SOA Governance: Something You Do, Not Buy
By David S. Linthicum
March 15, 2008 —
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Related Search Term(s): SOA
Recently I posted a blog entry that defines and categorizes the patterns of SOA governance technology that we’re seeing. In essence, I divided them into two major categories: design time and runtime, with a few shades of gray in the middle.
The posting sparked two major reactions. First, some thought it was dangerous to define and categorize SOA governance into no more than two areas. Second, I was reminded that I am forgetting the people, approaches, disciplines and the overarching process.
One thing I learned was that SOA governance has yet to be properly defined. Those selling SOA governance technology are trying to define it through the press and white papers, but the definition keeps changing over time.
The roots of SOA governance are with governance as defined by the older world of enterprise architecture (EA). In EA, governance is more of a management concept in which a single controlling body defines technology solutions and approaches for an entire enterprise. Without that, everyone would be building systems without a common strategy as to how all of those systems would work and play well together to form enterprise architecture. So, governance in that world is really enforcing discipline within the ranks, and when governance leverages tools, it does so to manage IT assets.
So, SOA governance is really EA governance taken to the world of SOA, with SOA being an architectural pattern. Thus, SOA governance is a governance pattern. This is according to me, by the way. Others have their own definitions, but that’s the point I’m trying to make here.
SOA governance is really best defined as: Creating and managing a guiding discipline around the design, development, testing, policies, implementation and management of core services found in a SOA.
So, it’s something you do, not something you buy.
Here are some other definitions I found in Wikipedia:
Anne Thomas Manes defines governance as “the processes that an enterprise puts in place to ensure that things are done... in accordance with best practices, architectural principles, government regulations, laws, and other determining factors. SOA governance refers to the processes used to govern adoption and implementation of SOA.”