Tuesday, May 31, 2011

SOA was yesterday’s issue?

Don’t you believe it! For many larger organizations SOA is only now becoming central to key business strategies. Whilst SOA has been around for almost a decade, few companies have achieved real maturity. Governance issues in particular have allowed fragmented service oriented solutions to predominate. Even where consistent service facades have been established, the underlying legacy application estate represents a colossal inhibitor to significant or rapid change.

Today SOA is a major priority for:

- delivering smaller application components for effective Cloud computing deployment
- and thereby modernizing the application estate, reducing costs and enabling . . .
- flexible service support for strategic BPM projects and programs

To achieve SOA maturity, organizations need much improved SOA skills. Not just for architects but for all roles, planners, business analysts, architects, project managers, procurement specialists, designers, testers and so on. Recognizing this, at Everware-CBDI we have been focused on creating skills development products that address this need. We have created a comprehensive eLearning portfolio plus certification modules. These have been developed to minimize time and cost while focusing and maximizing learning. They are not warmed up videos of face to face classes requiring many hours to view.

The products are now being used by very large service providers and enterprises. Last week we launched an on-line store, and these can now be procured by individuals in a cost effective manner.

SEE DETAILS, TRY and BUY at the new online store.

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Beware gurus promoting their new book on SOA Governance

SearchSOA.com interviewed co-authors Thomas Erl and Anne Thomas Manes to discuss their recently published book, SOA Governance: Governing Shared Services On-Premise and in the Cloud (Prentice Hall, April 2011). The Q&A didn’t encourage me to buy their book.

Question: How you define SOA governance?
Answer: Manes “The quick definition is 'governance makes the rules.' . . . the best governance system is one that people appreciate, that helps people get work done, with the highest quality, and that is beneficial to business.

Commentary: Governance doesn’t just make the rules. SOA Governance is a process that guides policy setting and compliance to ensure service and solution delivery and operations are delivered and remain in compliance. SOA policies are architectural, practice and organizational decisions designed to deliver business value through application of key principles.

Question: You say the first step in an SOA governance effort is to establish a SOA governance program office. What would that consist of?
Answer: Manes “Having a recognized office with the authority to establish rules is a prerequisite for any program. “Erl “The SOA governance program encompasses the governance system, but also all the other logistical aspects of that system, so project plans, roadmaps, tools, and the steps to make it part of the overall means by which projects are regulated.”

Commentary: The first step in SOA governance is to publish policy for delivery programs and the framework of deliverables and responsibilities for publishing and compliance reviews. This activity is best done under the auspices of an existing governance practice. Of course it requires SOA specialist skills, but the objective should be to integrate SOA into business as usual as soon as possible, not to create separate organizational structures that create and perpetuate divergence, or even worse, to consolidate all project practices under governance.

Question: Is there such a thing as agile governance?
Answer: Manes “When defining your precepts you need to constantly be willing to reassess if you’re achieving your goals, by reevaluating and understanding if they’re helping you deliver better solutions more quickly and then going back [and addressing them if they’re not]. That’s the definition of agile.” Erl “The governance system for an SOA initiative needs to be inherently responsive to business changes. To me, a governance system improves the responsiveness of those that function within it because so many decisions have already been made.”

Commentary: This sounds like a recipe for encouraging “policy waivers”. We’re doing Agile, so we can’t comply with the policy! If there was something called Agile governance in my opinion it would apply review/gate criteria that ensured that delivery projects are using agile approaches in a prescribed manner that delivers good business outcomes, specifically – systems, services and ongoing support processes that can evolve at minimum cost and cycle time. This generally requires that SOA delivery programs implement twin track (service and solution) delivery, strong componentization of implementations, iterative delivery of baselined, well architected functionality that is designed to evolve on a continuous basis.

Question: What are the governance considerations specific to cloud-based services?
Answer: Erl “When your resources are hosted by a third-party cloud provider, there is a limitation to the extent of control as to how they can be governed. That’s something to factor into the governance system. If your governance says it has to comply with industry standards and the supplier doesn’t support that, you have to say ‘How can we [govern] within the cloud given these constraints and still be in support of our business requirements?’” Manes “You have more inherent risk in deploying in the cloud and need to take appropriate risk mitigation by deploying [governance] precepts specifically for the cloud.”

