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The relationship between SOA and the cloud

Randy Heffner discusses SOA, cloud architecture, and how the two fit together in this, the first installment of his keynote presentation on combining SOA and cloud computing architectures for economic advantage. The text below represents a partial transcript of the video.

Randy Heffner: So it seems that SOA’s long running status as a top-line industry conversation is over. Now we’re on to social, mobile, cloud, and who knows what else? SOA is as important as it’s always been, it’s important for cloud, important for mobile, social, for all you’re doing. Today what I want to do is put SOA and cloud value together, to give you some clear perspectives on both, so that you can get an economic advantage out of using either or both. So let’s talk about how they fit together.

What’s really great about SOA is it provides consistent access to any unit of work, anything that you’ve got, anywhere, and SOA makes it easier to move things around to anyplace. So you start, in the traditional world, with your on-premise environment, and you got your data center and you got your apps running, and everything's great. Well, if you got a good SOA implementation in the box, the on-premise box, you’ve got a lot of flexibility. You can move things around, replace applications and still have them use the same service interface to a different application underneath. Well with cloud, you start adding on new things. First you've got things that you’re going to be running in your cloud environment – or cloud environments (plural). You will have multiple things running in the cloud if you go down that adoption path and find more and more usage areas.

Well, SOA will also be working as you’re connecting – not only between your own environments – but also between your partners' environments, partners' cloud environments, business process outsourcing environments – all sorts of different places. Well, lots of things are running in different places and you want to be able to get to anything, anywhere, across this, and also have a consistent interface to it. 

Cloud is where things are running, SOA is how you get there, and that’s how the two of them fit well together.

Randy Heffner

So if it moves from one place to another, then you can go get it using the same interface, and you don’t have to rewrite your applications. This is the relationship between SOA and cloud. Cloud is where things are running, SOA is how you get there, and that’s how the two of them fit well together.


You get business flexibility from SOA and lower level application flexibility, and you get that implementation flexibility at two levels - SOA is helping you get more value out of cloud because you can move things around faster. The industry tends to focus on reuse. What we’re targeting with reuse is the development costs. Your aim is reducing business costs of one kind or another. The most important kind is business services, business transactions. The important distinction is that business services give you a strategic business focus. The value really is focused at the business building block level.

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