Welcome!

Mobile IoT Authors: Yeshim Deniz, Zakia Bouachraoui, Dana Gardner, Elizabeth White, Liz McMillan

Related Topics: Microservices Expo

Microservices Expo: Article

SOA Governance Best Practices – Architectural, Organizational, and SDLC Implications

Taking the management of services to the next level

The fact that you're reading this article means that you are probably planning a service-oriented architecture (SOA) initiative and recognize that some level of governance is required in order to be successful. If you are like most people in this position, you are also somewhat confused as to the meaning of SOA governance. Governance is the current buzzword, and combining governance with SOA creates a phrase that every independent software vendor (ISV) wants a piece of. How do you sort out what is marketing hype from what is truly valuable and relevant to your organization's SOA efforts?

Governance Scope Within an IT Organization
Much of the hype around SOA governance has been focused on operational governance. Defining, tracking, and managing factors like service-level agreements (e.g., average response time, peak response time, average throughput, peak throughput) and authorization policies (e.g., users from organization A are allowed to invoke this service while users from organization B aren't) are clearly important once the pieces of an SOA get up and running within an organization's IT infrastructure.

However, while operational governance and management is necessary for a successful SOA initiative, it is not sufficient. For an organization to effectively define and implement an SOA (and not simply implement a series of point-to-point services masquerading as an SOA, but in fact creating another layer of technology spaghetti), it must extend SOA governance back to the development and architectural perspectives. To be successful with SOA, you must find a way to bind these perspectives together as seamlessly as possible to enable effective information flow in both directions: from architecture to development to operations, and vice versa. Let's investigate each of these governance perspectives in turn.

Architectural Governance
Architectural governance at the enterprise architecture (EA) level involves three key elements: 1) making core decisions about business or technological functionality within the enterprise, 2) sufficiently documenting those decisions so that downstream consumers (the teams responsible for developing and deploying services and applications) can quickly understand and make effective use of those decisions, and 3) reviewing the project-specific application of those decisions. In order for an EA team to execute these tasks, it must have at its disposal an effective way to disseminate the knowledge assets it produces, to track and understand which knowledge assets are being applied to specific projects, and to document the review of those project-specific decisions.

Design-Time (Development) Governance
In many ways, Software Development Life Cycle (SDLC) governance within an SOA initiative is a reflection of decisions made at the EA level. Decisions about the scope and granularity of business services to be implemented and the technical approach to be used in implementing those services must be applied to specific service production or consumption (i.e., application development) projects. However, SDLC governance extends beyond appropriate application of EA guidance to the actual analysis, design, implementation, and testing of the resulting services and/or applications required by the IT project at hand. With respect to service production, SDLC governance involves the progressive "hardening" of the service as it progresses through its requirements definition, design, implementation/unit test, and integration/system test phases to eventual deployment in the operational environment. When applied to service consumption, governance may involve both internal project-specific reviews (e.g., have the appropriate services been selected, have requirements for new services been identified) and external reviews from the perspective of service providers (e.g., does the use of this service within this application conform to enterprise-specific or government-mandated privacy rules, does the service implementation contain open source components and if so, are the components used in a manner such that enterprise-specific intellectual property is not compromised).

Operational Governance/Management
Operational governance/management within an SOA involves applying appropriate business and technical policies (e.g., which groups and users are allowed to invoke a particular service, what are the minimum throughput and response time expectations required of a service) to deployed services. Business policies are often implemented within an SOA by an Enterprise Service Bus or SOA Fabric integrated with the enterprise's authentication and authorization infrastructure, while technical policies are typically monitored by a services management platform. The cumulative set of governed technical policies is often referred to as a service-level agreement (SLA). Examples of SLA-level technical governance elements within an SOA are:

  • Average throughput
  • Peak throughput
  • Type and description of committed SLA
  • Availability
  • Consuming service clients
  • Hardware and software configuration
  • Fault history
  • Alert thresholds
Political/Organizational Aspects of SOA Governance
How do we map these governance disciplines into an organization's structure and roles? Because of the loosely coupled nature of SOA, SOA governance is a new discipline that has implications for existing corporate and IT institutions as well as for new organizational structures and processes (and the politics associated with those structures and processes). Proper focus on what governance is, how it can be achieved, and its implementation can help make governance a valuable and necessary function to support your SOA migration.

