Tag Archives: SOA standards

Beyond Big Data

By Chris Harding, The Open Group

The big bang that started The Open Group Conference in Newport Beach was, appropriately, a presentation related to astronomy. Chris Gerty gave a keynote on Big Data at NASA, where he is Deputy Program Manager of the Open Innovation Program. He told us how visualizing deep space and its celestial bodies created understanding and enabled new discoveries. Everyone who attended felt inspired to explore the universe of Big Data during the rest of the conference. And that exploration – as is often the case with successful space missions – left us wondering what lies beyond.

The Big Data Conference Plenary

The second presentation on that Monday morning brought us down from the stars to the nuts and bolts of engineering. Mechanical devices require regular maintenance to keep functioning. Processing the mass of data generated during their operation can improve safety and cut costs. For example, airlines can overhaul aircraft engines when it needs doing, rather than on a fixed schedule that has to be frequent enough to prevent damage under most conditions, but might still fail to anticipate failure in unusual circumstances. David Potter and Ron Schuldt lead two of The Open Group initiatives, Quantum Lifecycle management (QLM) and the Universal Data Element Framework (UDEF). They explained how a semantic approach to product lifecycle management can facilitate the big-data processing needed to achieve this aim.

Chris Gerty was then joined by Andras Szakal, vice-president and chief technology officer at IBM US Federal IMT, Robert Weisman, chief executive officer of Build The Vision, and Jim Hietala, vice-president of Security at The Open Group, in a panel session on Big Data that was moderated by Dana Gardner of Interarbor Solutions. As always, Dana facilitated a fascinating discussion. Key points made by the panelists included: the trend to monetize data; the need to ensure veracity and usefulness; the need for security and privacy; the expectation that data warehouse technology will exist and evolve in parallel with map/reduce “on-the-fly” analysis; the importance of meaningful presentation of the data; integration with cloud and mobile technology; and the new ways in which Big Data can be used to deliver business value.

More on Big Data

In the afternoons of Monday and Tuesday, and on most of Wednesday, the conference split into streams. These have presentations that are more technical than the plenary, going deeper into their subjects. It’s a pity that you can’t be in all the streams at once. (At one point I couldn’t be in any of them, as there was an important side meeting to discuss the UDEF, which is in one of the areas that I support as forum director). Fortunately, there were a few great stream presentations that I did manage to get to.

On the Monday afternoon, Tom Plunkett and Janet Mostow of Oracle presented a reference architecture that combined Hadoop and NoSQL with traditional RDBMS, streaming, and complex event processing, to enable Big Data analysis. One application that they described was to trace the relations between particular genes and cancer. This could have big benefits in disease prediction and treatment. Another was to predict the movements of protesters at a demonstration through analysis of communications on social media. The police could then concentrate their forces in the right place at the right time.

Jason Bloomberg, president of Zapthink – now part of Dovel – is always thought-provoking. His presentation featured the need for governance vitality to cope with ever changing tools to handle Big Data of ever increasing size, “crowdsourcing” to channel the efforts of many people into solving a problem, and business transformation that is continuous rather than a one-time step from “as is” to “to be.”

Later in the week, I moderated a discussion on Architecting for Big Data in the Cloud. We had a well-balanced panel made up of TJ Virdi of Boeing, Mark Skilton of Capgemini and Tom Plunkett of Oracle. They made some excellent points. Big Data analysis provides business value by enabling better understanding, leading to better decisions. The analysis is often an iterative process, with new questions emerging as answers are found. There is no single application that does this analysis and provides the visualization needed for understanding, but there are a number of products that can be used to assist. The role of the data scientist in formulating the questions and configuring the visualization is critical. Reference models for the technology are emerging but there are as yet no commonly-accepted standards.

The New Enterprise Platform

Jogging is a great way of taking exercise at conferences, and I was able to go for a run most mornings before the meetings started at Newport Beach. Pacific Coast Highway isn’t the most interesting of tracks, but on Tuesday morning I was soon up in Castaways Park, pleasantly jogging through the carefully-nurtured natural coastal vegetation, with views over the ocean and its margin of high-priced homes, slipways, and yachts. I reflected as I ran that we had heard some interesting things about Big Data, but it is now an established topic. There must be something new coming over the horizon.

