Welcome!

Java Authors: Adrian Bridgwater, Yakov Fain, Liz McMillan, Carmen Gonzalez, Elizabeth White

Related Topics: SOA & WOA

SOA & WOA: Article

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

Taking the management of services to the next level

Influencing SOA Behavior
Determining and shaping the behavior patterns that will sustain an SOA effort through time is often the work of change management specialists. However, it is easier to conceptualize the role of behavior in SOA if we examine the intersection of major influences on organizational and individual behavior. Some of these influences are the following:

  • Corporate culture
  • Major decision-making processes
  • Budgeting processes
  • Incentives and penalty structures
  • Compensation linkages to corporate goals and mantras
  • Portfolio management processes
  • Architecture process (definition, acquisition, implementation)
  • Architecture practice (solutions development)
  • Corporate performance metrics, such as return on invested capital (ROIC), revenue and market share growth, cost controls, etc.
  • Promotion and advancement criteria
All of these factors influence behavior of organizations and individuals within an enterprise. In the context of an SOA, however, there are a few key factors that determine how effective an SOA can be without fundamental changes to the organization and processes of an organization. To understand these essential factors, we must locate the "center of gravity" of an SOA. Understanding certain key organizational and process relationships will help with the organization of SOA governance, the design of SOA governance processes, as well as understanding the behavior and incentive models that may be required in order to implement SOA governance. For example, the relationship of the budgeting process to project execution and implementation helps determine how effectively budgeting oversight impacts the resulting architecture of IT systems. Without proper budget-to-project alignment, teams will be inclined to build project-centric services that don't necessarily fit the broader needs of the organization's SOA. The relationship of the acquisition/procurement process to enterprise architecture is another key relationship that has a tremendous impact on the resulting architecture of an organization. Does the acquisition process reflect the goals and standards of the EA organization? If not, how can it be changed to better reflect it?

Another critical relationship is the relationship of EA to project or solution architecture - in other words, connecting architecture via governance to downstream activities (more on this in the next section of this article). If there is a disconnection between enterprise architecture and the architecture that is designed at the project level, then there is the possibility of a disjointed architecture.

These important relationships all point to how sociopolitical forces and organizational forces converge to either facilitate or hinder SOA governance. There are no easy answers to these challenges. However, understanding how these organizational tensions either help or hinder SOA governance will point to a path to implementing appropriate organizational institutions and processes to achieve SOA governance objectives.

Production/Distribution/Consumption: Separation of Concerns Within SOA Governance
SOA, in conjunction with other loosely coupled architectural approaches, forces IT organizations to recognize that teams producing services are not likely to be the consumers of those services. Unlike traditional application development, SOA is built upon the premise that a set of services can be employed within a wide range of applications. In other words, SOAs depend upon the separation of the production and consumption concerns within the IT organization, and a distribution vehicle that allows service producers and consumers to communicate and collaborate with each other. Let's define these production, distribution, and consumption concerns with a bit more detail:

  • Production: Identification of and governance over the development and maintenance of existing and newly defined candidate reusable services
  • Distribution: Publication of those services for widespread dissemination to potential service consumers
  • Consumption: Discovery of and governance over the appropriate use of services within application development projects
While it may be technically feasible to execute the responsibilities within these concerns through manually defined and managed procedures, the reality is that for IT organizations of any size to build out a successful SOA, both political/organizational issues such as those discussed in the previous section, and appropriate tooling such as a services repository/registry that automates both service governance and service distribution are essential. The following sections of this article highlight how a services repository/registry can be employed to support key best practices within the production/distribution/consumption life cycle inherent within SOA.

Production Best Practice: Pragmatic Service Definition
Services within an SOA cannot be developed in a "bottom-up," ad hoc manner. Bottom-up development of services is inherently driven by immediate project needs - how do I solve this specific problem with a specific implementation (often driven by the influence of existing applications and their behaviors masquerading as true business requirements). What happens when an organization defines and implements its services with this mindset? The service layer simply becomes YALOT (yet another layer of technology) - more spaghetti code of a different form that didn't improve our business process flexibility, but simply implemented a monolithic application in a different technology.

However services also cannot be defined solely in a "top-down" manner. Top-down business process analysis left to its own devices leads to either "analysis paralysis" - continual refinement of a model hoping to reach perfection (which never comes), or "Big-Bang" projects - trying to define and implement everything at once, usually with disastrous consequences (most typically a combination of "death march" projects and cost and schedule overruns).

Ultimately, what organizations need to make progress in SOA is to develop a coarse-grained business model driven by key business processes (not all of them, but only a representative set of high-priority processes to begin with). Architects and business analysts should collaborate to build this model using those processes to extract and define a normalized set of functions, then grouping those functions together based on behavioral affinity (read components and interfaces for those of you who are UML centric) as a strawman set of initial target service definitions.

