SOA Governance Monday: Design Time, and the missing pieces

The SOA design time guys have a lot of work to do.

Design Time SOA Governance, as the name implies, typically provides an integrated registry/repository that attempts to manage a service from its design to its deployment, but typically not during runtime execution of the services, albeit some do.

Key components of Design Time SOA Governance include:

• A registry and/or repository for the tracking of service design, management, policy, security, and testing artifacts.

• Design tools, including service modeling, dependency tracking, policy creation and management, and other tools that assist in the design of services.

• Deployment tools, including service deployment, typically through binding with external development environments.

• Links to testing tools and services, providing the developer/designer the ability to create a test plan and testing scenarios and then leverage service-testing technology.

In essence, Design Time SOA Governances works up from the data to the services, gathering key information as it goes. Thus, you typically begin by defining the underlying data schema and turning that into metadata, and perhaps an abstraction of the data. Then working up from there you further define the services that interact with the data, data services, and then transactional services on top of that. You can further define that into processes or orchestration. All this occurring with design time information managed within the Design Time SOA Governance system. I get all that.

The issue with Design Time SOA Governance technology is how deeply the technology goes to serving the true notion of "design" as outlined above. The fact is that most don't go that deep, and many designing an SOA are left wanting for more robust features and functions, including true modeling and simulation capabilities based on SOA design and development best practices.

Another issue, and as with most SOA technology, is the lack of a standard approach to Design Time SOA Governance. While there are a few standards emerging, most SOA governance technology providers have gone off in their own directions, using their own approaches, and no two are alike. Thus, not only are you picking a tool, but you're picking a design approach which may or may not be right for you.

The bottom line is that the design time guys have a lot of work to do.