A busy day in the rapidly converging SOA and Cloud worlds. Oracle talks about plans for the cloud, retracting from the skepticism expressed some months back. Intuit announces a PaaS platform. Another SOA infrastructure vendor dabbles with SOA on the cloud - striking dichotomy here. On one hand we are still trying to figure out how exactly to make SOA projects successful. And on the other, we are talking about SOA in the Cloud and PaaS platforms for SOA. Even so, I find it a natural progression.
PaaS, and therefrom the SOA impact, follows the success of SaaS. Which itself was the best thing to happen to ISVs in recent times. A combination of emerging application models, web based software UI approaches, new cloud platforms, and a very wide acceptance of externally hosted software solutions - less of technology and more of mindset. Now it is only a logical extension of the SaaS paradigm that now one will expect to build custom solutions on the web (PaaS). Or host solutions directly on the web based infrastructure (Cloud). And the moment there are applications, SOA cannot be far behind. The nature of the cloud beast is also such that the significance of SOA and distributed management/governance becomes even more critical given the rather loosely coupled and a less-controlled computing environment.
So while enterprises may be OK with having solutions hosted externally on the web/cloud, they may still want the integrated enterprise where these external solutions are seamlessly available in the enterprise integration platform (SOA) and also in the enterprise distributed management and governance platform. We can probably extend these to bring the external apps into the prevailing GRC and BAM framework in the enterprise, so it is only natural that SOA becomes a first class consideration when SaaS/PaaS/Cloud are in the picture.
Not far will be the support for SOA as a primary attribute of cloud platforms. Right off the bat one will have the ability to build and host applications over the web, with the default web based UI models and a very integration ready platform - both for consuming/orchestrating services over the web, and also to expose new services (off this application) over the web.
Now... taking this a bit further, one could look at explicit platforms just FOR integration and SOA! Even now there are BPM vendors like Cordys that are providing a web based orchestration platforms (PaaS). These can easily be extended to offer a complete services and integration-application platform on the cloud. Only, we need to figure out the use cases where one needs integration off the cloud. Needing SOA as a Service (SOAaaS).
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