SOA vendors embark on 'cloudwashing'

A service is a service is a service. Maybe we're fortunate SOA came along before cloud.
Written by Joe McKendrick, Contributing Writer

Perhaps it's a good thing we had SOA to noodle around with before cloud came along big time.

Dave Linthicum, an entrepreneur extraordinaire himself, has raised an interesting point about something vendors in the SOA space have been doing lately: Many are no longer just calling themselves "SOA" vendors. They are now also "cloud" vendors.

Call it what you want: a service is a service is a service.

They are, in fact, engaged in something called "cloudwashing" -- "renaming technology, strategies, and services to using the term 'cloud.'"  Dave observes that almost all of the SOA technology players have 'cloud washed' their products and messaging to use 'cloud.'"  He also links to John Treadway, who originally coined the term to describe Salesforce.com's move from "Software as a Service" to "cloud."

Dave also makes the following observation:

"Indeed, almost every day I'm told that 'We're no longer a SOA company, we're a cloud computing company.' Which is not at all logical."

Dave also adds a new term to the lexicon: "Cloud-efying," or the process of moving SOA technology to a virtualized and multi-tenant platform. In the case of SOA vendors, many are providing an on-demand version of their software.

What's in a name?  Not much, obviously. Vendors can cloudwash and cloudefy to their hearts' content. To paraphrase Gertude Stein: A service is a service is a service.

But it brings us back to the points we've been debating and hashing out for the past year or so, ever since Anne Thomas Manes' declaration that SOA is Dead; Long Live Services. That is, businesses need value from services delivered through a well-governed and orchestrated infrastructure. It doesn't matter if that service framework is internally or externally hosted. The bottom line is: what are those services delivering to the business?

Anne also provided her reaction to Dave's statement, adding that "just because [SOA is] dead, that doesn't mean we don't need it. And SOA is particularly important to cloud computing."

The scalability, interoperability and viability of enterprise cloud formations depend on robust service orientation underneath. From an enterprise architecture perspective, we're fortunate that SOA came along before cloud.

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