Welcome!

Microservices Expo Authors: Elizabeth White, Pat Romanski, Dalibor Siroky, Scott Davis, Stackify Blog

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

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

@MicroservicesExpo Stories
As DevOps methodologies expand their reach across the enterprise, organizations face the daunting challenge of adapting related cloud strategies to ensure optimal alignment, from managing complexity to ensuring proper governance. How can culture, automation, legacy apps and even budget be reexamined to enable this ongoing shift within the modern software factory? In her Day 2 Keynote at @DevOpsSummit at 21st Cloud Expo, Aruna Ravichandran, VP, DevOps Solutions Marketing, CA Technologies, was jo...
You know you need the cloud, but you’re hesitant to simply dump everything at Amazon since you know that not all workloads are suitable for cloud. You know that you want the kind of ease of use and scalability that you get with public cloud, but your applications are architected in a way that makes the public cloud a non-starter. You’re looking at private cloud solutions based on hyperconverged infrastructure, but you’re concerned with the limits inherent in those technologies.
The nature of test environments is inherently temporary—you set up an environment, run through an automated test suite, and then tear down the environment. If you can reduce the cycle time for this process down to hours or minutes, then you may be able to cut your test environment budgets considerably. The impact of cloud adoption on test environments is a valuable advancement in both cost savings and agility. The on-demand model takes advantage of public cloud APIs requiring only payment for t...
The cloud era has reached the stage where it is no longer a question of whether a company should migrate, but when. Enterprises have embraced the outsourcing of where their various applications are stored and who manages them, saving significant investment along the way. Plus, the cloud has become a defining competitive edge. Companies that fail to successfully adapt risk failure. The media, of course, continues to extol the virtues of the cloud, including how easy it is to get there. Migrating...
For DevOps teams, the concepts behind service-oriented architecture (SOA) are nothing new. A style of software design initially made popular in the 1990s, SOA was an alternative to a monolithic application; essentially a collection of coarse-grained components that communicated with each other. Communication would involve either simple data passing or two or more services coordinating some activity. SOA served as a valid approach to solving many architectural problems faced by businesses, as app...
It has never been a better time to be a developer! Thanks to cloud computing, deploying our applications is much easier than it used to be. How we deploy our apps continues to evolve thanks to cloud hosting, Platform-as-a-Service (PaaS), and now Function-as-a-Service. FaaS is the concept of serverless computing via serverless architectures. Software developers can leverage this to deploy an individual "function", action, or piece of business logic. They are expected to start within milliseconds...
Some journey to cloud on a mission, others, a deadline. Change management is useful when migrating to public, private or hybrid cloud environments in either case. For most, stakeholder engagement peaks during the planning and post migration phases of a project. Legacy engagements are fairly direct: projects follow a linear progression of activities (the “waterfall” approach) – change managers and application coders work from the same functional and technical requirements. Enablement and develo...
Gone are the days when application development was the daunting task of the highly skilled developers backed with strong IT skills, low code application development has democratized app development and empowered a new generation of citizen developers. There was a time when app development was in the domain of people with complex coding and technical skills. We called these people by various names like programmers, coders, techies, and they usually worked in a world oblivious of the everyday pri...
While some developers care passionately about how data centers and clouds are architected, for most, it is only the end result that matters. To the majority of companies, technology exists to solve a business problem, and only delivers value when it is solving that problem. 2017 brings the mainstream adoption of containers for production workloads. In his session at 21st Cloud Expo, Ben McCormack, VP of Operations at Evernote, discussed how data centers of the future will be managed, how the p...
From manual human effort the world is slowly paving its way to a new space where most process are getting replaced with tools and systems to improve efficiency and bring down operational costs. Automation is the next big thing and low code platforms are fueling it in a significant way. The Automation era is here. We are in the fast pace of replacing manual human efforts with machines and processes. In the world of Information Technology too, we are linking disparate systems, softwares and tool...
DevOps is good for organizations. According to the soon to be released State of DevOps Report high-performing IT organizations are 2X more likely to exceed profitability, market share, and productivity goals. But how do they do it? How do they use DevOps to drive value and differentiate their companies? We recently sat down with Nicole Forsgren, CEO and Chief Scientist at DORA (DevOps Research and Assessment) and lead investigator for the State of DevOps Report, to discuss the role of measure...
Is advanced scheduling in Kubernetes achievable?Yes, however, how do you properly accommodate every real-life scenario that a Kubernetes user might encounter? How do you leverage advanced scheduling techniques to shape and describe each scenario in easy-to-use rules and configurations? In his session at @DevOpsSummit at 21st Cloud Expo, Oleg Chunikhin, CTO at Kublr, answered these questions and demonstrated techniques for implementing advanced scheduling. For example, using spot instances and co...
DevOps is under attack because developers don’t want to mess with infrastructure. They will happily own their code into production, but want to use platforms instead of raw automation. That’s changing the landscape that we understand as DevOps with both architecture concepts (CloudNative) and process redefinition (SRE). Rob Hirschfeld’s recent work in Kubernetes operations has led to the conclusion that containers and related platforms have changed the way we should be thinking about DevOps and...
"As we've gone out into the public cloud we've seen that over time we may have lost a few things - we've lost control, we've given up cost to a certain extent, and then security, flexibility," explained Steve Conner, VP of Sales at Cloudistics,in this SYS-CON.tv interview at 20th Cloud Expo, held June 6-8, 2017, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY.
These days, APIs have become an integral part of the digital transformation journey for all enterprises. Every digital innovation story is connected to APIs . But have you ever pondered over to know what are the source of these APIs? Let me explain - APIs sources can be varied, internal or external, solving different purposes, but mostly categorized into the following two categories. Data lakes is a term used to represent disconnected but relevant data that are used by various business units wit...
With continuous delivery (CD) almost always in the spotlight, continuous integration (CI) is often left out in the cold. Indeed, it's been in use for so long and so widely, we often take the model for granted. So what is CI and how can you make the most of it? This blog is intended to answer those questions. Before we step into examining CI, we need to look back. Software developers often work in small teams and modularity, and need to integrate their changes with the rest of the project code b...
"I focus on what we are calling CAST Highlight, which is our SaaS application portfolio analysis tool. It is an extremely lightweight tool that can integrate with pretty much any build process right now," explained Andrew Siegmund, Application Migration Specialist for CAST, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at 21st Cloud Expo, held Oct 31 – Nov 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA.
"Cloud4U builds software services that help people build DevOps platforms for cloud-based software and using our platform people can draw a picture of the system, network, software," explained Kihyeon Kim, CEO and Head of R&D at Cloud4U, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at 21st Cloud Expo, held Oct 31 – Nov 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA.
Kubernetes is an open source system for automating deployment, scaling, and management of containerized applications. Kubernetes was originally built by Google, leveraging years of experience with managing container workloads, and is now a Cloud Native Compute Foundation (CNCF) project. Kubernetes has been widely adopted by the community, supported on all major public and private cloud providers, and is gaining rapid adoption in enterprises. However, Kubernetes may seem intimidating and complex ...
DevOps is often described as a combination of technology and culture. Without both, DevOps isn't complete. However, applying the culture to outdated technology is a recipe for disaster; as response times grow and connections between teams are delayed by technology, the culture will die. A Nutanix Enterprise Cloud has many benefits that provide the needed base for a true DevOps paradigm. In their Day 3 Keynote at 20th Cloud Expo, Chris Brown, a Solutions Marketing Manager at Nutanix, and Mark Lav...