Click here to close now.


Apache Authors: Pat Romanski, Jim Scott, Jnan Dash, Craig Lowell, Liz McMillan

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

The fact that you're reading this article means that you are probably planning a service-oriented architecture (SOA) initiative and recognize that some level of governance is required in order to be successful. If you are like most people in this position, you are also somewhat confused as to the meaning of SOA governance. Governance is the current buzzword, and combining governance with SOA creates a phrase that every independent software vendor (ISV) wants a piece of. How do you sort out what is marketing hype from what is truly valuable and relevant to your organization's SOA efforts?

Governance Scope Within an IT Organization
Much of the hype around SOA governance has been focused on operational governance. Defining, tracking, and managing factors like service-level agreements (e.g., average response time, peak response time, average throughput, peak throughput) and authorization policies (e.g., users from organization A are allowed to invoke this service while users from organization B aren't) are clearly important once the pieces of an SOA get up and running within an organization's IT infrastructure.

However, while operational governance and management is necessary for a successful SOA initiative, it is not sufficient. For an organization to effectively define and implement an SOA (and not simply implement a series of point-to-point services masquerading as an SOA, but in fact creating another layer of technology spaghetti), it must extend SOA governance back to the development and architectural perspectives. To be successful with SOA, you must find a way to bind these perspectives together as seamlessly as possible to enable effective information flow in both directions: from architecture to development to operations, and vice versa. Let's investigate each of these governance perspectives in turn.

Architectural Governance
Architectural governance at the enterprise architecture (EA) level involves three key elements: 1) making core decisions about business or technological functionality within the enterprise, 2) sufficiently documenting those decisions so that downstream consumers (the teams responsible for developing and deploying services and applications) can quickly understand and make effective use of those decisions, and 3) reviewing the project-specific application of those decisions. In order for an EA team to execute these tasks, it must have at its disposal an effective way to disseminate the knowledge assets it produces, to track and understand which knowledge assets are being applied to specific projects, and to document the review of those project-specific decisions.

Design-Time (Development) Governance
In many ways, Software Development Life Cycle (SDLC) governance within an SOA initiative is a reflection of decisions made at the EA level. Decisions about the scope and granularity of business services to be implemented and the technical approach to be used in implementing those services must be applied to specific service production or consumption (i.e., application development) projects. However, SDLC governance extends beyond appropriate application of EA guidance to the actual analysis, design, implementation, and testing of the resulting services and/or applications required by the IT project at hand. With respect to service production, SDLC governance involves the progressive "hardening" of the service as it progresses through its requirements definition, design, implementation/unit test, and integration/system test phases to eventual deployment in the operational environment. When applied to service consumption, governance may involve both internal project-specific reviews (e.g., have the appropriate services been selected, have requirements for new services been identified) and external reviews from the perspective of service providers (e.g., does the use of this service within this application conform to enterprise-specific or government-mandated privacy rules, does the service implementation contain open source components and if so, are the components used in a manner such that enterprise-specific intellectual property is not compromised).

Operational Governance/Management
Operational governance/management within an SOA involves applying appropriate business and technical policies (e.g., which groups and users are allowed to invoke a particular service, what are the minimum throughput and response time expectations required of a service) to deployed services. Business policies are often implemented within an SOA by an Enterprise Service Bus or SOA Fabric integrated with the enterprise's authentication and authorization infrastructure, while technical policies are typically monitored by a services management platform. The cumulative set of governed technical policies is often referred to as a service-level agreement (SLA). Examples of SLA-level technical governance elements within an SOA are:

  • Average throughput
  • Peak throughput
  • Type and description of committed SLA
  • Availability
  • Consuming service clients
  • Hardware and software configuration
  • Fault history
  • Alert thresholds
Political/Organizational Aspects of SOA Governance
How do we map these governance disciplines into an organization's structure and roles? Because of the loosely coupled nature of SOA, SOA governance is a new discipline that has implications for existing corporate and IT institutions as well as for new organizational structures and processes (and the politics associated with those structures and processes). Proper focus on what governance is, how it can be achieved, and its implementation can help make governance a valuable and necessary function to support your SOA migration.

SOA governance has an impact on current IT governance processes. Some of these processes include the budgeting and project approval process, portfolio management activities, and ongoing oversight of projects to assure budgetary compliance. Applying governance to SOA activities is critical because there may have to be changes to the normal IT governance processes for budgeting and portfolio management.

Think about the budgeting process of your organization. That budgeting process has a tremendous impact on the behavior of various organizations and their IT representatives. If there is no budgetary control of projects to influence them to adopt SOA and reusable services as their fundamental design concepts, then projects will go their own way as driven by the requirements of that particular business unit or project. The same goes for the portfolio management process. If there is no mechanism to surface SOA and reuse opportunities for all projects and then apply budgetary pressure to converge them toward an SOA, then they will similarly go their own way. SOA governance, budgeting, and portfolio management are ways to influence behavior of business units, as well as the IT and business personnel within them, to more aggressively support SOA and reuse.

