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Business Ecology Initiative & Service-Oriented Solution

Michael Poulin

Knight Rules of Ownership in Service-Oriented Ecosystem

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The key relationship in a service-oriented ecosystem is between a consumer and service. However, there may be more roles beside Consumer and Service, e.g., Service Provider, Service Owner. From a business perspective, there are Consumers, Partners, Providers and Suppliers in the SO ecosystem.

The more Business penetrates into Technology and the more Technology acts as a Business, the more business relationships affect Business Services and their interrelationships. In SO ecosystem, everyone exists in two roles simultaneously - everyone is a consumer and a service. As a service, everyone wants to win as many consumers as it can serve; as a consumer, everyone wants to be served in the best possible way. At the same time, everyone is fully independent from others (there is no "developers" who can tune consuming and providing SW to work in this or that way).

To deliver the best service and to receive the best service being independent, participants of the SO ecosystem have no other choice that to apply the rules of relationship as the following:

A Service of my Server, is not my Service
A Consumer of my Consumer, is not my Consumer
A Partner of my Partner, is not my Partner
A Supplier of my Supplier, is not my Supplier

If one ignores these rules, sooner than later it will lose its serviceability.




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Good post - but the better known name for this is the law of Demeter or the principle of least knowledge

Thank you, Arnon, though I think my post has a bit different accent. Here are the rules of the law of Demeter:

Each unit should have only limited knowledge about other units: only units "closely" related to the current unit.
Each unit should only talk to its friends; don't talk to strangers.
Only talk to your immediate friends.

In SO ecosystem any service is free to service any consumer and any consumer is free to deal with any service; there is no hierarchy in this are. Another matter is in administrative realm where ownership exists regardless the consumer-service rights.

A simple example of application of the Knight Rules is this: assume we have a consumer that engages a Service Main. The letter, to fulfill promise and realise its business functionality needs to engage another service, for example, a Service E1. Service Main is accountable to the consumer for promised functionality and results but it is not responsible for the Service E1. If Service E1 fails, Service Maine will find and engage Service E2, and so on. Service Main needs only results from the an engaged service, not the service itself.

This latter fact contradicts business practice of process-oriented organisatoin. This is why the Knight Rules are so important for SOA and SO ecosystem. Because of these rules, any Business Process may be abstracted into the business logic only, which ignores all Actions and their Providers because only results of these actions have values for the process.

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In this blog, Michael Poulin writes about business and technology ideas, concepts, methodologies and solutions leading to service-oriented enterprise, the primary instrument for obtaining business objectives in fast-changing environments.

Michael Poulin

Michael Poulin is an enterprise-level solution architect working in the financial industry in the U.K. and the United States.

He specializes in building bridges between business needs and technology capabilities with emphasis on business and technical efficiency, scalability, robustness and manageability. He writes about service orientation, application security and use of modern technologies for solving business problems. He contributes to OASIS SOA standards as an independent member and is listed in the the international "Who's Who of Information Technology" for 2001. View more


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