Where SOA Meets Cloud

David Linthicum

Is SOA getting play in the cloud?

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I'm back from Cloud Connect, a mid-sized cloud computing show held this week in Santa Clara. This was really a vendor and consultant conference, but there were a good number of end users there, and those actually deploying cloud-based systems which are few and far between these days.

On of the things that I noticed was lack of the S-Word, or SOA. While everyone agrees that you need to leverage SOA, in my discussion with those attending the presentations, the links from cloud computing to SOA were not clear at all. In other words, people are thinking about cloud computing without architectural context, which I think is a bit dangerous.

The core issue is that cloud computing is really a destination for an architecture, but it's not an architecture unto itself. The process of getting to a final architecture is about understanding existing systems, core business objectives, and then mapping a path forward using the best technology, including cloud computing.

The trouble with architecture is that it's almost as popular as the kid in the classroom that reminds the teacher to assign homework. However, if done properly SOA, when used with cloud computing, actually drives innovation, not stunts it.

The larger fear here is that those leveraging cloud computing without good architectural context are destined to find that cloud computing actually complicates their existing IT issues. This is really about a carefully planned configuration of IT resources that bring the best value to the business, not about what's hyped and what's popular. That's how many enterprises got into an architectural hole. It's time to stop digging.

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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 Those who don't take advantage of this revolution will become quickly outdated, perhaps out of business.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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