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SOA and Cloud Computing: How they Work Together, Part 1: The Why


While the concept has been mainstream for a couple of years now, it is still something that many businesses are trying to grapple with. One of the main determining factors for implementing a cloud computing environment is the desire to improve agility while cutting IT expenses. Business leaders have been interested in the discussion about how a company moving to a cloud environment can improve growth and profitability plus control cost, while better managing risk and compliance.

Cloud computing opens up many doors within a company and outside a company through private and public use. Through the use of a cloud architecture, systems can provide advantages in self-service, scalability, flexibility, pay-as-you-go, and improved time-to-value.

This move to a cloud based computing for both private testing and public use requires a set architecture that will enable the system to function. Many people today agree that this move to a cloud orientation requires a service oriented architecture to provide the infrastructure needed.

SOA and cloud based systems work together as they both need each other in order to function. This is to say that cloud computing is the deployment mechanism while SOA is the underlying architecture that enables the cloud to work within the system. SOA provides the foundational support to allow both user front-end applications and enterprise back-end servers to be integrated into cloud services. With SOA already in place, taking advantage of cloud computing will be easier, faster and more secure.

What does SOA provide for easily transitioning into a cloud computing environment?

Cloud computing is easily defined to be a consumption and delivery model which has been brought into existence through demand of consumer Internet services. Cloud capabilities are defined as services. And this explains SOA must be an integral part of the process and experience.

One of the common misconceptions of IT and businesses is that SOA and cloud computing are simply the same and each one can replace the other. However, a more detailed look into the two systems reveals that they are actually complementary. Each supplies unique capability and functionality, and the two work together to provide an enterprise agility solution.

SOA is an architectural approach that creates services that are then shared and reused among the system itself. It converts current vertical applications into a number of components called services that can be reused across multiple applications. Through this type of architectural development SOA provides improved agility to make changes faster and more cost effectively. On the other hand, cloud computing is about creating an environment where ease of access to and usage of services is the main goal.

Cloud computing employs repeatability and standardized, easy access to shared hardware and software at low cost. Together SOA and cloud can provide a complete services-based solution.

The discussion is no longer which one to employ for better service representation and employment, but how to design a system where the two thrive within your operational structure.