A recent ebizQ survey showed organizations facing some formidable problems with SOA governance -- but some automated help is on the way.
SOA Software today announced Workbench, a comprehensive standalone, closed-loop SOA governance product that could simplify governance and speed service adoption and reuse.
"Governance is really about instilling consistency and accountability and encouraging desired behavior," said Ian Goldsmith, SOA Software's vice president of product marketing.
"You can't just lay down a governance solution which set all sorts of onerous requirements and makes it difficult for people to begin to leverage the tools in place. You have to make sure that you make it easy -- and that's what Workbench is all about," he added.
Goldsmith went on to detail how deploying Workbench with SOA Software's Service Manager product provides closed-loop governance.
"The alternative is distinct, separate products using a sort of 'define and hope' model of governance from a registry repository where you set up a policy and hope or pray that something's out there randomly enforcing it," he noted.
"And then the policy enforcement products, the run-time platforms end up in what I term a 'fire-ready-aim' model of policy enforcement where they simply randomly enforce things and no one really knows what it is they're enforcing," Goldsmith added.
The ebizQ governance survey also found that confidence in governance grew in direct proportion to its degree of automation.
"It's very encouraging that the survey found that correlation because it gels very nicely with what we've seen and I think it also comes back to reflecting on the idea of ease of use being critical," Goldsmith said.
Goldsmith described Workbench's automated workflows, such as having Service Manager automatically detect a service in deployment and submit that process to a workflow process in Workbench. Workbench can also marshal a new service through a series of policy compliance checks for design-time compliance through a series of approvals to insure only appropriate services are published in the organization in the first place.
A second workflow can define "what we call and active contract -- an XML document that defines the contractual relationship between a consumer and a provider," Goldsmith added. "So it specifies the policies the consumer has to the consumer has to comply with, it specifies the SLAs that will be monitored at both ends, it specifies the capabilities of the provider, it specifies the times the consumers can access it, it specifies the capacity they're allowed to access and whole bunch of things; it can even specify mediation between incompatible standards and technologies."
Goldsmith also described how Workbench can help strike a balance between controlling the proliferation of services and allowing non-developers to create services.
"For example, one of the things it allows you to do -- and this is really very innovative -- it allows a potential consumer of a service to specify their own service definition and submit that service definition to development process for execution," Goldstein noted.
"So the development side can look at these submission an see which ones they want to submit and which ones they don't and whether they want to enter into a formal contract with a consumer before they develop it," Goldstein said.
For much more on Workbench -- and SOA Software's explosive growth in the last two years -- listen to the entire podcast.