Thursday Oct 04, 2007

SOA Visibility: Keeping the Wheels On

The first installment in the SOA Governance@Work series

SOA governance is a big deal, truly important stuff. It covers lots of territory and involves lots of people taking lots of aspirin. Get it right, and your SOA initiative has a far greater chance of success. Get it wrong, and it won't be very long before Moose and Knuckles from building security help you move your stuff to your new office on the sidewalk near the bus stop.

But SOA governance isn't a monolithic issue. Like SOA itself, SOA governance is all about the dynamic interaction of many interconnected pieces -- people, processes, technologies, and more. So rather than trying to digest SOA governance as a single ginormous  concept, it's a lot easier on the gray matter to break it down into easily digestible chunks. That's what the SOA Governance @ Work series is all about.

The first chunk on the menu is the visibility and traceability of SOA software assets.

Start Your Engines

SOA is to a service what a racetrack is to a sports car. On a race track, various policies, standards, and controls are put in place to insure, for instance, that you don't have farm tractors racing against Formula One cars, and that all the cars speeding around the track are moving in the same direction. SOA governance performs a similar function, ensuring that there are no collisions between services, and that the services don't do anything that might anger your customers, your boss, lawyers, or representatives of government agencies.

SOA governance, at its most basic, requires holistic awareness of contents of the SOA software asset portfolio  -- the catalog of parts from which the SOA will be built.  Those parts can be anything: business processes, components, frameworks, services -- literally anything relevant to the design, development, and use of services and the applications that will consume them.  Without that awareness, without visibility into and traceability of when where, how, and by whom those parts are created and used, there is no SOA governance, and your race track will inevitably become very messy and expensive a parking lot.

Why is this visibility important? Consider this short video...

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