business (B2B) cloud ecologies, and then ultimately business-to-consumer (B2C) with potentially very massive scale. New business models will demand a high scale and low margin, so the scale becomes important. In order to manage scale, you need to have governance in place. … We’re going to need to see governance on API usage, but also in what you’re willing to let your APIs be used for and at what scale."

Service Ecology Management. I added to the discussion my thoughts about the emerging loosely coupled business, that cloud is making more of a reality every day. "A lot of companies are taking on the role of a broker or brokerage," I said. "They’re picking up services from partners, distributors, and aggregators, and providing those services to specific markets. They need the ability to know what services are available in order to be able to discover and identify the assets to build the application or complete a business process. How will we go about knowing what’s out there and knowing what’s been embedded and tested for the organization?"

Over the past few years, we've learned a lot about service governance from the SOA experience. These are lessons that are being applied to IT in general, and lessons that will greatly benefit the emerging cloud services space.

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