SOA Industry Usage
First time usage of SOA tends to highlight the need for semantic interoperability. While SOA provides framework for integration of cross Business operations with information flow in real time, there is also a major semantic interoperability conflict that is not being addressed directly by the SOA. Thus, the usage of information repositories has been the inevitable result.
It must be said that the vast majority of implementers of SOA are still in the first, wrapping stage. It would be great if we were in a period when legacy applications have been integrated. It is hoped that within the next couple of years, applications will be able to communicate with web services in a native fashion, and will also be able to deliver industry specific functionality in a native fashion. Such a new breed of services would be very different from the monoliths that are typically used in today’s Business environment. Granular Business functions will be delivered that fits perfectly into the fabric of SOA standards in a way that can be orchestrated by Business-oriented individuals as a means of delivering enterprise wide agility.
Will such a standards fabric resemble?
It will have to cover five separate areas:
- The services bus,
- The registry or repository,
- Event handling,
- Policy, and
The standards will be expected to address the semantic level, in addition to the syntax and the protocol.
The Service Bus
Services bus is like basic communications channel that allows services to be inter-connected within SOA. While service bus may resemble one gigantic thing that everything else is expected to plug into, it is a lot more complex than that. An enterprise services bus breaks down into a variety of different components. The contemporary trend is to transform these components into plug and play, with an interoperability that spans numerous vendors. This is what customers are looking for – interoperability via standards.
Registry can be viewed as a control center in which descriptions of services are stored that enables run time discovery. In modern day usage, its contents tend to be rather primitive. Most Businesses simply want to define what a particular service is, as well as how to describe it and organize it. But when a Business moves to SOA, different relationships become exposed, such as that between the consumer and the producer, the schemas and the service, and between the services and Business process. The enterprise has to manage all these relationships – if it does not, then it will be unable to cope with any changes that take place. A registry thus helps to define such services. It does not, however, describe relationships. It is for this reason that a lot of people believe enterprises need to undergo a transition to repositories, which are able to store a wider range of semantic data, or to the Semantic Web.
Event handling middleware enables the outside world to connect with the infrastructure of the service. It provides real time response and input. Such a connection can be developed via an event driven architecture that interfaces to sensors and telemetry while providing aggregation, correlation, filtering, as well as complex event processing. EDA is sometimes viewed as a competitor to SOA, but in actuality the two compliment one another. It is predicted that in the future, event processing will play a bigger role – if today is the era of services, then an era of events is soon to follow.
If a Business is going to adapt its IT infrastructure via service orchestration, it would require data about what the infrastructure is doing and how it performs. Instrumentation provides this feature. This is one of the great benefits of SOA. It provides the capability of management dashboards. At the semantic level, standardization is required in order to enable the design of generic dashboards that will instrument both infrastructure and Business oriented services.
Policies can be thought of as the means by which design time decisions about such facets as service levels and security may be enforced in a run time environment. For the agility of an enterprise, a policy’s definition must be kept separate from its implementation, so that the user is not required to understand the underlying technology. Standard policy formats must be developed, with composite policies to be enforced and interpreted by intermediaries in the management. The main issue at stake for this future task is how management policies will be enabled for multi product and multi vendor type implementations.
The Key to SOA Functionality
SOA must be standardized in following arenas in order to fulfill its promises – services bus, event handling, policy, repository, and instrumentation. The fact remains that a single vendor environment is just not healthy. Standards must emerge to serve as the equalizer. But standards on their own will not be enough. They must then be used in order to meet the goals of a Business. The Business architecture is the fundamental architecture in any SOA situation. It provides the services and the means to codify Business processes as services.
In other words, the architecture of the future will not be up to standards of good technology. Rather, it will be wholly contingent on there being good architects to provide the required services. What is required for SOA to function is a data center architect who is dedicated to overseeing computing, management, facilities, networking, and security. This type of SOA expert should be on the look out, thinking always at least ten years in advance of current trends and considering how modern day SOA will affect power requirements in the future.
Moving towards more centralized data center that utilizes service oriented architecture, virtualization, as well as other new technologies should get Businesses to start thinking more in terms of extended job definitions for its IT employees as well. One of the reasons why an increase in quality control in Businesses is required is that the overhauling of data centers can be rather hard to accomplish.
In a recent survey, it was revealed that less than half of the eighty two executives from sixty-five different Businesses felt that their data center strategies were successful. Issues like an increase in power requirements, server and storage growth, increased power needs, and floor space and availability must be struggled with on a daily basis.
Businesses are also beginning to feel more pressure to rework their data centers, as more and more of them are becoming outdated as the years go by. In the same survey mentioned above, about a third of those interviewed claimed that their data centers went up in the ‘80s and that another third were constructed in the following decade. Over half of those surveyed claimed that their Businesses have consolidated data centers in the last year.
More than half also claim that they have consolidation plans for the upcoming year. About half also claim that they have their data center construction on tap for the next eighteen months. Nearly half of the respondents in the survey claim that their data centers are being managed by a director of operations. This can be good and bad. It is good because operations leaders tend to be rather good at keeping things up and running and maintaining low overhead. At the same time, such directors usually do not take a long term view of the situation.
A storage team should be employed in order to oversee all matters related to the storage of data. As storage requirements continue to grow, more and more organizations are finding the sheer amount of data hard to deal with – especially as they begin saving such pieces of data as e-mail in case they are ever called upon to go to court.
Another vital job that will emerge as a pertinent requirement in the future is a compute manager who will be in charge of getting CPU cycles to users while also overseeing the continuance of Business. Service delivery managers are also being hired by SOA organizations as a means of ensuring that services that are enabled by virtualized data centers are able to make their way to users. Such managers define and implement service level agreements while simultaneously tracking down service delivery metrics. While a lot of organizations do not have SLAs, more and more companies are on their way towards developing them.
The establishment and maintenance of high service levels is being driven largely by IT Businesses as a means of self preservation. After all, such organizations do not want to see their jobs outsourced in the near future. Tighter links will inevitably have to be forged between data center management groups and non-IT Business teams – this includes facilities, compliance, legal, and human resources departments.
Businesses that succeed in managing their data center management strategies should be able to see a major pay off in the future. It has been indicated that such technologies as virtualization can lead to the saving of several million dollars on labor and hardware costs. Companies will thus be elevated in to a position of greater flexibility in terms of applications.