How the cloud has modernized SOA

The new SOA is not the SOA you used a decade ago, and you probably don't even know you're using it today

How the cloud has modernized SOA

I've talked about the importance of service-oriented architecture (SOA) many times in my InfoWorld blog, so I'm not going to make another list of the reasons you should design systems as sets of services.

However, cloud providers are already there. They are mostly API-driven; whether you know it or not, if you've built new applications using cloud services, you've done SOA, and you will continue to get deeper into it.

Although we're certainly moving into SOA through technologies such as cloud computing, the patterns are a bit different than the SOA we used 10 or so years ago, which I call Old SOA.

Here are the two reasons New SOA is different:

1. Coupling

SOA is about loosely coupled systems that typically interact via services. Old SOA typically exposed services from one or two systems, and the degree of coupling could be tight or loose, depending on the application.

However, New SOA-enabled applications that leverage clouds have to be loosely coupled, or else they won't work well. Cloud services, which can number into the thousands, can exist in as many as a 100 cloud services that make up the application. Any tight coupling will stop the application if a service goes down or communications are lost.

2. Governance

Old SOA needed governance, but we could deal with an increasing number of services until we hit a tipping point. This tipping point was typically around 500 services; then it would be time to get a service governance system in place to track the services, set policies for use, and track dependencies.

However, New SOA-enabled applications that leverage clouds have a tipping point at only one service. You cannot manage a set of applications that use remote and local cloud services without a sound service governance approach and technology in place. That's because cloud-based services are widely distributed, not typically owned and operated by you, so you must have much tighter checks around all services at all times.

SOA will grow in 2016 around the concept of cloud computing. Although you won't hear the term "SOA" tossed around much, the technology approach will be everywhere.

But it's not your parents' SOA. It's evolving with the use of new technologies such as clouds and containers, and SOA will have to shift with the emerging patterns of usage.


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