Trend Watching: SOA And The Cloud

Posted by Optimation Editor on 24 May 2011

Is SOA dead? Lately, there has been a lot of talk that SOA is dead.

SOA is definitely not dead – but it can be expensive to implement and it has not been adapted as widely as perhaps some commentators have predicted. Claims that it is are either coming from organisations that are far enough advanced in their SOA implementation that it is therefore well integrated in the business, or those organisations that have failed in their adoption and in the best case are only seeing some minor benefits for what may have been a high cost.

SOA investments will grow by 25% worldwide by 2013, says IDC. IDC believes this increased growth will largely come from Cloud computing.

Over the next few years many businesses will be faced with the challenges of replacing existing services with Cloud services and integrating those with existing internal services and other cloud services. A sound SOA architecture can help to ease those challenges and enable the business to gain market advantage.

The operative words are ‘sound SOA architecture’. Today, SOA is mature both from a technology and governance perspective with well established best practices and a wealth of literature. Yet, there are still organisations that ignore this knowledge and experience and end up with SOA spaghetti, higher costs and a low return on investment. These are typically organisations that haven’t bought into some fundamental SOA concepts.

SOA is a long term investment and requires organisational and business process changes to deliver open standard enterprise services. These are built on adaptable components that can participate in BPM processes all of which are crucial for a well constructed service oriented architecture. BPM is a core element of SOA strategy and a sound SOA strategy forms the basis for BPM strategies.

Cloud computing in simple terms is just another sourcing option for selecting and replacing existing systems and to enable BPM processes to be developed that utilise new Cloud based services. Thus, there is a strong link between SOA and cloud computing.

Going Forward

Today, organisations could be seen to fall into the following categories when it comes to SOA and Cloud computing:

A – Have sound SOA architecture and is well prepared for Cloud adoption, or has already embraced Cloud computing.
B – Have adopted SOA but have not gained the promised benefits from the investments. Planning to invest or has already invested in Cloud computing.
C – No SOA platform but are planning to embrace Cloud computing.
D – No SOA platform and have no Cloud computing plans.

Organisation from category B and C are those that will largely contribute to the 25% growth over the next 2 years. Category C type organizations have the opportunity to deliver a business case that is focused on real business benefits in terms of (Cloud) Services. SOA forms an enabling architectural technology to achieve the objectives. In this scenario SOA is part of something bigger than just SOA – it provides real tangible business benefits and cost models. i.e. SOA by itself is not the main objective. It’s the Services delivered on the (SOA) architecture that define the value. These services support the business, including:

- Bringing new services to the internet (C2B, B2B),
- Integrating internal enterprise services (often participating in a BPM process),
- Migrating services from one source to another (cloud) source.

Category B organisations have the opportunity to re-define their original business case.

In The Local New Zealand Market

The IDC numbers are mainly a reflection of the future trends in the US and European markets.
How will the IDC numbers translate into the NZ market?
Today, we find that SOA has been adopted by many larger organizations in NZ and to a lesser extent across SME organizations. Cloud services (will) offer great benefits to SMEs.
Perhaps Cloud computing be the trigger point that increases the growth of SOA across the NZ SME organisations?

Footnote

Optimation has many years’ of SOA (and BPM) experience with a team of architects, developers and test engineers that are involved with SOA on a daily basis. We are excited about the potential uptake of investments into the NZ SOA space. In particular those in conjunction with Cloud computing that are backed by a business case with real tangible value.