The answer to what this might be was suggested in the first presentation of that day’s plenary, Mary Ann Mezzapelle, security strategist for HP Enterprise Services, talked about the need to get security right for Big Data and the Cloud. But her scope was actually wider. She spoke of the need to secure the “third platform” – the term coined by IDC to describe the convergence of social, cloud and mobile computing with Big Data.

Securing Big Data

Mary Ann’s keynote was not about the third platform itself, but about what should be done to protect it. The new platform brings with it a new set of security threats, and the increasing scale of operation makes it increasingly important to get the security right. Mary Ann presented a thoughtful analysis founded on a risk-based approach.

She was followed by Adrian Lane, chief technology officer at Securosis, who pointed out that Big Data processing using NoSQL has a different architecture from traditional relational data processing, and requires different security solutions. This does not necessarily mean new techniques; existing techniques can be used in new ways. For example, Kerberos may be used to secure inter-node communications in map/reduce processing. Adrian’s presentation completed the Tuesday plenary sessions.

Service Oriented Architecture

The streams continued after the plenary. I went to the Distributed Services Architecture stream, which focused on SOA.

Bill Poole, enterprise architect at JourneyOne in Australia, described how to use the graphical architecture modeling language ArchiMate® to model service-oriented architectures. He illustrated this using a case study of a global mining organization that wanted to consolidate its two existing bespoke inventory management applications into a single commercial off-the-shelf application. It’s amazing how a real-world case study can make a topic come to life, and the audience certainly responded warmly to Bill’s excellent presentation.

Ali Arsanjani, chief technology officer for Business Performance and Service Optimization, and Heather Kreger, chief technology officer for International Standards, both at IBM, described the range of SOA standards published by The Open Group and available for use by enterprise architects. Ali was one of the brains that developed the SOA Reference Architecture, and Heather is a key player in international standards activities for SOA, where she has helped The Open Group’s Service Integration Maturity Model and SOA Governance Framework to become international standards, and is working on an international standard SOA reference architecture.

Cloud Computing

To start Wednesday’s Cloud Computing streams, TJ Virdi, senior enterprise architect at The Boeing Company, discussed use of TOGAF® to develop an Enterprise Architecture for a Cloud ecosystem. A large enterprise such as Boeing may use many Cloud service providers, enabling collaboration between corporate departments, partners, and regulators in a complex ecosystem. Architecting for this is a major challenge, and The Open Group’s TOGAF for Cloud Ecosystems project is working to provide guidance.

Stuart Boardman of KPN gave a different perspective on Cloud ecosystems, with a case study from the energy industry. An ecosystem may not necessarily be governed by a single entity, and the participants may not always be aware of each other. Energy generation and consumption in the Netherlands is part of a complex international ecosystem involving producers, consumers, transporters, and traders of many kinds. A participant may be involved in several ecosystems in several ways: a farmer for example, might consume energy, have wind turbines to produce it, and also participate in food production and transport ecosystems.

Penelope Gordon of 1-Plug Corporation explained how choice and use of business metrics can impact Cloud service providers. She worked through four examples: a start-up Software-as-a-Service provider requiring investment, an established company thinking of providing its products as cloud services, an IT department planning to offer an in-house private Cloud platform, and a government agency seeking budget for government Cloud.

Mark Skilton, director at Capgemini in the UK, gave a presentation titled “Digital Transformation and the Role of Cloud Computing.” He covered a very broad canvas of business transformation driven by technological change, and illustrated his theme with a case study from the pharmaceutical industry. New technology enables new business models, giving competitive advantage. Increasingly, the introduction of this technology is driven by the business, rather than the IT side of the enterprise, and it has major challenges for both sides. But what new technologies are in question? Mark’s presentation had Cloud in the title, but also featured social and mobile computing, and Big Data.

The New Trend

On Thursday morning I took a longer run, to and round Balboa Island. With only one road in or out, its main street of shops and restaurants is not a through route and the island has the feel of a real village. The SOA Work Group Steering Committee had found an excellent, and reasonably priced, Italian restaurant there the previous evening. There is a clear resurgence of interest in SOA, partly driven by the use of service orientation – the principle, rather than particular protocols – in Cloud Computing and other new technologies. That morning I took the track round the shoreline, and was reminded a little of Dylan Thomas’s “fishing boat bobbing sea.” Fishing here is for leisure rather than livelihood, but I suspected that the fishermen, like those of Thomas’s little Welsh village, spend more time in the bar than on the water.