At this point, we have a useful framework for the "real work" - detailed analysis, design, and implementation of the services we need for our current set of prioritized projects. Based on business process (and project) prioritization, we identify the needed services from our business reference model and formalize the service definition for these prioritized services. Ideally, each service should be driven by the requirements extracted from at least two separate processes - designing a service based on a single use case is very likely to result in a fragile and narrowly defined service that will not be flexible enough to meet our next set of prioritized projects. Our formalization efforts are likely to result in modifications to our business architecture - which is just fine! We can iteratively enhance our architecture as we make progress towards service implementation.

Production Best Practice:
Recommended Service SDLC Governance/Review Checkpoints
Now that we have our first set of services defined, we need to build and deliver them. Developing services within an SOA (i.e., for purposes of reuse across multiple applications) usually requires more of the production team than a single-use component, module, or object. In order for a service to be considered reusable, it must be maintainable, discoverable, and consumable. Maintainability introduces such concepts as version control (which we will address in more detail later in this article), models and other design documentation, and requirements traceability (why was the asset implemented in this way from a technical and business perspective). Discoverability forces us to consider how we help potential consumers of this asset find the asset in a timely fashion - via keywords, domain taxonomies, and mapping to models, for example. Consumability involves looking at the asset from the point of view of the downstream project planning to use the asset: Is there a user guide, a well-documented API, sample client code, and other artifact available to help the user rapidly understand how to apply this asset to the project at hand? Are dependencies on other assets (and to prior versions of this asset) specified and easily navigated?

