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Business User’s Expectations with Cloud computing

Neil Ward-Dutton recently posted a comprehensive piece on Cloud computing, SaaS and SOA - the universal service network. He wrote that "Regardless of where services come from (and indeed because they will come from multiple places, creating cross-enterprise service networks), it's increasingly the case that in order to deliver effective IT capabilities in the 21st Century, you need to understand SOA principles and build technology and management structures that really support the principles of service orientation."

He then goes on to discuss two sets of business user expectations. First they expect flexibility. Neil writes, "when business teams that are using SaaS-based offerings learn about the infrastructure side of the story - how easy they can be to customise, extend, and integrate with - and ask why internally-developed systems don't exhibit the same qualities? Another slab of SOA pressure, that's what." The business will demand a high level of flexibility and control in how service-based offerings are composed and consumed.

Later Neil brings up the second expectation. He refers to Todd Biske, on ITIL and SOA, and states how it's "crucial to consider the full service lifecycle when you do SOA, and drive governance to ensure that you can deliver "real service" - not just code wrapped in XML-based interfaces." Then he offers some examples where the provider's idea of service doesn't match the consumer's expectation.

_MG_7244_sm In addition to flexibility, businesses want applications that work. These two points go to the heart of the need for higher levels of test automation and agility throughout the design and development process, as well as the benefits that virtualization can bring to both flexibility and getting good, ready data.

Without rapid, repeatable test cycles, you cannot achieve flexibility as development cycles get bogged down. This was the fate of one financial service institution before they moved from manual to automated testing. Service Virtualization can further accelerate the development process by eliminating the bottlenecks of constrained or unavailable systems as one European telco discovered.

Neil concludes that the "rise of cloud computing and SaaS should entice us to revisit our development-centred assumptions about SOA and search for a 'bigger picture' that focuses on consumer expectation and value first." One way to do this is to simplify the development process and enable faster iterations. This enables us to focus less on the integration challenges of the technology, and more on the business challenges the technology is designed to meet.


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