More SOA and cloud computing confusion

We need to understand cloud computing in the context of SOA

I have to thank Joe McKendrick and Loraine Lawson for alerting me to this, and I think my reaction is not going to be a nice.

Stacey Higginbotham, a commentator for GigaOm, remarked that a recent HP tutorial on cloud computing was "depressingly similar to the idea of service-oriented architecture," noting that "HP offered clouds as merely a means to deliver IT as a service inside the enterprise." But overall, she walked away disappointed because "...most of HP's detailed talk of clouds in the first webinar was depressingly similar to the idea of service-oriented architecture.

Joe responded:

SOA certainly has its issues -- and we discuss them here at this blog site. But from this perspective, I would say that SOA efforts in recent years have laid the groundwork that make clouds work -- interoperability, reuse, and the idea that loosely coupled services and applications can operate independently of each other, within and across firewalls.

Exactly. As you may remember, I addressed this issue last month in "Will SOA morph into private clouds?"

What's interesting here is that they can repackage an existing concept that many are pushing back on these days, as something new and exciting, but they are basically the same SOA concepts. Heck, we did that with SOA, which was based on existing architectural patterns, so why not private clouds and cloud computing?

The trouble here is that those in IT have a tendency not to understand new concepts in context of the old, such as how cloud computing is indeed leveraging most of the concepts and patterns around SOA. That's not "depressingly similar."

Let's get this straight, SOA is an architectural pattern, the ability to create an architecture around the notion of many services that are bound together to create and re-create business solutions, simply put. Cloud computing is a set of enabling technologies as a potential target platform or technological approach for that architecture. Thus, to say they are similar is functionally equivalent to say that an approach to create automobiles is "depressingly similar" to a hybrid. It does not make sense.

We have too many people attempting to lead thought and/or provide commentary in the cloud computing space who have no context, and thus have a tendency to oversimplify how this technology is leveraged or how it works within enterprise architecture and SOA. I'm going to call them out when I see it.