Gartner: SOA will be like electricity for architects looking toward cloud computing

Jack Vaughan

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.

Still, architects should take SOA-style approaches as they work with cloud.

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SOA becomes like electricity. It's just there.

Jeff Schulman, analyst at Gartner,

"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 Jeff Schulman, analyst, Gartner. He spoke at the beginning of the Gartner Application Architecture, Development & Integration Summit 2010 in Los Angeles, Calif.

Looking ahead, "SOA becomes like electricity. It's just there," he said.

But this ubiquity does not belie the importance of successful SOAs, especially in cloud computing. Cloud services will not be used in isolation from service oriented infrastructure, he said.

"SOA allows us to decouple," said Schulman, suggesting that it better allows applications to evolve, while untying them from specific platforms. For its part, cloud computing is not monolithic – assorted cloud computing solutions will likely combine hybrid approaches, he said.

SOA and cloud are tied together, Schulman told in a pre-conference briefing. To go to cloud, "you cannot bypass services. You have to build on SOA strategy."

"Service orientation is a prerequisite for cloud. This doesn't mean that a mature SOA must already exist before an enterprise can venture into the cloud, but rather that architecture strategies that involve cloud must have a service orientation," according to Schulman.

Complex event processing also benefits from SOA foundations. "SOA has to be in place," said Schulman.

Among other key areas of interest at the conference are event driven architecture and ''applications overhaul.'' Together with SOA, event driven architecture and cloud, these are items analyst group Gartner sees as pivotal agents capable of ''powering the agile enterprise'' of the future.

Application overhaul is a new take on legacy modernization methods that deal with the backlog of already-built applications – this overhaul is a task that must be successfully executed before IT can move out from the tremendous maintenance burden that saps budget from innovative projects.

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