I thought about how the conference sessions had indicated an emerging trend. This is not a new technology but the combination of four current technologies to create a new platform for enterprise IT: Social, Cloud, and Mobile computing, and Big Data. Mary Ann Mezzapelle’s presentation had referenced IDC’s “third platform.” Other discussions had mentioned Gartner’s “Nexus of forces,” the combination of Social, Cloud and Mobile computing with information that Gartner says is transforming the way people and businesses relate to technology, and will become a key differentiator of business and technology management. Mark Skilton had included these same four technologies in his presentation. Great minds, and analyst corporations, think alike!

I thought also about the examples and case studies in the stream presentations. Areas as diverse as healthcare, manufacturing, energy and policing are using the new technologies. Clearly, they can deliver major business benefits. The challenge for enterprise architects is to maximize those benefits through pragmatic architectures.

Emerging Standards

On the way back to the hotel, I remarked again on what I had noticed before, how beautifully neat and carefully maintained the front gardens bordering the sidewalk are. I almost felt that I was running through a public botanical garden. Is there some ordinance requiring people to keep their gardens tidy, with severe penalties for anyone who leaves a lawn or hedge unclipped? Is a miserable defaulter fitted with a ball and chain, not to be removed until the untidy vegetation has been properly trimmed, with nail clippers? Apparently not. People here keep their gardens tidy because they want to. The best standards are like that: universally followed, without use or threat of sanction.

Standards are an issue for the new enterprise platform. Apart from the underlying standards of the Internet, there really aren’t any. The area isn’t even mapped out. Vendors of Social, Cloud, Mobile, and Big Data products and services are trying to stake out as much valuable real estate as they can. They have no interest yet in boundaries with neatly-clipped hedges.

This is a stage that every new technology goes through. Then, as it matures, the vendors understand that their products and services have much more value when they conform to standards, just as properties have more value in an area where everything is neat and well-maintained.

It may be too soon to define those standards for the new enterprise platform, but it is certainly time to start mapping out the area, to understand its subdivisions and how they inter-relate, and to prepare the way for standards. Following the conference, The Open Group has announced a new Forum, provisionally titled Open Platform 3.0, to do just that.

The SOA and Cloud Work Groups

Thursday was my final day of meetings at the conference. The plenary and streams presentations were done. This day was for working meetings of the SOA and Cloud Work Groups. I also had an informal discussion with Ron Schuldt about a new approach for the UDEF, following up on the earlier UDEF side meeting. The conference hallways, as well as the meeting rooms, often see productive business done.

The SOA Work Group discussed a certification program for SOA professionals, and an update to the SOA Reference Architecture. The Open Group is working with ISO and the IEEE to define a standard SOA reference architecture that will have consensus across all three bodies.

The Cloud Work Group had met earlier to further the TOGAF for Cloud ecosystems project. Now it worked on its forthcoming white paper on business performance metrics. It also – though this was not on the original agenda – discussed Gartner’s Nexus of Forces, and the future role of the Work Group in mapping out the new enterprise platform.

Mapping the New Enterprise Platform

At the start of the conference we looked at how to map the stars. Big Data analytics enables people to visualize the universe in new ways, reach new understandings of what is in it and how it works, and point to new areas for future exploration.

As the conference progressed, we found that Big Data is part of a convergence of forces. Social, mobile, and Cloud Computing are being combined with Big Data to form a new enterprise platform. The development of this platform, and its roll-out to support innovative applications that deliver more business value, is what lies beyond Big Data.

At the end of the conference we were thinking about mapping the new enterprise platform. This will not require sophisticated data processing and analysis. It will take discussions to create a common understanding, and detailed committee work to draft the guidelines and standards. This work will be done by The Open Group’s new Open Platform 3.0 Forum.

The next Open Group conference is in the week of April 15, in Sydney, Australia. I’m told that there’s some great jogging there. More importantly, we’ll be reflecting on progress in mapping Open Platform 3.0, and thinking about what lies ahead. I’m looking forward to it already.