Enterprise architecture processes may undergo similar changes given the advent of an SOA initiative in an organization. Often the architecture process and organization will have to be restructured to accommodate the requirements of an SOA initiative because the skills, roles, and functions of an EA team are not completely appropriate for an SOA initiative. Think about the process of architecture as two tiers of activities: one tier is the architecture strategy and goals, followed by the definition of the elements, standards, and organization of architecture to accomplish those goals. The second tier is the application of architecture to funded projects, the acquisition or implementation of various technologies and standards, and the enforcement of compliance to the enterprise architecture goals (see Figure 1).

These are two related yet distinct processes, and often they are not as interdependent as CIOs would like. Think about the cases where there is a chief architect or central architecture group at corporate headquarters, and then also present are the solution architects assigned to projects. They actually build systems and implement technologies and standards. Who has the most direct bearing on the architecture that ultimately is implemented in a given organization? Naturally it is the person assigned to the budgeted project that was sponsored by a specific business unit that ultimately funded the project. The behavior associated with enterprise architecture is similarly related to the organization and processes used to achieve the goals of SOA, architecture compliance, portfolio management, and budgetary compliance.

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.


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.


@ThingsExpo Stories
Cloud computing delivers on-demand resources that provide businesses with flexibility and cost-savings. The challenge in moving workloads to the cloud has been the cost and complexity of ensuring the initial and ongoing security and regulatory (PCI, HIPAA, FFIEC) compliance across private and public clouds. Manual security compliance is slow, prone to human error, and represents over 50% of the cost of managing cloud applications. Determining how to automate cloud security compliance is critical to maintaining positive ROI. Raxak Protect is an automated security compliance SaaS platform and ma...
We all know that data growth is exploding and storage budgets are shrinking. Instead of showing you charts on about how much data there is, in his General Session at 17th Cloud Expo, Scott Cleland, Senior Director of Product Marketing at HGST, showed how to capture all of your data in one place. After you have your data under control, you can then analyze it in one place, saving time and resources.
Today air travel is a minefield of delays, hassles and customer disappointment. Airlines struggle to revitalize the experience. GE and M2Mi will demonstrate practical examples of how IoT solutions are helping airlines bring back personalization, reduce trip time and improve reliability. In their session at @ThingsExpo, Shyam Varan Nath, Principal Architect with GE, and Dr. Sarah Cooper, M2Mi’s VP Business Development and Engineering, explored the IoT cloud-based platform technologies driving this change including privacy controls, data transparency and integration of real time context with p...
The Internet of Things (IoT) is growing rapidly by extending current technologies, products and networks. By 2020, Cisco estimates there will be 50 billion connected devices. Gartner has forecast revenues of over $300 billion, just to IoT suppliers. Now is the time to figure out how you’ll make money – not just create innovative products. With hundreds of new products and companies jumping into the IoT fray every month, there’s no shortage of innovation. Despite this, McKinsey/VisionMobile data shows "less than 10 percent of IoT developers are making enough to support a reasonably sized team....
Internet of @ThingsExpo, taking place June 7-9, 2016 at Javits Center, New York City and Nov 1-3, 2016, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA, is co-located with the 18th International @CloudExpo and will feature technical sessions from a rock star conference faculty and the leading industry players in the world and ThingsExpo New York Call for Papers is now open.
With major technology companies and startups seriously embracing IoT strategies, now is the perfect time to attend @ThingsExpo 2016 in New York and Silicon Valley. Learn what is going on, contribute to the discussions, and ensure that your enterprise is as "IoT-Ready" as it can be! Internet of @ThingsExpo, taking place Nov 3-5, 2015, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA, is co-located with 17th Cloud Expo and will feature technical sessions from a rock star conference faculty and the leading industry players in the world. The Internet of Things (IoT) is the most profound cha...
Just over a week ago I received a long and loud sustained applause for a presentation I delivered at this year’s Cloud Expo in Santa Clara. I was extremely pleased with the turnout and had some very good conversations with many of the attendees. Over the next few days I had many more meaningful conversations and was not only happy with the results but also learned a few new things. Here is everything I learned in those three days distilled into three short points.
DevOps is about increasing efficiency, but nothing is more inefficient than building the same application twice. However, this is a routine occurrence with enterprise applications that need both a rich desktop web interface and strong mobile support. With recent technological advances from Isomorphic Software and others, rich desktop and tuned mobile experiences can now be created with a single codebase – without compromising functionality, performance or usability. In his session at DevOps Summit, Charles Kendrick, CTO and Chief Architect at Isomorphic Software, demonstrated examples of com...
