Welcome!

Java IoT Authors: Liz McMillan, Elizabeth White, Kevin Benedict, Pat Romanski, Roger Strukhoff

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

How do we achieve these high standards for our services under development? By establishing standardized governance/review checkpoints throughout the service SDLC. We recommend that at a minimum, organizations should review services under development at these points in the SDLC:

  • Requirements Complete: All business requirements documented and initial service definition specified (ideally as WSDL), allowing reviewers to validate the service against its business architectural context
  • Design Complete: Implementation approach defined with sufficient documentation (e.g., UML design models completed, relevant legacy APIs identified) to allow reviewers to validate design against technical and application/integration architectural contexts
  • Implementation Complete: Service implemented and deployed in a test environment, with sufficient supporting documentation (e.g., sample client code, automated/manual test cases and test results, usage guide) to enable a potential consumer to understand the service and to trust its quality and stability
Other review points may also be appropriate based on organizational needs and objectives. However, don't overwhelm your development teams with process for the sake of process: you will quickly instill a revolt of the masses if you force seemingly arbitrary hoops for developers to jump through in the process of completing their work. Your objective should be "just enough process" - don't overwhelm your project teams with unnecessary workload, but rather provide enough guidance at key points in the production and consumption life cycles to make sure things stay on track. You are very likely going to have to iteratively reach the right level of process for your organization - start with as lightweight a process as you think will work, and then add process steps only as you find need for them. A well-designed services registry/repository can assist in automating these governance processes, thereby reducing the "organizational friction" that could otherwise hinder people from "doing the right thing."

Production Best Practice: Versioned Services Governance
Because services (like components) are meant to be used in more than one application, organizations need to plan for the incremental enhancement of their services over a long deployment lifetime. In effect, organizations planning to build a robust, stable, and extensible SOA need to treat their services as "products."

What does treating a service as a "product" mean to our IT organization?

1.  Each produced service must have a regular and well-defined release cycle. This release cycle needs to occur often enough to meet consumer needs on a timely basis, but not so often as to churn existing consumers. Typically a release cycle of somewhere between three and six months is appropriate for most organizations, and allows them to meet new service needs without unduly disrupting existing applications. As multiple versions of a service are released, consider defining these life-cycle states for your services:

  • Under Development: Available for requirements gathering and application development team planning purposes
  • Production: Mainline version for use in new development
  • Retired: Still in use by existing applications but not allowed for use by new apps
  • Obsolete: All applications should be migrated off this version; version metadata is maintained for traceability/audit purposes only
2.  Services must preserve backward compatibility wherever possible. Deprecation techniques (where obsolete operations are identified as such and notice is given to consumers that those operations will be removed from service interfaces in future releases) give existing consumers time to migrate to newer service releases. Service providers should provide n-1 version support at a minimum - all services provided in the prior version (except those marked as deprecated) should be preserved intact in the current version. In addition, consider providing a "grace period" where both service versions are deployed to allow consumers to make any necessary changes to integrate the new service version. Dynamic run-time binding techniques via Web services management infrastructure (e.g., service proxies or UDDI-based late binding) can also simplify the migration process from old to new service version.

3.  Mechanisms for gathering requirements from current and potential "customers" need to be established by the enterprise architecture and service review teams. Consider establishing a "product manager" role within these organizations, one that manages the aggregate set of business requirements for the service and works to prioritize requirements with its current and potential consumers.

Again, a well-designed services repository/registry can help organizations manage service versions over their lifetimes, with automated notifications, embedded discussion forums for requirements gathering and analysis, and filter-based search capabilities that expose services to potential consumers based on service state (e.g., new application project developers should not be able to search for "Retired" or "Obsolete" services).

Distribution Best Practice: Service Distribution via Services Repository/Registry
Now that we have a set of broadly reusable services produced through our application of the aforementioned best practices, how are we going to get them into the hands of our application developers? This takes us back to the discoverability and consumability aspects of services production. Simply put, unless your services are all as simple as the ubiquitous Stock Quote example so often used in articles discussing Web services, WSDL is not enough. Syntactic definition does not equate to semantic understanding. Potential service consumers need ready access to supporting artifacts (e.g., usage guide, sample client code) to make the service consumable to them. The service also needs to be discoverable - wrapping the service with metadata that allows the user to search for useful services using varying techniques and user interfaces. \A well-designed services repository/registry goes a long way to helping IT organizations to efficiently deliver services to potential consumers. At a minimum, such a repository/registry should support both browser-based access and deep IDE integration to enable users with varying roles to discover the right services. For example, a business architect will likely feel most comfortable using domain terminology searches within a browser, while a designer or developer would prefer a UML-based visual search mechanism within their preferred IDE.