Dr. Chris Harding is Director for Interoperability and SOA at The Open Group. He has been with The Open Group for more than ten years, and is currently responsible for managing and supporting its work on interoperability, including SOA and interoperability aspects of Cloud Computing. He is a member of the BCS, the IEEE and the AEA, and is a certified TOGAF practitioner.

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The Open Group Cloud Computing Work Group Web Jam on CIO Priorities

By E.G. Nadhan, HP

Recently, I shared my experience leading the first Web Jam within The Open Group Cloud Work Group. We are now gearing up to have another one of these sessions – this time around, the topic being CIO priorities as driven by Cloud Computing. Even though the Web Jam is an internal session held within The Open Group Cloud Work Group, we want to factor in other opinions as well – hence this blog where I share my perspective on how Cloud Computing is defining the priorities for the CIO. I am basing this perspective on the findings from a survey conducted by IDG Research as published in this white paper on IT priorities where I was one of the persons interviewed.

I would categorize the CIO priorities across five drivers: customers, business, innovation, finance and governance.

1. Customers. CIOs must listen to their customers (especially shareholders). Cloud Computing is breeding a new generation of customer-focused CIOs.  Shareholders are driving IT to the Cloud. At the same time, enterprises need to be at least as social as their customers so that they can process the brontobytes of data generated through these channels.

2. Business. CIOs must shift their attention from technical matters to business issues. This is not surprising. As I outlined in an earlier blog post, the right way to transform to Cloud Computing has always been driven by the business needs of the enterprise. When addressing technical requests, CIOs need to first determine the underlying, business-driven root cause of the request.

3. Innovation. CIOs must make innovation part of the IT blood stream. CIOs need to take steps today to innovate the planet for 2020.  For example, the Cloud facilitates the storage of brontobytes of data that can be informationalized through data analysis techniques by those who have the sexiest job of the 21st Century – Data Scientist.

4. Finance. CIOs must have the right mechanisms in place to track the ROI of Cloud Computing.  As fellow blogger from The Open Group Chris Harding states, CIOs must not fly in the Cloud by the seat of their pants.  Note that tracking the ROI is not a one-time activity. CIOs must be ready to answer the ROI question on the Cloud.

5. Governance. CIOs must ensure that there is a robust Cloud governance model across the enterprise. In the past, I’ve explained how we can build upon SOA Governance to realize Cloud governance.  As a co-chair for the Cloud Governance project within The Open Group, I have a lot of interest in this space and would like to hear your thoughts.

So, there you have it. Those are the top 5 priorities for the CIO driven by key Cloud Computing forces. How about you? Are there other CIO priorities that you can share? I would be interested to know and quite happy to engage in a discussion as well.

Once the web jam has taken place, I am planning on sharing the discussions in this blog so that we can continue our discussion.

NadhanHP Distinguished Technologist, E.G.Nadhan has over 25 years of experience in the IT industry across the complete spectrum of selling, delivering and managing enterprise level solutions for HP customers. He is the founding co-chair for The Open Group SOCCI project and is also the founding co-chair for the Open Group Cloud Computing Governance project. Twitter handle @NadhanAtHP.

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Discover the World’s First Technical Cloud Computing Standard… for the Second Time

By E.G. Nadhan, HP

Have you heard of the first technical standard for Cloud Computing—SOCCI (pronounced “saw-key”)? Wondering what it stands for? Well, it stands for Service Oriented Cloud Computing Infrastructure, or SOCCI.

Whether you are just beginning to deploy solutions in the cloud or if you already have existing cloud solutions deployed, SOCCI can be applied in terms of each organization’s different situation. Where ever you are on the spectrum of cloud adoption, the standard offers a well-defined set of architecture building blocks with specific roles outlined in detail. Thus, the standard can be used in multiple ways including:

  • Defining the service oriented aspects of your infrastructure in the cloud as part of your reference architecture
  • Validating your reference architecture to ensure that these building blocks have been appropriately addressed

The standard provides you an opportunity to systematically perform the following in the context of your environment:

  • Identify synergies between service orientation and the cloud
  • Extend adoption of  traditional and service-oriented infrastructure in the cloud
  • Apply the consumer, provider and developer viewpoints on your cloud solution
  • Incorporate foundational building blocks into enterprise architecture for infrastructure services in the cloud
  • Implement cloud-based solutions using different infrastructure deployment models
  • Realize business solutions referencing the business scenario analyzed in this standard

Are you going to be SOCCI’s first application? Are you among the cloud innovators—opting not to wait when the benefits can be had today?

