It's been an interesting last couple of weeks if you're focused on SOA. First, one of few remaining independent SOA management and run-time governance vendors, AmberPoint, was aquired by Oracle, acknowledging the importance of run-time in a discussion of lifecycle management and govenrance and clearly getting SOA off the management "island". This acquisition activity in parallel was joined by a flurry of insights in the blog universe about the critical nature of complete lifecycle govenrance and lifecycle management. One of the clearest statements is from Tony Baer in a Dana Gardner Briefings Direct guest blog. Tony states:
"We're surprised that AmberPoint was able to stay independent for as long as it had, because the task that it performs is simply one piece of managing the run-time. When you manage whether services are connecting, delivering the right service levels to the right consumers, ultimately you are looking at a larger problem because services do not exist on their own desert island. As we've stated again and again, it makes little sense to isolate run-time governance from IT Service Management"
I'm happy to see this dialog as I believe that attaining the best results from a major investment in an application or architecture modernization initiative, (like SOA adoption), come when IT commits to making the technical, cultural and organizational changes to align the architecture, applications and operations organizations when managing design, development, test and delivery of the business capabilities that leverage the initiative. IT needs to "mind the gap" to ensure that what is intended on the design side actually occurs in production.
Last year, I wrote a white paper on the subject of effective lifecycle govenrance as a critical success factor for Application Modernization titled Governance: The Key to Navigating the Unchartered Waters of Modern Applications. One of the key challenges I proposed for IT to overcome for effective application modernization addressed this very issue. Here's the excerpt from the paper:
"IT must be able to map the model of composite applications to what is actually deployed. The interconnected model of business processes and composite applications built up from shared services must be mapped to the reality of what is actually deployed in the network and its underlying infrastructure dependencies including virtualization and high availability. Operations needs to manage the health and availability of the complete environment from an end-user and business transaction perspective and relies on (having the insights and information to be) able to isolate potential and real problems quickly.
Operations also needs to be able to make changes with clear insight regarding dependencies and impact. Without knowing what application consumes what service and the impact of such consumption on performance, availability, and other aspects of service level, IT is at a loss to capacity plan, make changes, and provide SLA assurances to the business.
And as new composite applications get ready for deployment and use existing shared services, IT needs to have ready information from the applications teams about the performance and availability expectations to support the emerging composite application and prepare for the impact of such consumption. IT operations should participate in the information sharing that results from the lifecycle handoffs from testing/staging to deployment."
An automated lifecycle governance platform integrated with production systems of record (such as a Configuration Management Data Base (CMDB)) that can share metadata in real-time for change impact analysis from both directions (changes planned in the pre-production part of the lifecycle and changes that occur as a result of production SLA management and monitoring) is key to empower IT as they face a rapidly changing applications landscape. The time is now to mind the gap between Applications and Operations