Consumption Best Practice: Service Usage Registration and Traceability by Application Development Projects
The third leg of the SOA governance stool - consumption - comes into play as we begin to build, deploy, and maintain applications based on our previously produced and distributed services. Application-based tracking of service consumption is essential for a number of reasons: to support internally defined and externally imposed business governance mandates, to simplify the process of ongoing impact analysis and change management as the SOA matures, and to provide a quantitative ROI based on real service usage statistics back to the C-level within the enterprise.

Let's take a quick look at governance mandates. Business-level governance (through the form of government regulations such as HIPAA, SOX, and Basel III) is increasingly making its way down to IT. As a result, increasing numbers of auditability and traceability requirements are being applied to the IT organization, and these requirements cannot be met without some form of service usage registration mechanism (and again, for IT organizations of any size, this registration mechanism needs to be automated through the services repository/registry).

Remember also that our services will change over time as new requirements are identified (as discussed above in the "Production Best Practice: Versioned Services Governance" section). Existing application teams need to be kept abreast of planned and implemented changes to the services they are using, both to participate in requirements feedback and to prepare for the eventual obsolescence of back-level services as new service versions are deployed.

Finally, since enterprises are not in business to serve IT but rather it's the other way around, our organization's C-level executives are certainly going to expect a quantifiable ROI from any SOA initiative. Without direct traceability over service usage, it becomes arduous at best and impossible at worst to assemble such a quantifiable ROI based on service use and reuse. On the other hand, if usage registration is built right into the services repository/registry, quantifiable ROI is as simple as running a periodic report.

Summary
Don't think managing your services operationally is enough. Just because you can keep tabs on a service's execution doesn't ensure that the service is really supporting the overall business goals of the SOA. Traceability back to the business goals/priorities through EA to SDLC to operations will make SOA successful in the enterprise. Also, don't minimize organizational impacts that may be needed - monolithic, project-centric funding models are not likely to work in the loosely coupled world of SOA.

