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There's no question that a registry and repository can play a critical role in the success of service-oriented architecture. After all, as part of a larger governance strategy, a registry and repository can be key to managing service artifacts and their lifecycles, eliminating redundancies and encouraging reuse -- the core benefits of SOA that have been touted over the years.

However, if a company with a small, centralized IT team has created a handful of services, is a full registry and repository necessary? Couldn't the information just as easily be tracked using existing tools?

Most companies already use a repository (such as a source control system) to store SDLC artifacts during design time. In many environments, metadata about these artifacts and their associated services and lifecycles is managed using existing collaborative workflow tools that are often tightly integrated with these SDLC repositories. Therefore, storage and management of both service data (repository) as well as metadata (registry) already exists in some form within many organizations. If runtime audit capabilities are additionally needed, this can also be achieved using simple log queries and archiving techniques.

Meanwhile, some architects question whether or not the learning curve associated with adopting a registry and repository is worth it in the long run. While each company building an SOA will have to decide whether or not the investment in a registry and repository will pay off, it is very important to understand that effective governance is absolutely possible without one.

Like any IT decision, it comes down to identifying the needs of the business and selecting the right tools that fit appropriately. For some companies, a registry and repository may be overload if they only need to manage a few services. For others, however, a registry and repository is the logical next step for managing and organizing a vast amount of services and their lifecycles, artifacts and various other technologies that may make their way into the SOA as it is exposed to different environments through customers, partners, or distributors.

Yet, what seems to be erroneously and inextricably linked is the notion that effective governance is not possible without a registry and repository. Of course, governance can and does complement a registry and repository. However, a governance strategy doesn't require a registry and repository to help architects enforce policies and obtain greater visibility to mitigate the risks associated with developing software that's designed to support the business goals of the SOA.

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