Governance -- that often-unappreciated discipline of making sure the right thing happens in the right way and the wrong things don't happen -- is heading to the clouds, taking advantage of the insights learned during SOA's glory days. After all, the clouds and SOA share many architectural aspects, as I've argued many times in this blog, so it makes sense to apply SOA governance principles as well.
Vendors are taking notice, too. As InfoWorld's Paul Krill points out, "AmberPoint Governance System monitors an application environment for changes and updates, discovering application components and resources. Policy compliance is automated, and reporting is done in real time, AmberPoint said. The product acts as a single system to enforce governance policies."
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I also took a look at the new AmberPoint Governance System from a SOA-meets-cloud angle, and I was impressed that AmberPoint is now offering federated governance capabilities, which plays right into the core requirements of SOA using cloud computing. The notion is that service governance is really about having a central repository of policies that govern how we use services. In the past, these repositories have existed in a single location. However, considering the federated nature of many enterprises and the use of cloud computing, that was somewhat limiting. With AmberPoint's new release supporting federation, you'll have more architectural flexibility, including the ability to better support the use of external cloud-based services inside of your enterprise.
In addition, my good friend Joe McKendrick has highlighted the cloud advantages for governance: "Companies are becoming both providers and consumers of services. As cloud providers, enterprises will be creating, managing, and governing services deployed through the cloud -- in many cases, to partners, customers, and others in the extended enterprise. It's interesting to see the next generation of governance solutions evolve in this direction."
The fact of the matter is that SOA needs governance, and SOA using cloud computing needs governance times 10. The ability to extend your architecture out to the platform of cloud computing, mixing and matching services that exist anywhere and everywhere, requires an active runtime service governance control mechanism. Otherwise, you're asking for trouble -- and the management of that architecture will be next to impossible.
Cloud computing needs a solid foundation of service governance to be successful.