SOA paves the way for cloud
Many enterprises embrace cloud computing without giving a thought to the challenges associated with the use of IT resources in disparate environments. For them, cloud computing is all about accessing IT resources in a cost-effective and time-efficient way. It is true that cloud computing can be pursued without SOA, but it is also true that these attempts often fail to deliver the real business value of cloud computing. In fact, such attempts only increase the risk and cost of migration to the cloud.
In a recent Analyst Insight report: “SOA: A Key Element for Cloud Success”, Ovum specifies the benefits of SOA-based cloud implementations and recommends that IT management must understand the SOA-cloud connection and exploit the synergies to derive benefits that are far greater than the individual business values of SOA and cloud computing.
SOA is a solution to complex integration issues created by cloud computing
The rapid rise of cloud computing, and in particular of SaaS, is adding to the existing heterogeneity of enterprise application portfolios. Many organizations are realizing that cloud computing can lead to more information silos and greater integration complexity. Ovum believes that the most prominent driver of SOA adoption is its capability to meet complex integration requirements, including on-premise-to-cloud integrations and B2B integrations that involve multi-enterprise process automations (see Ovum’s Analyst Insight: “Realizing the True Business Value of SOA” for more details).
Organizations need to get rid of silos because these are the primary roadblocks to enterprise-wide adoption of any architectural approach. A point-to-point approach is of value in a limited number of cases, and more often than not a more extensible and scalable approach is required to achieve seamless integration both within and outside the boundaries of the enterprise. SOA helps in integration of disparate applications and services, and provides the necessary security and governance paradigm for the efficient, repeatable, and secure usage of cloud services.
B2B integrations have become more complex as business partners use disparate applications, technologies, and business processes that are difficult to represent in a single view. SOA enables organizations to seamlessly integrate third-party services into their core business processes, and reduces the time and cost of integration with external businesses. SOA therefore offers the unique proposition of supporting development of cross-enterprise composite applications (catering to heterogeneous partner requirements) in a time-efficient way.
SOA governance provides the foundation for cloud governance
Organizations want an architectural approach that is capable of supporting a wide range of sourcing models and business needs. Governance is the critical link between business and IT needs and is important from the perspective of ensuring efficient utilization of operational budgets. Cloud computing has definitely added to the complexity of IT governance. To a greater extent, SOA governance is capable of meeting increasingly complex governance needs.
SOA governance provides the policy framework for the optimal usage of cloud services, and ensures proper security in interactions between on-premise and cloud-based IT resources, including disparate applications, platforms, and infrastructure. SOA governance is also important from the perspective of building appropriate governance control points into the cloud provisioning process.
Ovum believes that rapid proliferation of cloud computing will drive convergence of SOA and cloud paradigms. In the near term, SOA governance vendors will add functionality to provide runtime governance across disparate environments. They will focus on enabling more stringent policy enforcement and monitoring to cover a wide range of cloud governance needs.
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