Why did I compare “Cloud” to “SOA”?

Color me busted. Don’t I look good?

Right after publishing “Is the Cloud Getting ‘Clouded’” I got a ton (well; a lot for me) of email questioning my analogy of “overloaded terms” as comparing SOA to the Cloud.

Some on the mails were from CTO-types and techies of companies with whom I am working (thanks for reading! Click on my ads and buy a lot of something!!).

To avoid giving my opinion multiple times in emails, I’ll state it here. To those of you who emailed me: expect this link when I respond. Please note: this is not by way of defense, but rather of discussion .. I stand ready to receive all flames and pragmatic corrections to my words. With more brains and opinions, we are smarter overall.

First: I am not comparing “SOA” to “Cloud”. Some infrastructure and integration bits aren’t too far off though, a number of parallel technologies and methodologies exist:

  • Remote (from your application perspective) processes and data.
  • Calls made via Web service to gain access to the remote processes and data.
  • Services that expose processes and data on the remote system.
  • Return values from the web service calls.

Your application makes the calls and then acts on the return values to continue the work you need to accomplish .. but that really wasn’t my point.

By way of background, I published “Services Orientation – The Architecture Formerly Known As SOA – Introduction” a few years ago. In this post, I made the statement that I felt the term “SOA” was misused as a noun. I feel SOA to be a paradigm or a methodology, rather than the modified noun usage, e.g., “Our enterprise sports a ‘services-oriented architecture’”.

Yeah: let the grammar police arrest me for nuance. I will smile and nod.

In the same way, the purposes of the “Clouded” post was to point out my feelings that “Cloud” is being misused, although not quite in the same way: Cloud has become the “catch-all” phrase for services in the sky, however, at the 100,000-foot level:

The same “Cloud” (services and storage in the sky via the Internet), but different implementations, requiring different development architectures. However, similar web service access methodologies between the three. Clear as mud? Write me and I’ll connect you to the right folks on our side.

P.S.: On SOA, why just an “Introduction”, you might ask. You might also ask “where’s the rest of the posts”? To be frank: I got busy. By the time I got back to that series, many of the questions I raised were being answered by myself and by others. It is totally my fault for not connecting the bits together. Write me, and I’ll send you links that help, or take a call with you to help sort it.

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About Michael Coates
I am a pragmatic evangelist. The products, services and solutions I write about fulfill real-world expectations and use cases. I stay up-to-date on real products I use and review, and share my thoughts here. I apply the same lens when designing an architecture, product or when writing papers. I am always looking for ways that technology can create or enhance a business opportunity .. not just technology for technology's sake. My CV says: Seasoned technology executive, leveraging years of experience with enterprise and integration architectural patterns, executed with healthy doses of business acumen and pragmatism. That's me. My web site says: Technology innovations provide a myriad of opportunities for businesses. That said, having the "latest and greatest" for its own sake isn't always a recipe for success. Business successes gained through exploiting innovation relies on analysis of how the new features will enhance your business followed by effective implementation. Goals vary far and wide: streamlining operations, improving customer experience, extending brand, and many more. In all cases, you must identify and collect the metrics you can apply to measure your success. Analysis must be holistic and balanced: business and operational needs must be considered when capitalizing on a new technology asset or opportunity.

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