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ebizQ Discussion on SOA & Cloud Computing

The eBizQ site recently hosted a discussion is based on JP Morgenthal's feature article, Differing Views on SOA & Cloud Computing, and the question, which seemed to cause a bit of disagreement between the old "gray hair" and new "newbie" schools of IT, is: SOA & Cloud Computing new and unique or a continuation of the same old stuff?

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Occasionally you come across a topic like this that touches off a flood of responses from the community. There are a range of insights from a "who's who" of SOA and IT pundits on this particular topic worth looking at on the ebizQ discussion site: SOA & Cloud Computing: New & Unique or Continuation of the Same Old Stuff?

Here was my response:

The future risk of the cloud is the current risk of SOA. I agree with the above statements about the hype factor of cloud computing, however there's still one more challenge that both strategies will share -- dependency. In SOA engagements, we encouraged the importance of good architecture and governance, but often it was just too easy for companies to hook up a couple web services to a legacy system for a quick ROI.

Dependency didn't rear its ugly head in SOA until the services started to be used by multiple customers, each with their own needs, and then those services were connected with the services of business partners, and used in a variety of unintended ways. A lack of access to dependent services and systems throughout the development lifecycle created a constraint on the agility we expected from SOA.

Similarly, the true cost and complexity of using cloud-based solutions will become evident only at the point when companies rely on them for critical needs. The low cost of entry of the Cloud's easy provisioning and pay-as-you-use can end up costing more than expected once the solution reaches business volume. If I pay-per-use for a cloud-based solution, I am establishing recurring costs, and increasing dependencies in my testing, development and release of new functionality that need to be addressed. Hopefully this shared concern of dependency will encourage enterprises not to sacrifice good architecture, governance, and virtualization practices for short term ROI gains.

We see many companies getting past the hype of SOA to generate real value today by applying the approach with more discipline, and many of the same lessons will apply to cloud computing.


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