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Untitled Document Over the past few columns I've spent some time discussing SOA governance-why it's important, how organizations should approach it, and how policies, processes, metrics and culture work together to create (hopefully!) an effective SOA and SOA governance strategy.

In this column, I wanted to take a closer look at the last part of the SOA governance process-automation. Like many other parts of the IT infrastructure and software development lifecycle, the more you can automate your SOA governance, the more effective and efficient it will be. It will be easier to enforce, easier to use and will provide greater payback than a non-automated process.

This is important, because doing SOA right requires a strong governance program. People need to know what the right way to do SOA-related activities, and they need ways to ensure that they're doing them correctly. This is especially important with SOA because SOA infrastructures are so diverse-there are so many different incentives driving the different producers and consumers of individual services that you can't simply rely on people's (or the organization's) best interests. Instead, a good governance program should be automatic and painless.

That brings us to automated governance. With the right types of automation, the right way will be the easiest path.

Let's take a look at a few examples of where you can automate SOA governance. One place to start might be with the configuration of new services for security and management. Another place might be automatic compliance checking to verify whether a new or modified service meets specific compliance requirements. The propagation of policies can also be automated, as can the automatic detection of dependencies and the relationships among the different services and systems in your SOA environment. These are just a few examples of the many different ways that organizations can automate SOA governance.

Luckily, a number of vendors are providing support for automating SOA governance tasks and building automatic SOA governance capabilities into your SOA environment.

For example, Amberpoint provides an SOA Management System that enables policy-based management of an organization's service network. It enables organizations to automate a wide range of governance-related SOA activities, such as identifying rogue policies or services that might compromise your SOA integrity, managing outdated versions of services or discovering and verifying all deployed services. It can also automatically enforce policies and ensure that a service's design time intent matches its run-time reality. In addition, Amberpoint's complementary SOA Validation System can be used by developers and operations people to validate services and other SOA components.


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