Today's IT organizations face a dual challenge of "keeping the lights on" while providing "new services" at unprecedented rates with reduced investment support from the business. At the same time, the very business model of IT is changing -– how applications, content, information, and infrastructure are delivered.
One of the biggest barriers to business execution and innovation today is managing complexity. This barrier forces the largest IT investment spend to be focused on keeping lights on while containing infrastructure sprawl. IT's inability to focus a majority of its time and investment dollars on innovating and differentiating business through IT leads to missed expectations and disappointment within the business user community.
Not all is lost though. The convergence and intersection of enterprise computing technology combined with a new form of service delivery via the cloud provides a strategy blueprint for success. Moreover, the underpinnings of both strategies are a flexible architecture that is oriented toward providing what the business asks for –- when they ask it.
Enterprise computing incorporates maturity and discipline to provide performance, scale, resiliency, and security at the most stringent standards. IT is managed as a portfolio: a set of investments, a collection of digital business assets, and dynamic IT service delivery models. The approach is to understand the management of IT as a firm-wide service and infrastructure fabric that collaborates with business units to respond rapidly, innovatively, and cost effectively to changing market conditions. The intersection of services and changing business needs are managed against architectural standards that align to business objectives.
Cloud computing incorporates attributes of flexibility and libertarian principles of form and functionality married with the ubiquity of the internet. IT is the service, whether it is content, collaboration, information, applications, or infrastructure. The combination or ensemble of services is dependent only on the choices the market demands. A cloud delivery model can be intra-enterprise, inter-enterprise, or public-wide. Each of these delivery models requires an orientation of service based on contract policy, composition, and guarantee.
As end-users and early adopters of both enterprise and cloud computing, we realized accelerated results. We now coach firms on how to leverage a service-oriented architecture strategy that incorporates both disciplines of enterprise and cloud computing. In doing so, each other's limits or weaknesses are offset (security, flexibility, performance, etc.), and firms are able to derive the promise of IT-driven business transformation.
Below are some key thoughts and lessons learned to date in delivering successful SOA programs which incorporate enterprise and cloud computing:
- SOA = Architecture + infrastructure + runtime + delivery
- Need to create an SOA lifecycle model
- Service-oriented demand and supply
- Implement SOA runtime and orchestration management
- Virtualize the service stack
- Utilize optimized SOA infrastructure service footprints
- Run it like a service utility
- Manage it like a portfolio