Incidentally, I will be presenting this standard for the second time at the HP Discover Conference in Frankfurt on 5th Dec 2012.   I plan on discussing this standard, as well as its application in a hypothetical business scenario so that we can collectively brainstorm on how it could apply in different business environments.

In an earlier tweet chat on cloud standards, I tweeted: “Waiting for standards is like waiting for Godot.” After the #DT2898 session at HP Discover 2012, I expect to tweet, “Waiting for standards may be like waiting for Godot, but waiting for the application of a standard does not have to be so.”

A version of this blog post originally appeared on the Journey through Enterprise IT Services Blog.

HP Distinguished Technologist and Cloud Advisor, E.G.Nadhan has over 25 years of experience in the IT industry across the complete spectrum of selling, delivering and managing enterprise level solutions for HP customers. He is the founding co-chair for The Open Group SOCCI project and is also the founding co-chair for the Open Group Cloud Computing Governance project. Connect with Nadhan on: Twitter, Facebook, Linkedin and Journey Blog.

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Build Upon SOA Governance to Realize Cloud Governance

By E.G. Nadhan, HP

The Open Group SOA Governance Framework just became an International Standard available to government and enterprises worldwide. At the same time, I read an insightful post by ZDNet Blogger, Joe McKendrick who states that Cloud and automation drive new growth in SOA governance market. I have always maintained that the fundamentals of Cloud Computing are based upon SOA principles. This brings up the next natural question: Where are we with Cloud Governance?

I co-chair the Open Group project for defining the Cloud Governance framework. Fundamentally, the Cloud Governance framework builds upon The Open Group SOA Governance Framework and provides additional context for Cloud Governance in relation to other governance standards in the industry. We are with Cloud Governance today where we were with SOA Governance a few years back when The Open Group started on the SOA Governance framework project.

McKendrick goes on to say that the tools and methodologies built and stabilized over the past few years for SOA projects are seeing renewed life as enterprises move to the Cloud model. In McKendrick’s words, “it is just a matter of getting the word out.” That may be the case for the SOA governance market. But, is that so for Cloud Governance?

When it comes to Cloud Governance, it is more than just getting the word out. We must make progress in the following areas for Cloud Governance to become real:

  • Sustained adoption. Enterprises must continuously adopt cloud based services balancing it with outsourcing alternatives. This will give more visibility to the real-life use cases where Cloud Governance can be exercised to validate and refine the enabling set of governance models.
  • Framework Definition. Finally, Cloud Governance needs a standard framework to facilitate its adoption. Just like the SOA Governance Framework, the definition of a standard for the Cloud Governance Framework as well as the supporting reference models will pave the way for the consistent adoption of Cloud Governance.

Once these progressions are made, Cloud Governance will be positioned like SOA Governance—and it will then be just a “matter of getting the word out.”

A version of this blog post originally appeared on the Journey through Enterprise IT Services Blog.

HP Distinguished Technologist and Cloud Advisor, E.G.Nadhan has over 25 years of experience in the IT industry across the complete spectrum of selling, delivering and managing enterprise level solutions for HP customers. He is the founding co-chair for The Open Group SOCCI project and is also the founding co-chair for the Open Group Cloud Computing Governance project. Connect with Nadhan on: Twitter, Facebook, Linkedin and Journey Blog.

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The Open Group SOA Governance Framework Becomes an International Standard

By Heather Kreger, CTO International Standards, IBM and Chris Harding, Director for Interoperability, The Open Group

The Open Group SOA Governance Framework is now an International Standard, having passed its six month ratification vote in ISO and IEC.

According to Gartner, effective governance is a key success factor for Service-Oriented Architecture (SOA) solutions today and in the future. This endorsement of The Open Group standard by ISO is exciting, because it means that this vendor-neutral, proven SOA governance standard is now available to governments and enterprises world-wide.

Published by The Open Group in 2009, the SOA Governance Framework enables organizations—public, private, large and small—to develop their own robust governance regimens, rapidly and using industry best practices. This substantially reduces the cost and risk of using SOA. As an international standard, the framework will now provide authoritative guidelines for companies across the globe to implement sound SOA governance practices.