Commentary: For many if not most large organizations “business as usual” is delivered by outsourcing and service provider suppliers. The governance of outsourcing will normally be focused on outcomes and risk management. The governance of Cloud based SOA is an extension of the same process – focusing on encapsulated service contracts and bullet proof service level agreements. This is not to trivialize Cloud specific issues, rather to push back against the trend that says we have to reinvent everything we do for Cloud. That’s patent nonsense, we should use proven best practices and architectural patterns to get Cloud deployments up the maturity levels as soon as possible.

Disclaimer: Please note I haven't read the book. I see there are numerous authors involved in this work and my comments are based entirely on the Q & A which, as I said, didn’t encourage me. Which is a shame for the other authors.

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Version 3.0 of the CBDI-SAE UML Profile for SOA

Everware-CBDI has announced the immediate availability of the CBDI-SAE UML Profile for SOA V3 (SAE Profile). The SAE Profile makes Model Driven Architecture (MDA) for SOA practical for everyone. Whilst introducing a sensible level of compliance with industry standards such as SoaML, the SAE Profile provides a more extensive and detailed coverage of the complete lifecycle, from business models to deployment. As well as capturing requirements in a precise manner, the ability to model service architectures and service specifications facilitates SOA governance with the production of more formal models and other key deliverables that conform to a detailed meta model.

  • Modeling Service Architectures and Service Specifications
  • Making MDA for SOA practical for everyone
  • Enabling sensible compliance with industry standards such as SoaML
  • Facilitating SOA governance, with production of formal SOA models and specifications

The CBDI-SAE UML Profile for SOA V3 is now available for download from the Everware-CBDI website. The profile is available by simple, no cost registration with the CBDI Forum, or login by existing members.

The SAE Profile allows architects and designers to use UML tools such as Sparx Systems Enterprise Architect and No Magic Inc's MagicDraw and to create purpose designed, consistent deliverables for SOA.

The SAE Profile is based on the CBDI-SAE methodology which is defined in the CBDI-SAE meta model for SOA. This is a detailed set of meta class models that define SOA concepts at a level of precision suitable for project deliverables. The models are broadly scoped to integrate with architecture, design and solution delivery practices and span the entire life cycle.

Making the CBDI-SAE Meta Model for SOA available as a UML Profile enables users to model SOA design and architecture using diagrams that are UML compliant and to progressively define detailed meta data that can be used directly in key project and governance deliverables including all architecture views, service specifications, implementation, technology and deployment specifications.

A new report “An Introduction to Service Architecture Modeling with the CBDI-SAE UML Profile for SOA V3” provides guidance on how to use the SAE Profile and walks through the process of modeling a service specification architecture.

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Microsoft buys Skype!

So Microsoft is to become the new owner of Skype! This is big news for us that run our business and personal communications on the platform. I suspect we were all relieved when eBay finally recognized the inevitable and sold a majority stake to investors who have largely trodden water with the product while they figured out how to realize on their investment. So is the Microsoft acquisition good or bad news?

Good News? Microsoft will probably be a good custodian because they are primarily concerned with leveraging the capability to strengthen their social networking products, and less interested in direct revenue return. So hopefully impact on our free communications network will be minimized. Similarly Microsoft will be keen to integrate Skype with social network products, telecom and video networks and gaming. These will probably be more important than integration with legacy integration with Windows.

Bad News? Where I would like to see Microsoft go with Skype is integration of various communications channels. The (industry analyst) party line is that communications futures are likely to center around Facebook – and I will freely admit I see this as a nightmare. What I would like to see is much more integration between Outlook, Gmail, Hotmail, Skype, Twitter etc. This could be an amazing way for Microsoft to move beyond it’s Office legacy environment, and to establish a world class, multi channel communications system. But sadly Microsoft has two major limitations that I expect will come into play:

1) Microsoft does proprietary and competitive. Expect them to strengthen Hotmail and other Microsoft specific links in order to compete more aggressively with Gmail. Skype may become more proprietary and less open. Will Skype remain on the iPhone?

2) Even within their own world, Microsoft doesn't do cross product integration. This is because of the way that Microsoft is organized. I recall years ago asking Bill Gates the question "why didn't MS formally componentize its portfolio?" His answer told me all I needed to know - he doesn't believe in portfolio level (enterprise) architecture, and optimizes at the product group. And I am not sure MS has changed. So IMHO the likely outcome is that Microsoft will move Skype into video and gaming and in that way make some revenue. But they will miss the strategic opportunity to go head to head with Google and Facebook and at the same time rejuvenate it's legacy portfolio.

Still it will be interesting to watch.