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Where SOA Meets Cloud

David Linthicum

How Cloud Computing is Changing SOA

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I kicked up a bit of a dust storm a few months ago with my declaration that the movement to cloud computing, or SOA leveraging cloud computing, would shine a much dimmer light on some SOA technology such as design time governance.    I still stand by those posts by the way, and the future market will prove me right on that one.  


The larger issue here is that the focus on cloud computing as architectural options within an SOA is indeed changing SOA, and the technology we employ.    That said, here are a few things that are occurring:


"Cloud washing" is the practice of renaming technology, strategies, and services to using the term "Cloud."     Almost all of the SOA technology players have "cloud washed" their products and messaging to use "Cloud."  Indeed, almost every day I'm told that "We're no longer a SOA company, we're a cloud computing company." Which is not at all logical.


I don't blame them, by the way.   "Cloud" is ill-defined and they want to remain relevant, thus the push the push to cloud computing within their message.   However, SOA remains something you do, and cloud a likely outcome of that doing.   They are very different concepts, but I suspect I may lose that battle. 


"Cloud-efying" is the process of moving your SOA technology to a virtualized and multi-tenant platform, or a "Cloud."  Many SOA players are moving that direction now, providing an on-demand version of their software.    The trouble is that many of them don't have to first clue how to build an on-demand offering, and in most cases it requires a systemic change in the core architecture of the product.    They will find that out soon enough.   


Another core issues with "cloud-efying" is that they are focusing on changing how the technology is offered, and not on the features and functions of the technology itself.    Thus, they will be running in place for a year or so, and perhaps running backwards in some instances.    By the way, you clearly can have a SOA and cloud-enabled product that remains on -premise.   This push to make everything Internet-delivered makes sense in some instances, but not in others.            

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This blog is your first step toward understanding the issues you will face as cloud computing and SOA converge. The movement to cloud computing is a disruptive change that IT departments will soon face as SOA and cloud computing begin to have an effect on the modern enterprise. IT managers must learn how to give as well as take information in this new, shareable environment, while still protecting their company's interests. Innovative companies will take advantage of these new resources and reinvent themselves as unstoppable forces in their markets. Those who don't take advantage of this revolution will become quickly outdated, perhaps out of business.

David Linthicum

David Linthicum is the CTO of Blue Mountain Labs, and an internationally known distributed computing and application integration expert. View more


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