Cloud Computing Summit: SOA dominates the clouds

Just when you thought you could move on to something new, SOA and cloud computing cross paths again

I spoke at the Cloud Computing Summit held in the Ronald Reagan Building in Washington, D.C., yesterday at a panel titled "Extending IT to the Cloud" with the new CTO of the federal cloud, Patrick Stingley. After that, I did a talk on "Moving to Cloud Computing Step-by-Step" panel. Check out the slides from the summit.

What took me back at the conference was that all of these cloud computing events I've been attending are really more around new ways to build your SOA. Work with me on this one.

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They talk about remote services, identity management, governance, and concepts such as service virtualization and agility. Moreover, when you hear "cloud computing standards," they are in essence the existing SOA-bred WS-* standards recast for the clouds, and when you look at how people are approaching architectures that use cloud computing -- well, that's SOA too.

One guy even said to me, "SOA is dead, and cloud computing is the future," and went on to tell me how he built an SOA using some cloud assets. When I told him that he was in essence building an SOA, considering the use of services and configurable processes, he told me that the use of Amazon EC2 made it a "cloud computing project." Sometimes I don't know why I try so hard. :-)

The reality is that SOA is really one of the few architectural patterns that makes sense for distributed computing models, which what, in essence, is what cloud computing is. Thus, most of the talk around the deployment of enterprise-based cloud computing architectures will be SOA, no matter if SOA is mentioned or not.

We need to get smarter with this stuff, else the confusion will overtake any benefits we can foresee.