How to architect governance

The Lego metaphor for SOA is a useful way of thinking about the problem of governance. Imagine all the different components that go into your Web services as individual Legos. They may be different shapes and

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colors, but ultimately they're all designed to snap together.

Yet how do you prevent all those Legos from being strewn across the floor? Well, you should probably keep them in a toy box. That's your SOA. And instead of just piling them into the toy box willy-nilly you might want to organize that toy box so you can find the Legos you need when you want them. That's your SOA governance.

Is that a gross oversimplification? Yes, but it's an easy to describe SOA to someone during an elevator ride. Of course, if you're reading this, you probably don't work all day inside an elevator, specializing in brief metaphor-laden conversations.

Chances are you actually have to build one of those service-oriented architectures and you're looking for meaningful insight on how to do it. This week SearchWebServices.com will debut the first lesson in a brand new SOA School aimed at architects looking for practical guidance on service-orientation.

The lesson will revolve around SOA governance and it will lay out the chief architectural considerations around that topic. Inside the lesson will be a Webcast on SOA governance with Everware-CBDI principal consultant Lawrence Wilkes, a written tip on WS-Policy from Citigroup senior architect mark Temple-Raston and a podcast interview with Dan Foody of Progress Software, who is also a longtime SearchWebServices.com site expert on the subject of SOA.

Well beyond laying out the principles of governance, this lesson will identify what an architect or manager needs to do to achieve good SOA governance.

Last week we had a tip on how to use events to bridge decoupled service boundaries. We also had a podcast interview with "Service Oriented Architecture for Dummies" co-author Judith Hurwitz that's definitely worth checking out. Both are worth checking out if you plan on doing anything SOA-related during the course of the next year.

Now go organize that toy box.

This was first published in March 2007

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