Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Why SOA Governance?

Rajiv Ramachandran, Practice Director, Enterprise Integration / Solution Architect

One of the buzzwords that followed the introduction of SOA was “Governance”. It was interesting to see how every aspect of a new project initiative now began to be tagged with this word. All of a sudden there were - project governance, architectural governance, infrastructure governance and so on. The real essence of what “SOA Governance” was or why “Governance” was important in the context of an SOA was lost.

I am not denying that governance is essential in every aspect of business and IT. But what I want to focus on this blog is about SOA Governance.

Services have been there all along in the technology space but the advancement in SOA and its adoption started when both customers and vendors came together to define a standard way to describe a service. It then became possible to implement this description in a programming language of choice, be able to deploy the service across diverse platforms and still be able to communicate across platform and language boundaries. With this form an SOA revolution, reusing services became much easier and with reuse came a unique set of challenges.

My business depends on service that I

  • Did not write,
  • Do not own,
  • Cannot control who will make changes to it and when,
  • Don’t know whether it will provide me with the qualities of service that I desire
And if do get to own the service, now I had to pay to get the service built and others get it for free.

What a SOA Governance model does, is bring uniformity and maturity in defining Service Ownership, Service Lifecycle, Service Identification & Definition, Service Funding, Service Publication & Sharing, Service Level Agreement etc. and thus provide a solution to otherwise what would have become a Service Oriented Chaos.

So next time when you talk about SOA Governance think about some of the above defined areas that pertain to an SOA and how you can align – Process, People and Products to achieve an SOA Governance solution that ensures that your SOA provides real business value

In the next set of blog entries I will focus on how IBM WebSphere Registry & Repository product helps with SOA Governance.

Rajiv Ramachandran first joined Prolifics as a Consultant, and is currently the Practice Director for Enterprise Integration. He has 11 years experience in the IT field — 3 of those years at IBM working as a developer at its Object Technology Group and its Component Technology Competency Center in Bangalore. He was then an Architect implementing IBM WebSphere Solutions at Fireman’s Fund Insurance. Currently, he specializes in SOA and IBM’s SOA-related technologies and products. An author at the IBM developerWorks community, Rajiv has been a presenter at IMPACT and IBM's WebSphere Services Technical Conference.