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Any computer system, whether centralized or distributed, needs governance. This can take the form of monitoring and systems management, and may be as simple as ensuring only authorized users have access to services. Or, it may be as complex as guaranteeing high levels of availability or reliability.



As distributed systems have grown in scope and scalability, spanning multiple organizations with different infrastructures and trust boundaries, governance has becomes even more difficult -- and even more important.

Successful governance requires some form of management, monitoring and administration. SOA governance is the discipline of creating policies that can be communicated between interested parties as well as enforced, and has aspects within the design-time and run-time areas of service development and deployment.

Therefore, in order to govern a SOA infrastructure such as an ESB, there needs to be a framework in place that allows policies and Service Level Agreements (SLAs) to be defined, enforced and audited across multiple security and identity domains. Such a framework must be able to define policies for individual services and then either enforce them or provide means by which they can be managed and enforced by some other component within SOA.

However, just as SOA is not simply a technology, governance is not something that has to be implemented by software. Of course it can help, but it's neither necessary nor sufficient to gain successful governance of your SOA deployments. In fact, there are certain metrics associated with SOA governance that software would find difficult or impossible to measure.

So what sorts of metrics should we be interested in monitoring? There are the usual candidates such as response time, reliability and performance, but successful SOA is driven by business requirements, which include:

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