At IBM Impact it’s all cloudy SOA

The message at IBM Impact is: Do SOA and do clouds that are private

I'm at IBM Impact this week, as you already know if you've been following me on Twitter. This is my first Impact, since I typically don't do vendor conferences. However, just considing the influence that IBM has these days in the world of SOA makes being here compelling.

Also, I did a talk on private clouds yesterday with Walter Falk, global cloud and SOA services executive, talking about the architectural realities of leveraging SOA, private clouds, and public clouds. I thought it was well received and well attended, with many questions. I was told that most cloud talks at Impact were standing room only; I suspect people were looking to figure out just what the heck cloud computing is and how it relates to SOA. Good thing I just wrote a book on that.

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Jack Vaughan had some of the better coverage of the event.

IBM's yearly SOA conference kicked-off today with some looks at innovative uses of service-oriented architecture to address business and social issues. Company leaders soundly rejected the oft-heard contention that "SOA is dead." The company also gave a view of a hardware appliance meant to ease deployment of on-premises "private clouds."

Private clouds are key to IBM's strategy. If you think about it, that's the market reality for them. Their core base is in the datacenter, and pushing people to public cloud providers would mean pushing a lot of their existing business away from IBM. That won't happen.

Thus, the trick now is to drive people to cloud computing but not out of the datacenter, and the best approach to do that is private clouds. I like the notion of private clouds, but I see private clouds defined very differently, including here at the IBM event. Private clouds are in essence SOA with some virtualization and self-provisioning, as part as the architecture. Or, more simply put, private clouds provide similar patterns as public cloud computing, if you do private clouds correctly. The use of SOA technology and approaches is systemic to private clouds, as they are to public clouds as well.

The big news was the release of WebSphere CloudBurst, an appliance for private clouds.

The CloudBurst release at least in part addresses how you deploy and manage applications and services on cloud infrastructure. As an appliance, CloudBurst comes with out-of-the-box virtual images and patterns. These represent known best ways to deploy services.

As we've been exploring in this blog, SOA is growing again and seems to be accelerating. Moreover, the interest in clouds is exploding. IBM owns so many assets in the SOA space, and I suspect it will own more by the end of the year, that its influence in the world of SOA will be approaching domination. That said, it's going to be a challenge for them to create a strategy that crosses all departments at IBM and is much less confusing than it is today. In addition, they must adjust to quick changes in the SOA and cloud computing markets that are surely going to occur this year and next. The trouble with being so big, is you typically become less nimble.

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