The framework includes a standard governance reference model and a mechanism for enterprises to customize and implement the compliance, dispensation and communication processes that are appropriate for them. Long term vitality is an essential part of the framework, and it gives guidance on evolving these processes over time in the light of changing business and technical circumstances, ensuring the on-going alignment of business and IT.

This is The Open Group’s second international standard on SOA, the first being the Open Services Integration Maturity Model (OSIMM), which passed ISO ratification in January 2012. Since then, we have seen OSIMM being considered for adoption as a national standard in countries such as China and Korea. We are hoping that the new SOA Governance Framework International Standard will be given the same consideration. The Open Group also contributed its SOA Ontology and SOA Reference Architecture standards to JTC1 and is engaged in the development of international standards on SOA there.

In addition to submitting our SOA standards for international ratification, The Open Group is actively leveraging its SOA standards in its Cloud architecture projects. In particular, the Cloud Governance Project in The Open Group Cloud Computing Work Group is developing a Cloud Governance Framework based on and extending the SOA Governance Framework. This emerging standard will identify cloud specific governance issues and offer guidance and best practices for addressing them.

Finally, The Open Group is engaged in the development of Cloud architecture standards in JTC1, and in particular in the new Collaboration between ISO/IEC JTC1 SC38 and ITUT’s Cloud groups to create a common Combined Team Cloud Vocabulary and Combined Team Cloud Architecture. All of this is very exciting work, both for the SOA and for the Cloud Computing Work Group. Stay tuned for more developments as these projects progress!

Resources

Heather Kreger is IBM’s lead architect for Smarter Planet, Policy, and SOA Standards in the IBM Software Group, with 15 years of standards experience. She has led the development of standards for Cloud, SOA, Web services, Management and Java in numerous standards organizations, including W3C, OASIS, DMTF, and Open Group.Heather is currently co-chair for The Open Group’s SOA Work Group and liaison for the Open Group SOA and Cloud Work Groups to ISO/IEC JTC1 SC7 SOA SG and INCITS DAPS38 (US TAG to ISO/IEC JTC 1 SC38). Heather is also the author of numerous articles and specifications, as well as the book Java and JMX, Building Manageable Systems, and most recently was co-editor of Navigating the SOA Open Standards Landscape Around Architecture.

Dr. Chris Harding is Director for Interoperability and SOA at The Open Group. He has been with The Open Group for more than ten years, and is currently responsible for managing and supporting its work on interoperability, including SOA and interoperability aspects of Cloud Computing. He is a member of the BCS, the IEEE and the AEA, and is a certified TOGAF practitioner.

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I Thought I had Said it All – and Then Comes Service Technology

By E.G. Nadhan, HP

It is not the first time that I am blogging about the evolution of fundamental service orientation principles serving as an effective foundation for cloud computing. You may recall my earlier posts in The Open Group blog on Top 5 tell-tale signs of SOA evolving to the Cloud, followed by The Right Way to Transform to Cloud Computing, following up with my latest post on this topic about taking a lesson from history to integrate to the Cloud. I thought I had said it all and there was nothing more to blog about on this topic other than diving into more details.

Until I saw the post by Forbes blogger Joe McKendrick on Before There Was Cloud Computing, There was SOA. In this post, McKendrick introduces a new term – Service Technology – which resonates with me because it cements the concept of a service-oriented thinking that technically enables the realization of SOA within the enterprise followed by its sustained evolution to cloud computing. In fact, the 5th International SOA, Cloud and Service Technology Symposium is a conference centered around this concept.

Even if this is a natural evolution, we must still exercise caution that we don’t fall prey to the same pitfalls of integration like the IT world did in the past. I elaborate further on this topic in my post on The Open Group blog: Take a lesson from History to Integrate to the Cloud.

I was intrigued by another comment in McKendrick’s post about “Cloud being inherently service-oriented.” Almost. I would slightly rephrase it to Cloud done right being inherently service-oriented. So, what do I mean by Cloud done right. Voila:The Right Way to Transform to Cloud Computing on The Open Group blog.

