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Cloud computing provides jolt, SOA becomes electric, 2010 becomes 2011

At first cloud computing diverted attention away from SOA, but as more and more organizations move toward the cloud, SOA is becoming as ubiquitous as electricity.

Hype brought attention to SOA and, more recently, cloud computing. Technology hype is something most of us try to avoid, but, as we were reminded in an 'end-of-the-year" conversation with Dana Gardner, hype can serve a purpose. "Sometimes people have to get jolted in order to get beyond conventional thinking," he said, discussing cloud computing. Still, getting beyond the hype is the goal. In fact, the Year 2011 could well be the year when hype gives way to foundational change based on cloud computing architecture.

For businesses in 2011, look for more of the same – more change, that is. This is the word from Forrester Analyst Randy Heffner, as he looks at the twin fields of business rules and SOA policy. Both are overshadowed in the rush to new cloud computing architectures. But, as we enter another year when the pace of business change grows more rapid, both will be a crucial point of focus.

"By 2015, SOA will be used in more than 80% of applications but it will be a topic of concern in only a small minority of projects," said Gartner analyst Jeff Schulman at the beginning of the Gartner AADI Summit 2010. SOA has become an intrinsic part of modern IT, and will be a potent force in future cloud computing and event-driven applications. But, in many ways, SOA will be taken for granted as little more than the logical way to proceed with development and integration, according to a Gartner expert. Looking ahead, "SOA becomes like electricity. It's just there," he said.

Now is the time to take a look back at the lessons we've learned in 2010 and prepare for the new challenges that 2011 will bring. We've seen a lot of topics and technologies interacting – from enterprise architecture to business process management, from mainframes to the cloud, and even security issues. There is already a plenitude of SOA advice available, and there is much more to come in 2011.

The Year 2010 saw significant steps forward for open source Enterprise Service Buses (ESBs), a new steward (Oracle) for the Java platform that underlies so much of modern enterprise-class middleware, a surge of REpresentational State Transfer (REST) architectures within the context of both cloud and Web applications, and a big comeback in SOA, which some had left for dead. As 2011 beckons, SOA services seem central to emerging cloud computing scenarios, which themselves appear more diverse than many experts imagined just 12 months ago.

The great thing about technology is that it makes every day different. But the cavalcade of change sometimes obscures the underlying trends. As one year draws to an end and a new one begins, we are going to take a look back and see if we can discern some trends among the bits of data in the last year's SOA news stream.

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