The Characteristics of Service Orientation in Cloud Computing - dummies

The Characteristics of Service Orientation in Cloud Computing

By Judith Hurwitz, Marcia Kaufman, Fern Halper, Daniel Kirsch

Modularity, reusability, and flexibility are among the key characteristics of service orientation in cloud computing. Service orientation is a way to modularize key business services and to establish well-defined interfaces designed to ensure that these services work in many different situations.

The responsibility for quality becomes increasingly important in hybrid cloud environments. The provider of cloud services shoulders much of the responsibility for oversight because the consumer of a cloud service sees only the end result. The consumer of a cloud service needs to operate under the assumption that the business service will work as intended.

In a business service that is reused 500 times, a single error in your applications quickly becomes 500 errors or more. By adding a greater level of control and management to IT, you will be able to improve the security and governance of your business processes. To avoid this type of problem, make sure that a service is well tested before deploying it throughout your organization.


Organizations need to begin their move to service orientation by rethinking the large, complex, and unmanageable applications of the past. The route to modularity begins with the following:

  • Identifying the components of business applications

  • Configuring reusable services to meet business demands


Knowing which services are best suited for reuse depends on how you classify the service. Basically, the components of an application can be classified in one of two ways:

  • Reusable: These services are common to various business processes important to the organization. You need to encapsulate the rules and logic of a common business process to create a reusable business service. A service designed to check a customer’s credit is an example of a service that can easily be reused in lots of different situations.

  • Application-specific: These services are unique to a particular business process and include logic or instructions that are likely to be used in the specific context of the application at hand. Such services are not likely to be reused.

Using a tested and proven component speeds development, enables a higher level of security and trust, and saves money.


The flexibility derived from service orientation is a function of the modularity and reuse of business services. The efficiency, manageability, and flexibility of service-oriented IT environments don’t happen by magic. A fair amount of oversight on the part of the IT team to maintain the desired flexibility is needed over the long run.

Here are some of the responsibilities required to make sure savings and benefits of service orientation are achieved:

  • Maintain a catalog of business services to make it easy for developers to identify which services are tested and approved and should be reused. The more these services are used in different applications, the lower the cost of using them. However, it’s important to remember that the benefit of reusable services is much more than just the savings from reusing the same software code.

  • Make service management a top priority by building in a way to identify root causes of problems early in the development process and by continuously monitoring and fixing sources of errors.

  • Seek continuous improvement with ongoing measurement of performance and accuracy of business services.