Making Cloud a Reality for Enterprises via SOA Governance
Governance is the key for enterprises to successfully deliver applications in the cloud
Jul. 21, 2009 08:15 AM
Cloud computing is slowly gaining credibility and traction in the enterprise world. As giants such as Google and Amazon productize their massive cloud infrastructures, moving enterprise applications to the public cloud seems a more realistic possibility. The advantages of an enterprise application leveraging the public cloud sound like utopia - lowered total cost of ownership and overhead costs, ease of maintenance, inherent high availability and scalability that is built into the infrastructure. Yet when the theory of moving to the cloud is put into practice, the biggest hurdle that stalls the success of the transition is governance. This article analyzes its importance and the various aspects of governance in the realm of cloud computing.
Governance in the Cloud
Here are some of the key aspects to consider around governance in the cloud.
Answering the 4 Ws: Enterprises need to have fine-grained control to answer the 4 Ws:
To exercise this level of application control, it is mandatory to have a well-defined mechanism to define these security, auditing, and compliance policies. In addition, defining and managing policies should be decoupled from the development of the service and the underlying distributed cloud infrastructure so they can change independently of each other. For example, a new regulatory requirement may need to be enforced through a policy on an application. However, changes in the policy should not require rewriting the application. Also decoupling a policy allows it to be applied to multiple applications or services. While design and development of the policy should be decoupled from the application, the actual enforcement should be part and parcel of the actual application so there is a reduced chance of breach of contract. These seemingly contradictory requirements need to be met for successful governance of the enterprise application in the cloud.
Governance is the key for enterprises to successfully deliver applications in the cloud. All aspects of lifecycle and operational governance assume a level of complexity when considered for the cloud. As the industry recognizes the need for governance as an enabler to successful adoption of the cloud, and the unique set of challenges associated with the cloud deployments, we see new offerings emerge across the spectrum. Considering the nascency of the market, most offerings address only a few of the aspects discussed in the previous section. It is imperative to consider a holistic approach to governance that addresses all aspects of it rather than just one or two criteria. To get an enterprise application up and running on the cloud, there is a need for opaqueness on the underlying infrastructure so that the users can focus on the business use that the enterprise application is meant to address.
Cloud platforms have emerged as the solution to this problem where the personnel associated with the application such as developers, business, operational and administrative users can focus on their specific use while the cloud platform leverages the power of the underlying distributed system. A cloud platform that provides comprehensive coverage of lifecycle and operational governance and addresses all the obstacles discussed in the earlier part of this article can be a powerful ally in making enterprise applications successful in leveraging the infinite computing power of the cloud.
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