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SOA governance breeds lightweight, flexible enterprise architecture

SOA and cloud expert David Linthicum weighs in on the connection between strong SOA governance and lightweight, flexible architecture.

Is the glass half full or half empty? That is still a valid question to be asked of SOA governance strategies and tools. Arguably, use of SOA governance is the single key indicator of whether an organization is committed to SOA. But its use is not yet widespread. More than half of respondents to’s Readership Challenges & Priorities 2011-2012 Survey indicated that they have no plans with regards to SOA governance software. This may explain why so many respondents also cited complexity and lack of flexibility as their biggest pain points. We reached out to SOA and cloud expert David Linthicum to learn more about the relationship between proper SOA governance and lightweight, flexible enterprise architecture.

Description: David LinthicumDavid Linthicum is the founder and CTO of Blue Mountain Labs, the author or coauthor of at least 13 books on computing, and an internationally known distributed computing and application integration expert. He has more than twenty years of experience in the integration technology industry. Can SOA become easier to use? (And how, or why not?)

Linthicum: SOA is really an architectural pattern, thus the ease-of-use is really dependent on how you use it, not SOA itself. SOA is becoming easier to understand and leverage considering that the way we’ve been designing and implementing systems has really morphed into a development and architectural path that is best approached using SOA [techniques] such as the use of complex distributed systems, including cloud computing.

Service governance is something that you can actually carry out without technology.

David Linthicum, Blue Mountain Labs

The concept of breaking a system down to its component parts, and building it back up again as sets of services that can be configured and reconfigured into business solutions is actually much easier to understand than more traditional architectural approaches.

Can SOA be lightweight?

Linthicum: SOA can be anything you want it to be considering that it’s really something you do. SOA can be leveraged as a way of doing something, and you can certainly pick and choose the parts of SOA you would like to leverage.

Are “governance” and “lightweight” opposite concepts?

Linthicum: Not really. Service governance is something that you can actually carry out without technology. It’s really more about people and processes. Thus, you can dial-it down to whatever you need, either leveraging complex sets of processes and governance technology, or simple processes and disciplines.

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