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

@ThingsExpo Stories
The Internet of Things will put IT to its ultimate test by creating infinite new opportunities to digitize products and services, generate and analyze new data to improve customer satisfaction, and discover new ways to gain a competitive advantage across nearly every industry. In order to help corporate business units to capitalize on the rapidly evolving IoT opportunities, IT must stand up to a new set of challenges. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Jeff Kaplan, Managing Director of THINKstrategies, will examine why IT must finally fulfill its role in support of its SBUs or face a new round of...
SYS-CON Events announced today that Gridstore™, the leader in hyper-converged infrastructure purpose-built to optimize Microsoft workloads, will exhibit at SYS-CON's 16th International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on June 9-11, 2015, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY. Gridstore™ is the leader in hyper-converged infrastructure purpose-built for Microsoft workloads and designed to accelerate applications in virtualized environments. Gridstore’s hyper-converged infrastructure is the industry’s first all flash version of HyperConverged Appliances that include both compute and storag...
The 3rd International @ThingsExpo, co-located with the 16th International Cloud Expo - to be held June 9-11, 2015, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY - announces that it is now accepting Keynote Proposals. The Internet of Things (IoT) is the most profound change in personal and enterprise IT since the creation of the Worldwide Web more than 20 years ago. All major researchers estimate there will be tens of billions devices - computers, smartphones, tablets, and sensors - connected to the Internet by 2020. This number will continue to grow at a rapid pace for the next several decades.
Scott Jenson leads a project called The Physical Web within the Chrome team at Google. Project members are working to take the scalability and openness of the web and use it to talk to the exponentially exploding range of smart devices. Nearly every company today working on the IoT comes up with the same basic solution: use my server and you'll be fine. But if we really believe there will be trillions of these devices, that just can't scale. We need a system that is open a scalable and by using the URL as a basic building block, we open this up and get the same resilience that the web enjoys.
The 3rd International @ThingsExpo, co-located with the 16th International Cloud Expo – to be held June 9-11, 2015, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY – is now accepting Hackathon proposals. Hackathon sponsorship benefits include general brand exposure and increasing engagement with the developer ecosystem. At Cloud Expo 2014 Silicon Valley, IBM held the Bluemix Developer Playground on November 5 and ElasticBox held the DevOps Hackathon on November 6. Both events took place on the expo floor. The Bluemix Developer Playground, for developers of all levels, highlighted the ease of use of...
"There is a natural synchronization between the business models, the IoT is there to support ,” explained Brendan O'Brien, Co-founder and Chief Architect of Aria Systems, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at the 15th International Cloud Expo®, held Nov 4–6, 2014, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA.
The Internet of Things promises to transform businesses (and lives), but navigating the business and technical path to success can be difficult to understand. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Sean Lorenz, Technical Product Manager for Xively at LogMeIn, demonstrated how to approach creating broadly successful connected customer solutions using real world business transformation studies including New England BioLabs and more.
The security devil is always in the details of the attack: the ones you've endured, the ones you prepare yourself to fend off, and the ones that, you fear, will catch you completely unaware and defenseless. The Internet of Things (IoT) is nothing if not an endless proliferation of details. It's the vision of a world in which continuous Internet connectivity and addressability is embedded into a growing range of human artifacts, into the natural world, and even into our smartphones, appliances, and physical persons. In the IoT vision, every new "thing" - sensor, actuator, data source, data con...
"Matrix is an ambitious open standard and implementation that's set up to break down the fragmentation problems that exist in IP messaging and VoIP communication," explained John Woolf, Technical Evangelist at Matrix, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at @ThingsExpo, held Nov 4–6, 2014, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA.
We are reaching the end of the beginning with WebRTC, and real systems using this technology have begun to appear. One challenge that faces every WebRTC deployment (in some form or another) is identity management. For example, if you have an existing service – possibly built on a variety of different PaaS/SaaS offerings – and you want to add real-time communications you are faced with a challenge relating to user management, authentication, authorization, and validation. Service providers will want to use their existing identities, but these will have credentials already that are (hopefully) i...
There's Big Data, then there's really Big Data from the Internet of Things. IoT is evolving to include many data possibilities like new types of event, log and network data. The volumes are enormous, generating tens of billions of logs per day, which raise data challenges. Early IoT deployments are relying heavily on both the cloud and managed service providers to navigate these challenges. In her session at Big Data Expo®, Hannah Smalltree, Director at Treasure Data, discussed how IoT, Big Data and deployments are processing massive data volumes from wearables, utilities and other machines...
The Internet of Things is tied together with a thin strand that is known as time. Coincidentally, at the core of nearly all data analytics is a timestamp. When working with time series data there are a few core principles that everyone should consider, especially across datasets where time is the common boundary. In his session at Internet of @ThingsExpo, Jim Scott, Director of Enterprise Strategy & Architecture at MapR Technologies, discussed single-value, geo-spatial, and log time series data. By focusing on enterprise applications and the data center, he will use OpenTSDB as an example t...
DevOps Summit 2015 New York, co-located with the 16th International Cloud Expo - to be held June 9-11, 2015, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY - announces that it is now accepting Keynote Proposals. 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 to wait for long development cycles that produce software that is obsolete at launch. DevOps may be disruptive, but it is essential.
WebRTC defines no default signaling protocol, causing fragmentation between WebRTC silos. SIP and XMPP provide possibilities, but come with considerable complexity and are not designed for use in a web environment. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Matthew Hodgson, technical co-founder of the Matrix.org, discussed how Matrix is a new non-profit Open Source Project that defines both a new HTTP-based standard for VoIP & IM signaling and provides reference implementations.
The 3rd International Internet of @ThingsExpo, co-located with the 16th International Cloud Expo - to be held June 9-11, 2015, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY - announces that its Call for Papers is now open. The Internet of Things (IoT) is the biggest idea since the creation of the Worldwide Web more than 20 years ago.
The definition of IoT is not new, in fact it’s been around for over a decade. What has changed is the public's awareness that the technology we use on a daily basis has caught up on the vision of an always on, always connected world. If you look into the details of what comprises the IoT, you’ll see that it includes everything from cloud computing, Big Data analytics, “Things,” Web communication, applications, network, storage, etc. It is essentially including everything connected online from hardware to software, or as we like to say, it’s an Internet of many different things. The difference ...
Connected devices and the Internet of Things are getting significant momentum in 2014. In his session at Internet of @ThingsExpo, Jim Hunter, Chief Scientist & Technology Evangelist at Greenwave Systems, examined three key elements that together will drive mass adoption of the IoT before the end of 2015. The first element is the recent advent of robust open source protocols (like AllJoyn and WebRTC) that facilitate M2M communication. The second is broad availability of flexible, cost-effective storage designed to handle the massive surge in back-end data in a world where timely analytics is e...
How do APIs and IoT relate? The answer is not as simple as merely adding an API on top of a dumb device, but rather about understanding the architectural patterns for implementing an IoT fabric. There are typically two or three trends: Exposing the device to a management framework Exposing that management framework to a business centric logic Exposing that business layer and data to end users. This last trend is the IoT stack, which involves a new shift in the separation of what stuff happens, where data lives and where the interface lies. For instance, it's a mix of architectural styles ...
An entirely new security model is needed for the Internet of Things, or is it? Can we save some old and tested controls for this new and different environment? In his session at @ThingsExpo, New York's at the Javits Center, Davi Ottenheimer, EMC Senior Director of Trust, reviewed hands-on lessons with IoT devices and reveal a new risk balance you might not expect. Davi Ottenheimer, EMC Senior Director of Trust, has more than nineteen years' experience managing global security operations and assessments, including a decade of leading incident response and digital forensics. He is co-author of t...
The 3rd International Internet of @ThingsExpo, co-located with the 16th International Cloud Expo - to be held June 9-11, 2015, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY - announces that its Call for Papers is now open. The Internet of Things (IoT) is the biggest idea since the creation of the Worldwide Web more than 20 years ago.