muSOAing for 11/28/09

The other day there was a very interesting question posted to the Service Oriented Architecture SIG “Do we need SOA for Cloud Computing”. This loaded question can be answered in two ways, the easy way and the hard way.

Let us do the easy part first. To answer this question, I will pose another question. So when someone says he has this or that portal or application up and running what is your first question? Gimme the URL. So there is this very rich application that your hard working nerdy friend has made available to the whole world (for free) burning a lot of calorie induced midnight oil and how do you get to it, through your humble URL.

So let us take a slightly different view of pretty much a very similar scenario. You as the head honcho of your small domain in this vast enterprise have received a missive from the higher ups to reduce costs for the FY by upto 25%. So what is the first thought that crosses your mind “Outsourcing” of course. Well not just outsourcing but actually appsourcing. You want the entire app outsourced and do not want to be responsible for any of it being enhancements, maintenance, upgrades etc. etc. So then what gives, “SaaS” of course. So your timesheet function is SaaSified. So your chief SaaSer shows up one find day and informs you that he is done SaaSing up the time sheet app.

So what do you ask him? What is the URL. So you see where we are going with this. So your timesheet app has been totally outsourced, it is available through a URL and for all that you know it is probably colocated in a Cloud along with other colocated apps. The SaaSer if he is clever and wants to reduce maintenance costs has realized the advantages of SOA and he has gone the whole nine yards with SaaS, including service enabling all the layers including EIS, Process Orchestration, Human Workflow, UI Framework and any other layers that may need to be there.

So what has been done really is an app is being served over the web, you are accessing APIs over the web. Whether a human is interacting with the system through a portal or a system is interacting with another system seamlessly by calling Web APIs (URLs) or services.

So next we will try to answer this the hard way. I might have given my answers in bits and pieces in my ealier posts but we will summarize in the next couple of posts.


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