SOA Ontology authors: SOA-cloud connection will be clearer in 2011

SOA is a business concept applied to technology. Cloud is a technology concept applied to business. People are just starting to understand this relationship.
Written by Joe McKendrick, Contributing Writer

Last month, The Open Group released the SOA Ontology, intended as a common language intended to take the ambiguity out of SOA communications and implementations.

Loraine Lawson, who always does a masterful job cutting through the ambiguities of the IT market, recently spoke with Heather Kreger and Dr. Chris Harding, leading contributors to the SOA Ontology. (Kreger co-chaired The Open Group's SOA Work Group and is IBM's lead architect for Smarter Planet, Policy, and SOA Standards in the IBM Software Group. Harding is The Open Group’s SOA Working Group forum director, the primary author of “The SOA Sourcebook,” and holds a Ph.D. in mathematical logic.)

One of the key points discussed in the interview is ongoing dance taking place between SOA and the cloud. In fact, cloud appears to have pulled SOA from out of the sidelines and back into the spotlight. Kreger observes that "there has been a resurgence in SOA lately, especially as it’s being motivated by the cloud scenarios that are being implemented." She explained that already established SOA standards are ready-made for the cloud implementations as well:

"We see the ability to use a lot of the SOA standards that we’ve already developed directly in the cloud space, adding to it the unique things about cloud where it talks more to deployment, run time and operational kinds of qualities...."

Harding also sees cloud increasing the need for SOA know-how, but cautions that the relationship works at cross-purposes: "Cloud is a different dimension. SOA is the business concept that’s been applied to the technology. Cloud is very much a technical concept, which is conversely having a big effect on business."

The lessons of SOA, honed over the past decade, will surface as companies grapple with cloud computing -- and it appears 2011 will be a big year for such activity. "As we go forward this year, as the use of cloud gets more and more widespread, we’re going to actually see people trying to make service orientation work in the cloud context," Harding points out. "We will see what the relationship ought to be becoming much, much clearer."

Many companies, even those well- versed in SOA methodologies and thinking, are just starting to understand how cloud fits in, he adds.

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