The path to good cloud architecture uses SOA
What does SOA bring to cloud computing? Most of those who design cloud architecture and build cloud-based systems don’t understand the answer to that question. However, certain patterns are emerging that prove SOA is a best practice to define good cloud architecture…even though it may not be called SOA.
Many enterprises are just tossing things out of the enterprise onto public and private clouds and hoping for the best. Making things worse, many of the larger enterprise’s clients do not see the forest through the trees, or, in this case, the architecture through the clouds. So, you have both parties taking a reactive versus a proactive approach to the cloud.
Every enterprise should have a good architectural context to support the use of cloud computing. Or, the ability to create an overall strategic plan and architectural framework, and then look at how cloud computing fits into this framework now, and into the future. Typically that means leveraging SOA approaches and patterns.
The value of cloud computing is the ability to identify services, data, and processes that can exist outside of the firewall in SEDC (somebody else’s datacenter). Those who attempt to toss things to the clouds without some architectural forethought will find that cloud computing won’t provide the value. Indeed, it could knock you back a few steps, when considering the risks and cost of migration.
Some core patterns of success with cloud computing will emerge over the forthcoming years. Those who leverage cloud computing within the context of an architecture will succeed, while those who just toss things into the clouds will fail. SOA provides a great deal of value to computing, and the other way around.
Indeed, one can consider cloud computing the extension of SOA out to cloud-delivered resources, such as storage-as-a-service, backup-as-a-service, data-as-a-service, platform-as-a-service —you get the idea. The trick is to determine which services, information, and processes are good candidates to reside in the clouds, as well as which cloud services should be abstracted within the existing or emerging SOA.
I believe that the interest in cloud computing is also driving an interest in SOA, based upon what I see happening within enterprises. SOA is a mechanism to drive more reuse and agility, and it offers the ability to figure out what should stay local and what should find a place in the clouds. So, what does SOA bring to cloud computing? Good SOA leads to a good cloud architecture, which leads to reduced costs, enhanced agility, and more excitement around enterprise computing than we’ve seen in awhile.
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