Virtualization Conference & Expo News Desk
Virtues of Service Virtualization in a Cloud
Service Virtualization is a crucial part of Federated SOA and cloud-based deployments
By: Mamoon Yunus
Jan. 1, 2010 07:00 PM
Virtualization Expo on Ulitzer
In the virtualization diagram above, services A, B and C are deployed on-premise in the corporate data center whereas service D, E, and F are deployed off-premise at a cloud hosting provider such as Amazon EC2 or Rackspace. The services produced are imported into a Cloud Gateway such as Forum Sentry, aggregated and then published to the consumers based on the credentials provided by the consumers at design-time.
VIRTUES OF SERVICE VIRTUALIZATION
Security: The virtual WSDLs expose or hide operations extracted from imported source WSDLs selectively based on consumer authorization levels. The WSDL endpoints are cloaked with only intermediary's endpoints exposed. Security is centeralized on the cloud gateway and decoupled from the business applications. As services morph, the security policies can be controlled centrally. Any security exposure can be rapidly remediated at the gateway without requiring immediate attention for "patching" a large number of services deployed across data centers and cloud providers. Endpoint URL obfuscation that removes indications of technology being deployed such as .jsp, .asmx, .php extensions provides a level of comfort to consumers by indicating a well integrated and standardized set of services. Endpoint obfuscation also decreases techology-stack (Java, .NET, LAMP) specific attack vectors thereby reducing the attack surface area increased by exposing services.
Consistency: Virtualization provides the ability to select operations from multiple WSDLs and expose them to clients as a coherent single WSDL. The alternate path to this technique is to provide multiple WSDLs generated by each container. Typical containers take a class file or set of methods and generate a set of service definitions as a WSDL file. Virtualization enables importing and aggregating such services generated from a variety of service container such as IBM WebSphere, WebLogic Server, Apache Axis, and .NET, selectively picking services that a consumer is authorized to see, and then generating a sub-set WSDL that only contains artifacts (XSD Schema, Message Definitions, Operation Names, Binding) that a consumer is allowed to see.
Productivity:The main benefit of virtualization is the ability to mix and match operations without having to mannually copy and paste parts of the desired WSDLs into new WSDL files. It allows a corporations to generate a composite library of all supported operations and only expose the ones required for a particular consumer. Service virtualization also provides a central location for service version management and service cataloguing.
Some of the challenges of Service Virtualization addressed by sophisticated Cloud Gateways, such as Forum Sentry include:
Service Virtualization is a crucial part of Federated SOA and cloud-based deployments. The vices of free-for-all operations can quickly result in chaos. Highly distributed enviroments that require automated interaction with suppliers and customers as well as external service providers (SaaS, PaaS, IaaS) can only be controlled through cloud gateways that provide strong service virtualization.
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