So, how about you? Where are you with your SOA strategy? Have you been selectively transforming to the Cloud? Do you have “Service Technology” in place within your enterprise?

I would like to know, and something tells me McKendrick will as well.

So, it would be an interesting exercise to see if the first Technical standard for Cloud Computing published by The Open Group should be extended to accommodate the concept of Service Technology. Perhaps, it is already an integral part of this standard in concept. Please let me know if you are interested. As the co-chair for this Open Group project, I am very interested in working with you on taking next steps.

A version of this blog post originally appeared on the Journey through Enterprise IT Services Blog.

HP Distinguished Technologist and Cloud Advisor, E.G.Nadhan has over 25 years of experience in the IT industry across the complete spectrum of selling, delivering and managing enterprise level solutions for HP customers. He is the founding co-chair for The Open Group SOCCI project and is also the founding co-chair for the Open Group Cloud Computing Governance project. Connect with Nadhan on: Twitter, Facebook, Linkedin and Journey Blog.

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The Newest from SOA: The SOA Ontology Technical Standard

By Heather Kreger, IBM

The Open Group just announced the availability of The Open Group SOA Ontology Technical Standard.

Ontology?? Sounds very ‘semantic Web,’ doesn’t it? Just smacks of reasoning engines. What on earth do architects using SOA want with reasoning engines?

Actually, Ontologies are misunderstood — an Ontology is simply the definition of a set of concepts and the relationships between them for a particular domain — in this case, the domain is SOA.

They don’t HAVE to be used for reasoning… or semantic Web. And they are more than a simple glossary which defines terms, because they also define relationships between them — something important for SOA, we thought. It’s also important to note that they are more formal than Reference Models, usually by providing representations in OWL (just in case you want to use popular tools for Ontology and reasoners).

What would an architect do with THIS ontology?Image credit: jscreationzs

It can be used simply to read and understand the key concepts of SOA, and more importantly, a set of definitions and UNDERSTANDING of key concepts that you can agree to use with others in your company and between organizations. Making sure you are ‘speaking the same language’ is essential for any architect to be able to communicate effectively with IT, business, and marketing professionals within the enterprise as well as with vendors and suppliers outside the enterprise. This common language can help ensure that you can ask the right questions and interpret the answers you get unambiguously.

It can be used as a basis for the models for the SOA solution as well. In fact, this is happening in the SOA repository standard under development in OASIS, S-RAMP, where they have used the SOA Ontology as the foundational business model for registry/repository integration.

The Ontology can also be augmented with additional related domain-specific ontologies; for example, on Governance or Business Process Management… or even in a vertical industry like retail where ARTS is developing service models. In fact, we, the SOA Ontology project, tried to define the minimum, absolutely core concepts needed for SOA and allow other domain experts to define additional details for Policy, Process, Service Contract, etc.

This Ontology was developed to be consistent with existing and developing SOA standards including OMG’s SOA/ML and BPMN and those in The Open Group SOA Workgroup: SOA Governance Framework, OSIMM, and the SOA Reference Architecture. It seems it would have been good to have developed this standard before now, but the good news is that it is grounded in extensive real-world experience developing, deploying and communicating about SOA solutions over the past five years. The Ontology reflects the lessons learned about what terms NOT to use to avoid confusion, and how to best distinguish among some common and often overused concepts like service composition, process, service contracts, and policy and their roles in SOA.

Have a look at the new SOA Ontology and see if it can help you in your communications for SOA. It’s available to you free at this link: http://www.opengroup.org/bookstore/catalog/c104.htm

Additional Links:

Heather KregerHeather Kreger is IBM’s lead architect for Smarter Planet, Policy, and SOA Standards in the IBM Software Group, with 15 years of standards experience. She has led the development of standards for Cloud, SOA, Web services, Management and Java in numerous standards organizations, including W3C, OASIS, DMTF, and Open Group. Heather is currently co-chair for The Open Group’s SOA Work Group and liaison for the Open Group SOA and Cloud Work Groups to ISO/IEC JTC1 SC7 SOA SG and INCITS DAPS38 (US TAG to ISO/IEC JTC 1 SC38). Heather is also the author of numerous articles and specifications, as well as the book Java and JMX, Building Manageable Systems, and most recently was co-editor of Navigating the SOA Open Standards Landscape Around Architecture.

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