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SOA and Cloud Computing – How They Work Together, Part 3: Consuming Services in the Cloud


The movement towards more cloud computing as the process by which companies can design better services for their customers has continued to grow throughout the last several months. More and more IT departments are now incorporating this cloud computing environment into their SOA for a better all around system without the reliance on multiple software.

In the first two installments we learned what cloud computing brings to SOA (and vice versa), and the prerequisites for providing these services within the cloud environment. This lesson is one that expands even further into the cloud computing atmosphere by focusing on the needs when consuming services in the cloud.

In the last post, we talked about how a library is a great analogy for the cloud and SOA integration. The first part of that was the actual stocking of the books, or the providing of services. The second aspect was the actual lending out of the books, or the consumption of those services.

Architectural Prerequisites for Consuming Services Within a Cloud Computing Environment

As with providing the services to your customers, there are also several prerequisites that must be followed, and included, within your architecture. These pertain to the running and exploitation of your services. Each of these items must be continually assessed to make sure you are achieving the maximum value that you expect.

Ease of Access of Services – When it comes to working with cloud services it is important to know what you can access the service easily. Not only the IT programmer, but also those who will be benefiting from the cloud services.

A High Availability of Services – A cloud computing aspect to your SOA will not make any sense unless it is fast and have a high availability contrasted with a low cost of implementation and running. An SOA that is well run, and well managed is instrumental in making sure the cloud computing aspect is not only cheaper, but much more robust.

Discovery of Services – Whenever there is the consumption of services, there must be an easy way to discover them. A fully integrated SOA and cloud computing atmosphere follows through with easily discoverable services.

Security of Data – In both the provision of services and the consumption of them,  there must also be the enforcement of security and data privacy as key requirements for a fully stable cloud.

As you can see, the cloud and SOA need to work together in order to provide service visibility and governance. Governance is a word that came into the picture with the rapid adoption of SOA. In the world of SOA, it is divided into design-time governance (defining policies to services) and runtime governance (actually applying those policies to real-time traffic). This works the same way using services from a cloud.

Service visibility and governance will provide service discovery within a cloud and the SOA governance for managing the lifecycle of services that are available in the cloud. Cloud can take advantage of the SOA governance approach and tools without the need to create new governance overhead.

As you look at your current architecture, and your service provision, take into account that cloud computing can act as an extension to not only provide better services, but also lower consumption costs.