What cloud can learn from SOA, and visa-versa

New book explores how cloud computing is accelerating SOA adoption
Written by Joe McKendrick, Contributing Writer

Just how closely are the worlds of service oriented architecture and cloud computing intertwined? More than one can imagine, says Dave Linthicum. Dave is in the process of publishing an authoritative work, Cloud Computing and SOA Convergence in Your Enterprise: A Step-by-Step Guide, that connects the dots between SOA and cloud. (Book now available on Amazon, will be released in October.)

In the book, Dave describes what cloud computing could learn from SOA:

Service governance: While governance is fundamental to well-executed SOA, "there is little notion of governance today within cloud computing, and thus there is little control and implementation of policies."

Driving from the architecture: SOA initiatives begin with the architecture first. Cloud, on the other hand, tends to start with the resources on demand. "With cloud computing, the need for a well-thought-out architecture does not go out the window; indeed, it's even more important, considering that you're extending the architecture out of the firewall."

SOA also can even learn a thing or two from cloud computing, and Dave details some of these elements:

Service design: Since they're meant for internal groups, SOA services tend not to be too well-designed. On the other hand, cloud services may be setting good examples to follow. "those who deploy services in the cloud such as Amazon, Force.com, and others, have done a pretty good job with service design. You really must do a good job to rent the darn things out."

Service expandability: SOA services typically are not designed to scale, and thus, "the ability to expand services within a SOA is typically a painful and expensive process," Dave says. "Cloud computing providers had to figure out scaling rather quickly."

In many ways, cloud is an extension of the principals and practices we've been developing and finessing for the past few years with SOA, Dave points out. "Clearly, SOA and cloud computing go hand-in-hand," he points out. "Cloud computing is just the ability to leverage new platforms and resources that you don’t happen to own. Nothing really changes outside of that, including the need to do SOA right. However, cloud computing is accelerating the adoption of SOA by providing aspects of SOA on-demand. SOA can learn a lot from the clouds, and the clouds can learn a lot from SOA."

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