SOA governance has an impact on current IT governance processes. Some of these processes include the budgeting and project approval process, portfolio management activities, and ongoing oversight of projects to assure budgetary compliance. Applying governance to SOA activities is critical because there may have to be changes to the normal IT governance processes for budgeting and portfolio management.

Think about the budgeting process of your organization. That budgeting process has a tremendous impact on the behavior of various organizations and their IT representatives. If there is no budgetary control of projects to influence them to adopt SOA and reusable services as their fundamental design concepts, then projects will go their own way as driven by the requirements of that particular business unit or project. The same goes for the portfolio management process. If there is no mechanism to surface SOA and reuse opportunities for all projects and then apply budgetary pressure to converge them toward an SOA, then they will similarly go their own way. SOA governance, budgeting, and portfolio management are ways to influence behavior of business units, as well as the IT and business personnel within them, to more aggressively support SOA and reuse.

Enterprise architecture processes may undergo similar changes given the advent of an SOA initiative in an organization. Often the architecture process and organization will have to be restructured to accommodate the requirements of an SOA initiative because the skills, roles, and functions of an EA team are not completely appropriate for an SOA initiative. Think about the process of architecture as two tiers of activities: one tier is the architecture strategy and goals, followed by the definition of the elements, standards, and organization of architecture to accomplish those goals. The second tier is the application of architecture to funded projects, the acquisition or implementation of various technologies and standards, and the enforcement of compliance to the enterprise architecture goals (see Figure 1).

These are two related yet distinct processes, and often they are not as interdependent as CIOs would like. Think about the cases where there is a chief architect or central architecture group at corporate headquarters, and then also present are the solution architects assigned to projects. They actually build systems and implement technologies and standards. Who has the most direct bearing on the architecture that ultimately is implemented in a given organization? Naturally it is the person assigned to the budgeted project that was sponsored by a specific business unit that ultimately funded the project. The behavior associated with enterprise architecture is similarly related to the organization and processes used to achieve the goals of SOA, architecture compliance, portfolio management, and budgetary compliance.

More Stories By Brent Carlson

Brent Carlson is vice president of technology and cofounder of LogicLibrary, a provider of software development asset (SDA) management tools. He is the coauthor of two books: San Francisco Design Patterns: Blueprints for Business Software (with James Carey and Tim Graser) and Framework Process Patterns: Lessons Learned Developing Application Frameworks (with James Carey). He also holds 16 software patents, with eight more currently under evaluation.

More Stories By Eric Marks

Eric Marks is founder, president, and CEO of AgilePath Corporation, a service-oriented architecture (SOA) and Web services consulting firm based in Newburyport, MA. Marks is a software and technology veteran with 18 years of experience with firms including PricewaterhouseCoopers, Cambridge Technology Partners, Novell, Electronic Data Systems, StreamServe, Ontos, and Square D/Schneider Electric.

Comments (2) View Comments

Share your thoughts on this story.

Add your comment
You must be signed in to add a comment. Sign-in | Register

In accordance with our Comment Policy, we encourage comments that are on topic, relevant and to-the-point. We will remove comments that include profanity, personal attacks, racial slurs, threats of violence, or other inappropriate material that violates our Terms and Conditions, and will block users who make repeated violations. We ask all readers to expect diversity of opinion and to treat one another with dignity and respect.


Most Recent Comments
robertmorschel 10/10/12 03:57:00 AM EDT

In my experience SOA needs to begin with a single, skilled team that can define evolving standards and processes in an agile manner, before being let loose on the enterprise; and even then, only if the enterprise has an established and effective centralised governance function that would be able to enforce SOA policies across multiple teams.

