Oh my, how governance has changed in the cloud

The rise of cloud computing made everyone rethink governance from traditional SOA. Here’s what changed and why

As a longtime blogger, columnist, and general pundit in the technology space, I spend a lot of my day pointing out both the good aspects of enterprise technology and the technologies that may no longer deserve our support. Such was the case with a blog I wrote for InfoWorld back in 2009 where I described three technologies that cloud computing would kill. I still stand behind that post.

That post took a lot of heat from the powers that be in the world of service-oriented architecture (SOA), especially those pushing a specific type of SOA governance. My issue was not their technology but how cloud computing was changing our management and government of services.

All these years later, SOA is barely mentioned, but service governance became the single most valuable technology that most enterprises can leverage when moving to the cloud -- whether they knew it or not.

The use of governance technology in the cloud has three core patterns.

1. The ability to govern cloud microservices

Microservices have a software architecture where complex applications are composed of small, independent processes that communicate with each other using language-agnostic APIs. These are fine-grained services, loosely coupled and highly decomposed.

Microservices must be managed as to how they are discovered, provisioned, changed, and function in runtime. Governance tools can track and manage these services across domains and even across the entire enterprise. This is typically done by providing a service repository, which uses policies to govern and secure these services.

2. The ability to govern cloud orchestrations

Orchestrations link services together to form solutions. In essence, they become services themselves. Thus, they must be governed much the way you govern microservices, but up one layer of abstraction. Again, you typically govern and secure them through the use of policies.

3. The ability to govern resources

These are cloud resources -- such as storage, compute server, and databases -- that may be provisioned, used, and deprovisioned. Cloud management platform (CMP) and cloud-brokering tools are aimed at this type of governance, providing a single pane of glass to manage many clouds and cloud resources, placing and enforcing polices on their use.

Although many patterns remain consistent from the days of SOA, for the most part governance has evolved around the needs of cloud computing. That change from the SOA approach a decade ago is a good thing, considering how important it is for the use of cloud computing to succeed in the long run.

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