My Fear for the embrace of SOA and Cloud Computing

Last week I participated in an interesting panel topic titled the "Mutual embrace of SOA and cloud computing builds into productivity waltz across the IT landscape".

As an EA and SOA practitioner for many years now, the mutual benefits that Cloud Computing and SOA bring seem obvious at first glance. In my eyes, it is a 2+2=5 equation. On their own each offer benefits, but bring them together and the sum is greater than their parts.

My fear is that enterprises will assume these additional benefits will come without effort, and by deploying SOA applications in the Cloud, everything will be hunky-dory. There requires a level of SOA maturity before an enterprise will be able to take full advantage of the benefits that Cloud Computing and SOA has to offer. Another fear I have is the slow creep of laziness or unprofessionalism that might creep into an architect's and developer's day-to-day job. Let me explain...

Back in the day when I learned system development on a DEC PDP-11 RSTS/E (Showing my age now), I was always told to use resources sparingly. Design systems that were efficient and aware of the limitations placed on it from the hardware/software. I remember using single character variable name such as a$ and a1$.

When I finally got a full-time developers role within an investment bank in the City of London I was exposed to a new toy known as the DEC VAX 11/780. Wow, it was shiny, fast, and had 32bit of addressable memory space. Resources seemed limitless and overtime my variable names started to change from a$ to AccountNumberForOptionsTrading$, I started to not give much thought on whether my design was optimal. Why should I care, I had a VAX 11/780, it would devour anything I would throw at it.

Therefore, I am hoping that with all the limitless access to resources that Cloud Computing seems to offer, that architects and developers do not make the same mistake I made and start to give architecture and design short thrift.

Comments:

Unfortunately I believe that your fears are well founded Steve. Many of the Cloud pricing models are based on a set price for a transaction, thereby negating any relationship between the resources used per transaction and cost. I found when at a large UK retail bank that the developers let loose on the shiny new distributed environment (Wintel) would write really poor resource-hungry code. This was unlike their predecessors who were programming on the mainframe who had a healthy respect for the cost (resource and $) of each transaction. I too fear that further removing the developer from understanding this resource cost can only lead to more poorly-performing and resource-intensive code.

Posted by Andy Bolton on March 09, 2010 at 01:16 AM PST #

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