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Business Transformation in Action

Joe McKendrick

Gartner's Frank Kenney: Let's Federate SOA Governance

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Kicking off ebizQ's latest SOA Governance conference, Gartner analyst Frank Kenney called for better cohesion between SOA governance systems, repeating his mantra that "runtime and design time don’t mean anything when it comes to SOA, its not 'runtime' or 'design time,' its 'all the time.'"

(Archived presentation available here. Transcript available here.)

Too many enterprises and vendors attempt to separate governance into the two separate lifecycle stages, when it all should be treated as one ongoing effort, he said in his keynote address, accompanied by Miko Matsumura, deputy CTO for Software AG. In addition, Kenney says, SOA governance systems need to integrate with not only each other, but also with other types of systems across the enterprise. Unfortunately, this ability to integrate does not exist yet, he says.

Federated governance is the next wave on the horizon for both enterprises and vendors, he says. "Many times I get asked, what should the registry/repository of record? Should it be this registry/repository for SOA? Or should it be my CMDB?" Both of these approaches are valid, he says, since there are various ways to capture and maintain information on services and applications. "We need to have federation, but that federation needs to be contextual; that federation needs to be optimized for the viewer. It needs to have context."

However, it's now difficult to federate the various repositories that exist across enterprises, so there's a lot of work to be done in this area. "Sadly, that’s one thing that seems to be missing from SOA governance today," Kenney pointed out. "The most we can do, absent of standards, is a single replicate or synchronization. In some cases, that’s going to be good enough."

Good enough may not be enough when it comes to governing services across domains, however. "In cases such as B-to-B instances, where I’m reaching outside my firewall, and I have to do business with a business partner, and I cant always, or I cant always sync, it will become hard," he said.

Expect to see activity pick up in this area from vendors and analysts, he adds. "We believe that within the next 24 months, you’re going to hear a lot about this issue of federation, a lot about the issues of governance interoperability so that things can be federated."

"We need to move towards a delegated system, where we can have one registry interacting with another registry on behalf of another and another and another," Kenney said. "This is where standards are going to get us. Sadly again, they don’t really exist today."

Archived presentation available here.


In this blog (formerly known as "SOA in Action"), Joe McKendrick examines how BPM and related business and IT approaches can promote business transformation.

Joe McKendrick

Joe McKendrick is an author and independent analyst who tracks the impact of information technology on management and markets. View more


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