Enterprising Developments

SOA or Cloud? You be the Judge

Joe McKendrick
Insurance Experts' Forum, August 4, 2010

Lately, I've been involved in chatter across the blogosphere and analysphere over the distinction between service-oriented architecture (SOA) and private clouds.

There's good reason for the confusion: SOA, in development in recent years, focuses on the development and delivery of shared services across enterprise walls; whereas, private clouds focus on the development and delivery of shared services across enterprise walls. See how different they are?

Okay, a way to distinguish the concepts is that SOA is about the architecture of the supporting systems; cloud is the delivery mechanisms. That still hasn't stopped vendors from “cloud-washing” their formerly SOA-centric products, such as governance and integration tools, and branding them as “cloud” solutions.

One Gartner analyst, for instance, considers SOA and cloud computing to be very different concepts, and cautions against confusing the two. SOA deals with underlying technology, cloud deals with business delivery, says David Mitchell Smith.

“People will say ‘we are doing SOA so we are ready for the cloud’, but the difference between SOA services and the cloud context is huge,” Smith says. “With cloud, you pay for the outcome, not the technology. In cloud, the service terminology you are focusing on is a relationship between service provider and consumer, not technology provider and consumer.”

However, other industry thinkers say effective cloud computing depends on the ability to deploy key SOA tenets: governance, loosely coupled systems, sharable services.

As insurance companies build on their service-oriented deployments and move to private clouds, expect to see plenty of market confusion of where SOA ends and cloud begins. But one thing is certain: an effective SOA deployment can lay the groundwork for cloud formations. Either way, many of our applications and systems will be delivered as services that will cross many an enterprise wall.

Joe McKendrick is an author, consultant, blogger and frequent INN contributor specializing in information technology.

Readers are encouraged to respond to Joe using the “Add Your Comments” box below. He can also be reached at joe@mckendrickresearch.com.

This blog was exclusively written for Insurance Networking News. It may not be reposted or reused without permission from Insurance Networking News.

The opinions of bloggers on www.insurancenetworking.com do not necessarily reflect those of Insurance Networking News.

Comments (0)

Be the first to comment on this post using the section below.

Add Your Comments...

Already Registered?

If you have already registered to Insurance Networking News, please use the form below to login. When completed you will immeditely be directed to post a comment.

Forgot your password?

Not Registered?

You must be registered to post a comment. Click here to register.

Blog Archive

Global Supply Chain, Local Problem

As a technology provider, your clientís ability to deliver products and services to their customers, when and where they need them, is at the heart of their business success.

Legacy Systems Are Increasingly a Competitive Handicap

Legacy systems, while reliable, increasingly hold insurers back, a new study finds

From Her to Watson, and What’s Next?

Imagine a learning system that can replace the performance of your best employee to provide the same level of support across the organization.

Five Reasons to Software-Define Your Operations

It may be possible to provision key services with the click of a mouse, but benefits go well beyond that.

3 Policy Admin Conversion Considerations

Insurers would be wise to learn these lessons before formulating a strategy to convert policies to a new policy administration system.

Boyle’s 4th Law - Response Time Matters!

Why many companies donít do a good job of measuring the thing that clients value the most.