SOA will clash with cloud computing?

The clouds are coming -- learn to live it and love it

In this well-written article in Network World, James Kobielus explores the exploding use of cloud computing by enterprises and the fact that the expanded use of cloud services is causing issues around existing SOA governance policies and mechanisms.

But cloud computing is causing discomfort among some IT professionals, who are concerned that cloud-based services may fall outside the scope of established service-oriented architecture (SOA) governance initiatives.

The issue is around the growing use of cloud computing providers that may be had for the small price, or no price at all, and the fact that enterprise applications, known as "rogue applications," are being built outside of the control of IT. Many at the department level are finding that they can avoid waiting for mission-critical business systems that need datacenter space by leveraging cloud computing resources, and they see it as an easy way to work around any established governance. After all, you just need a browser and a credit card.

Simply put, cloud services can circumvent even the best-laid service governance practices. By enabling rapid no-touch outsourcing of many or all IT functions, cloud services make it very difficult for enterprise IT to enforce policies governing service composition, integration, security, management, and other key functions.

The trick here is to accept the fact that some cloud computing services are going to be part of the architecture and modify your SOA governance strategy and technology to accommodate this shift in platform. I suspect that many in IT will attempt to shut down the use of cloud services, perhaps sighting governance and security. However, that's analogous to stopping the use of the Web back in 1993 -- eventually you're going to lose.

Some suggestions from a guy who's going through this right now:

  1. Create and publish policies on the use of cloud computing resources. Don't deny the use. However, place around it reasonable polices that are easily understood and followed.
  2. Make sure to use SOA approaches when leveraging cloud computing. They are linked concepts.
  3. Promote the evaluation and use of cloud services by IT, including proactively assisting application development and the incorporation of cloud-based services.
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