Service governance morphs into cloud API management

More evidence that SOA is a bad word: Traditional SOA service governance technology rebrands itself for the cloud

My good friend Loraine Lawson posts in her blog an observation that's evolved for the last few years: SOA governance is morphing into API management.

Coming from the world of service-oriented architecture (SOA), I may have been in denial. However, many of the items that were once considered SOA, such as service governance, are now focused on the cloud, including API management.

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The technology is a great fit -- runtime service governance products (from Layer 7, Oracle, Vordel, and a few others) have a huge value in controlling and managing cloud services or APIs. The technology providers saw the matchup. They rebranded to the cloud and followed many of the newer cloud API management providers, such as Apigee and Mashery.

Analyst organizations saw this coming. Gartner noted in its 2011 Magic Quadrant for SOA Governance Technologies that "SOA governance in the cloud also overlaps consistently with API management."

When building and using clouds, the ability to manage APIs or services is the single most important item you can provide to ensure the success of the project. But most organizations driving a cloud project for the first time have no experience handling a service-based architecture and don't see the need for API management until after deployment. By then, it's too late.

Cloud-based applications are built using APIs for storage, compute, data access, and so on. They're mixed and matched to form the solution. In other words, a cloud application is really a collection of APIs and services, bound together in an application container. That's SOA.

The APIs are the application. Moreover, they must be used only by those services authorized to use them, in such a way that they follow predefined policies and are not abused. That's SOA governance.

The ability to manage cloud APIs becomes one of the most important aspects of a cloud computing architecture and the resulting business solution. No matter if you call it SOA governance, service governance, or API management, SOA is a core component to making this stuff work. Embrace it early.

This article, "Service governance morphs into cloud API management," originally appeared at Read more of David Linthicum's Cloud Computing blog and track the latest developments in cloud computing at For the latest business technology news, follow on Twitter.

Copyright © 2012 IDG Communications, Inc.