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Where SOA Meets Cloud

David Linthicum

Gartner Gets Cloud Computing Wrong

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I have to thank Joe McKendrick for pointing out some recent comments from Gartner's David Mitchell Smith that tosses a bit of "cold water" on the clear links between SOA and cloud computing.  


"In the world of SOA we talk of services as software, live components and objects (technical things), but in the real world when you talk about service it is outcome based... People will say 'we are doing SOA so we are ready for the cloud', but the difference between SOA services and the cloud context is huge. With cloud, you pay for the outcome, not the technology. In cloud the service terminology you are focusing on is a relationship between service provider and consumer not technology provider and consumer."


I don't get bent out of shape when analysts say these sorts of things, they even disagree within the firm.     However, I wanted to make sure that we're not missing the larger point here around the links between SOA and cloud computing, and perhaps adjust Mr. Smith's thinking a bit here.    I would first and foremost encourage him to read my book, Cloud Computing and SOA Convergence for about 300 pages of more detail I can't get into here.


If I understand the "analyst speak" here, I think he is getting at some truth in that cloud computing is really type of solution, or a solution pattern, and that SOA is an architecture, or a way to define those patterns.   Clearly, can't define the solutions using cloud computing without architecture, and that architectural approach is SOA.


The larger issue here is that those moving to cloud typically don't like to talk about SOA as a means to get there, considering that SOA is an architectural approach or dare I say discipline, and cloud computing is new and cool technology that we're once again hopeful will eliminate the need for architecture and planning.   It won't.     


In order to be successful with cloud computing we can't lose sight that most successful cloud computing architectures are SOAs that leverage private, public, and hybrid cloud platforms.   If you're considering leveraging cloud services without putting in the context of SOA, you'll crash and burn pretty quickly, trust me.    


That said I'm happy to challenge Mr. Smith to a public debate on this very interesting topic...virtual glove slap across the face.   :-)

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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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