As organizations realize the scope of the Internet of Things, gaining key insights from Big Data, through the use of advanced analytics, becomes crucial. However, IoT also creates the need for petabyte scale storage of data from millions of devices. A new type of Storage is required which seamlessly integrates robust data analytics with massive scale. These storage systems will act as “smart systems” provide in-place analytics that speed discovery and enable businesses to quickly derive meaningful and actionable insights. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Paul Turner, Chief Marketing Officer at...
In his keynote at @ThingsExpo, Chris Matthieu, Director of IoT Engineering at Citrix and co-founder and CTO of Octoblu, focused on building an IoT platform and company. He provided a behind-the-scenes look at Octoblu’s platform, business, and pivots along the way (including the Citrix acquisition of Octoblu).
In his General Session at 17th Cloud Expo, Bruce Swann, Senior Product Marketing Manager for Adobe Campaign, explored the key ingredients of cross-channel marketing in a digital world. Learn how the Adobe Marketing Cloud can help marketers embrace opportunities for personalized, relevant and real-time customer engagement across offline (direct mail, point of sale, call center) and digital (email, website, SMS, mobile apps, social networks, connected objects).
The Internet of Everything is re-shaping technology trends–moving away from “request/response” architecture to an “always-on” Streaming Web where data is in constant motion and secure, reliable communication is an absolute necessity. As more and more THINGS go online, the challenges that developers will need to address will only increase exponentially. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Todd Greene, Founder & CEO of PubNub, exploreed the current state of IoT connectivity and review key trends and technology requirements that will drive the Internet of Things from hype to reality.
Two weeks ago (November 3-5), I attended the Cloud Expo Silicon Valley as a speaker, where I presented on the security and privacy due diligence requirements for cloud solutions. Cloud security is a topical issue for every CIO, CISO, and technology buyer. Decision-makers are always looking for insights on how to mitigate the security risks of implementing and using cloud solutions. Based on the presentation topics covered at the conference, as well as the general discussions heard between sessions, I wanted to share some of my observations on emerging trends. As cyber security serves as a fou...
Continuous processes around the development and deployment of applications are both impacted by -- and a benefit to -- the Internet of Things trend. To help better understand the relationship between DevOps and a plethora of new end-devices and data please welcome Gary Gruver, consultant, author and a former IT executive who has led many large-scale IT transformation projects, and John Jeremiah, Technology Evangelist at Hewlett Packard Enterprise (HPE), on Twitter at @j_jeremiah. The discussion is moderated by me, Dana Gardner, Principal Analyst at Interarbor Solutions.
Too often with compelling new technologies market participants become overly enamored with that attractiveness of the technology and neglect underlying business drivers. This tendency, what some call the “newest shiny object syndrome” is understandable given that virtually all of us are heavily engaged in technology. But it is also mistaken. Without concrete business cases driving its deployment, IoT, like many other technologies before it, will fade into obscurity.
With all the incredible momentum behind the Internet of Things (IoT) industry, it is easy to forget that not a single CEO wakes up and wonders if “my IoT is broken.” What they wonder is if they are making the right decisions to do all they can to increase revenue, decrease costs, and improve customer experience – effectively the same challenges they have always had in growing their business. The exciting thing about the IoT industry is now these decisions can be better, faster, and smarter. Now all corporate assets – people, objects, and spaces – can share information about themselves and thei...
The Internet of Things is clearly many things: data collection and analytics, wearables, Smart Grids and Smart Cities, the Industrial Internet, and more. Cool platforms like Arduino, Raspberry Pi, Intel's Galileo and Edison, and a diverse world of sensors are making the IoT a great toy box for developers in all these areas. In this Power Panel at @ThingsExpo, moderated by Conference Chair Roger Strukhoff, panelists discussed what things are the most important, which will have the most profound effect on the world, and what should we expect to see over the next couple of years.
Discussions of cloud computing have evolved in recent years from a focus on specific types of cloud, to a world of hybrid cloud, and to a world dominated by the APIs that make today's multi-cloud environments and hybrid clouds possible. In this Power Panel at 17th Cloud Expo, moderated by Conference Chair Roger Strukhoff, panelists addressed the importance of customers being able to use the specific technologies they need, through environments and ecosystems that expose their APIs to make true change and transformation possible.
Microservices are a very exciting architectural approach that many organizations are looking to as a way to accelerate innovation. Microservices promise to allow teams to move away from monolithic "ball of mud" systems, but the reality is that, in the vast majority of organizations, different projects and technologies will continue to be developed at different speeds. How to handle the dependencies between these disparate systems with different iteration cycles? Consider the "canoncial problem" in this scenario: microservice A (releases daily) depends on a couple of additions to backend B (re...
Growth hacking is common for startups to make unheard-of progress in building their business. Career Hacks can help Geek Girls and those who support them (yes, that's you too, Dad!) to excel in this typically male-dominated world. Get ready to learn the facts: Is there a bias against women in the tech / developer communities? Why are women 50% of the workforce, but hold only 24% of the STEM or IT positions? Some beginnings of what to do about it! In her Day 2 Keynote at 17th Cloud Expo, Sandy Carter, IBM General Manager Cloud Ecosystem and Developers, and a Social Business Evangelist, wil...