Combining Cloud Computing and Service-Oriented Architecture - dummies

Combining Cloud Computing and Service-Oriented Architecture

By Judith Hurwitz, Robin Bloor, Marcia Kaufman, Fern Halper

A cloud has some key characteristics: elasticity, self-service provisioning, standards based interfaces, and pay as you go. This type of functionality has to be engineered into the software. To accomplish this type of engineering requires that the foundation for the cloud be well designed and well architected.

What about cloud architecture makes this approach possible? The fact is that the services and structure behind the cloud should be based on a modular architectural approach. A modular, component-based architecture enables flexibility and reuse. A Service-Oriented Architecture (SOA) is what lies beneath this flexibility.

SOA is much more than a technological approach and methodology for creating IT systems. It’s also a business approach and methodology. Companies have used the principles of SOA to deepen the understanding between the business and IT and to help business adapt to change.

Cloud services benefit the business by taking the best practices and business process focus of SOA to the next level. These benefits apply to both cloud service providers and cloud service users. Cloud service providers need to architect solutions by using a service-oriented approach to deliver services with the expected levels of elasticity and scalability. Companies that architect and govern business processes with reusable service-oriented components can more easily identify which components can be successfully moved to public and private clouds.

A Service-Oriented Architecture (SOA) is a software architecture for building business applications that implement business processes or services through a set of loosely coupled, black-box components orchestrated to deliver a well-defined level of service.

This approach lets companies leverage existing assets and create new business services that are consistent, controlled, more easily changed, and more easily managed. SOA is a business approach to designing efficient IT systems that support reuse and give the businesses the flexibility to react quickly to opportunities and threats.