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
In his keynote at 18th Cloud Expo, Andrew Keys, Co-Founder of ConsenSys Enterprise, provided an overview of the evolution of the Internet and the Database and the future of their combination – the Blockchain. Andrew Keys is Co-Founder of ConsenSys Enterprise. He comes to ConsenSys Enterprise with capital markets, technology and entrepreneurial experience. Previously, he worked for UBS investment bank in equities analysis. Later, he was responsible for the creation and distribution of life sett...
If you’re responsible for an application that depends on the data or functionality of various IoT endpoints – either sensors or devices – your brand reputation depends on the security, reliability, and compliance of its many integrated parts. If your application fails to deliver the expected business results, your customers and partners won't care if that failure stems from the code you developed or from a component that you integrated. What can you do to ensure that the endpoints work as expect...
The Transparent Cloud-computing Consortium (abbreviation: T-Cloud Consortium) will conduct research activities into changes in the computing model as a result of collaboration between "device" and "cloud" and the creation of new value and markets through organic data processing High speed and high quality networks, and dramatic improvements in computer processing capabilities, have greatly changed the nature of applications and made the storing and processing of data on the network commonplace.
SYS-CON Events announced today that ReadyTalk, a leading provider of online conferencing and webinar services, has been named Vendor Presentation Sponsor at the 19th International Cloud Expo, which will take place on November 1–3, 2016, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. ReadyTalk delivers audio and web conferencing services that inspire collaboration and enable the Future of Work for today’s increasingly digital and mobile workforce. By combining intuitive, innovative tec...
Cognitive Computing is becoming the foundation for a new generation of solutions that have the potential to transform business. Unlike traditional approaches to building solutions, a cognitive computing approach allows the data to help determine the way applications are designed. This contrasts with conventional software development that begins with defining logic based on the current way a business operates. In her session at 18th Cloud Expo, Judith S. Hurwitz, President and CEO of Hurwitz & ...
The vision of a connected smart home is becoming reality with the application of integrated wireless technologies in devices and appliances. The use of standardized and TCP/IP networked wireless technologies in line-powered and battery operated sensors and controls has led to the adoption of radios in the 2.4GHz band, including Wi-Fi, BT/BLE and 802.15.4 applied ZigBee and Thread. This is driving the need for robust wireless coexistence for multiple radios to ensure throughput performance and th...
Enterprise IT has been in the era of Hybrid Cloud for some time now. But it seems most conversations about Hybrid are focused on integrating AWS, Microsoft Azure, or Google ECM into existing on-premises systems. Where is all the Private Cloud? What do technology providers need to do to make their offerings more compelling? How should enterprise IT executives and buyers define their focus, needs, and roadmap, and communicate that clearly to the providers?
SYS-CON Events announced today that Commvault, a global leader in enterprise data protection and information management, has been named “Bronze Sponsor” of SYS-CON's 19th International Cloud Expo, which will take place on November 1–3, 2016, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. Commvault is a leading provider of data protection and information management solutions, helping companies worldwide activate their data to drive more value and business insight and to transform moder...
Fifty billion connected devices and still no winning protocols standards. HTTP, WebSockets, MQTT, and CoAP seem to be leading in the IoT protocol race at the moment but many more protocols are getting introduced on a regular basis. Each protocol has its pros and cons depending on the nature of the communications. Does there really need to be only one protocol to rule them all? Of course not. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Chris Matthieu, co-founder and CTO of Octoblu, walk you through how Oct...
The Internet of Things can drive efficiency for airlines and airports. In their session at @ThingsExpo, Shyam Varan Nath, Principal Architect with GE, and Sudip Majumder, senior director of development at Oracle, will discuss the technical details of the connected airline baggage and related social media solutions. These IoT applications will enhance travelers' journey experience and drive efficiency for the airlines and the airports. The session will include a working demo and a technical d...
There is little doubt that Big Data solutions will have an increasing role in the Enterprise IT mainstream over time. Big Data at Cloud Expo - to be held November 1-3, 2016, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA - has announced its Call for Papers is open. Cloud computing is being adopted in one form or another by 94% of enterprises today. Tens of billions of new devices are being connected to The Internet of Things. And Big Data is driving this bus. An exponential increase is...
Digital innovation is the next big wave of business transformation based on digital technologies of which IoT and Big Data are key components, For example: Business boundary innovation is a challenge to excavate third-party business value using IoT and BigData, like Nest Business structure innovation may propose re-building business structure from scratch, as Uber does in the taxicab industry The social model innovation is also a big challenge to the new social architecture with the design fr...
The many IoT deployments around the world are busy integrating smart devices and sensors into their enterprise IT infrastructures. Yet all of this technology – and there are an amazing number of choices – is of no use without the software to gather, communicate, and analyze the new data flows. Without software, there is no IT. In this power panel at @ThingsExpo, moderated by Conference Chair Roger Strukhoff, panelists will look at the protocols that communicate data and the emerging data analy...
DevOps at Cloud Expo, taking place Nov 1-3, 2016, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA, is co-located with 19th Cloud Expo 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 to wait for long dev...
SYS-CON Events announced today that China Unicom will exhibit at the 19th International Cloud Expo, which will take place on November 1–3, 2016, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. China United Network Communications Group Co. Ltd ("China Unicom") was officially established in 2009 on the basis of the merger of former China Netcom and former China Unicom. China Unicom mainly operates a full range of telecommunications services including mobile broadband (GSM, WCDMA, LTE F...
Data is an unusual currency; it is not restricted by the same transactional limitations as money or people. In fact, the more that you leverage your data across multiple business use cases, the more valuable it becomes to the organization. And the same can be said about the organization’s analytics. In his session at 19th Cloud Expo, Bill Schmarzo, CTO for the Big Data Practice at EMC, will introduce a methodology for capturing, enriching and sharing data (and analytics) across the organizati...
SYS-CON Events announced today the Enterprise IoT Bootcamp, being held November 1-2, 2016, in conjunction with 19th Cloud Expo | @ThingsExpo at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. Combined with real-world scenarios and use cases, the Enterprise IoT Bootcamp is not just based on presentations but with hands-on demos and detailed walkthroughs. We will introduce you to a variety of real world use cases prototyped using Arduino, Raspberry Pi, BeagleBone, Spark, and Intel Edison. Y...
Major trends and emerging technologies – from virtual reality and IoT, to Big Data and algorithms – are helping organizations innovate in the digital era. However, to create real business value, IT must think beyond the ‘what’ of digital transformation to the ‘how’ to harness emerging trends, innovation and disruption. Architecture is the key that underpins and ties all these efforts together. In the digital age, it’s important to invest in architecture, extend the enterprise footprint to the cl...
Video experiences should be unique and exciting! But that doesn’t mean you need to patch all the pieces yourself. Users demand rich and engaging experiences and new ways to connect with you. But creating robust video applications at scale can be complicated, time-consuming and expensive. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Zohar Babin, Vice President of Platform, Ecosystem and Community at Kaltura, will discuss how VPaaS enables you to move fast, creating scalable video experiences that reach your...
SYS-CON Events announced today that SoftLayer, an IBM Company, has been named “Gold Sponsor” of SYS-CON's 18th Cloud Expo, which will take place on June 7-9, 2016, at the Javits Center in New York, New York. SoftLayer, an IBM Company, provides cloud infrastructure as a service from a growing number of data centers and network points of presence around the world. SoftLayer’s customers range from Web startups to global enterprises.