Robert

Gary Smith - SOA Network Architect 02/22/06 11:51:19 AM EST

Excellent. This puts governance into perspective.
All the hype around SOA appliances and governance shouldn't have you running out and putting these devices on your network until you understand what governance is all about.

GES

IoT & Smart Cities Stories
With 10 simultaneous tracks, keynotes, general sessions and targeted breakout classes, @CloudEXPO and DXWorldEXPO are two of the most important technology events of the year. Since its launch over eight years ago, @CloudEXPO and DXWorldEXPO have presented a rock star faculty as well as showcased hundreds of sponsors and exhibitors! In this blog post, we provide 7 tips on how, as part of our world-class faculty, you can deliver one of the most popular sessions at our events. But before reading...
René Bostic is the Technical VP of the IBM Cloud Unit in North America. Enjoying her career with IBM during the modern millennial technological era, she is an expert in cloud computing, DevOps and emerging cloud technologies such as Blockchain. Her strengths and core competencies include a proven record of accomplishments in consensus building at all levels to assess, plan, and implement enterprise and cloud computing solutions. René is a member of the Society of Women Engineers (SWE) and a m...
If a machine can invent, does this mean the end of the patent system as we know it? The patent system, both in the US and Europe, allows companies to protect their inventions and helps foster innovation. However, Artificial Intelligence (AI) could be set to disrupt the patent system as we know it. This talk will examine how AI may change the patent landscape in the years to come. Furthermore, ways in which companies can best protect their AI related inventions will be examined from both a US and...
The challenges of aggregating data from consumer-oriented devices, such as wearable technologies and smart thermostats, are fairly well-understood. However, there are a new set of challenges for IoT devices that generate megabytes or gigabytes of data per second. Certainly, the infrastructure will have to change, as those volumes of data will likely overwhelm the available bandwidth for aggregating the data into a central repository. Ochandarena discusses a whole new way to think about your next...
Charles Araujo is an industry analyst, internationally recognized authority on the Digital Enterprise and author of The Quantum Age of IT: Why Everything You Know About IT is About to Change. As Principal Analyst with Intellyx, he writes, speaks and advises organizations on how to navigate through this time of disruption. He is also the founder of The Institute for Digital Transformation and a sought after keynote speaker. He has been a regular contributor to both InformationWeek and CIO Insight...
Bill Schmarzo, Tech Chair of "Big Data | Analytics" of upcoming CloudEXPO | DXWorldEXPO New York (November 12-13, 2018, New York City) today announced the outline and schedule of the track. "The track has been designed in experience/degree order," said Schmarzo. "So, that folks who attend the entire track can leave the conference with some of the skills necessary to get their work done when they get back to their offices. It actually ties back to some work that I'm doing at the University of ...
DXWorldEXPO LLC, the producer of the world's most influential technology conferences and trade shows has announced the 22nd International CloudEXPO | DXWorldEXPO "Early Bird Registration" is now open. Register for Full Conference "Gold Pass" ▸ Here (Expo Hall ▸ Here)
@DevOpsSummit at Cloud Expo, taking place November 12-13 in New York City, NY, is co-located with 22nd international CloudEXPO | first international DXWorldEXPO and will feature technical sessions from a rock star conference faculty and the leading industry players in the world. The widespread success of cloud computing is driving the DevOps revolution in enterprise IT. Now as never before, development teams must communicate and collaborate in a dynamic, 24/7/365 environment. There is no time t...
CloudEXPO New York 2018, colocated with DXWorldEXPO New York 2018 will be held November 11-13, 2018, in New York City and will bring together Cloud Computing, FinTech and Blockchain, Digital Transformation, Big Data, Internet of Things, DevOps, AI, Machine Learning and WebRTC to one location.
The best way to leverage your Cloud Expo presence as a sponsor and exhibitor is to plan your news announcements around our events. The press covering Cloud Expo and @ThingsExpo will have access to these releases and will amplify your news announcements. More than two dozen Cloud companies either set deals at our shows or have announced their mergers and acquisitions at Cloud Expo. Product announcements during our show provide your company with the most reach through our targeted audiences.