Web services from applications to other programs

Muglia's comments that something like Windows Azure may be a more scalable alternative to SOA don't add up," said Joe McKendrick, an independent analyst covering SOA and Cloud Computing. "SOA isn't a platform of some finite collection of technologies; it's a strategy, a philosophy if you'll, that specific services are often made available at any time, anywhere, to any consumer -- no matter the underlying technology the service creator and consumer are using at the time. Theoretically, SOA is as scalable as you would like it to be." A new role for SOA McKendrick does see the emergence of Cloud Computing creating a replacement role for the service-oriented approach to application development as "enabler of 'internal clouds' that enterprises are developing to raised service their business units." David Chappell, Principal of Chappell & Associates in San Francisco, agreed that any SOA vs. Cloud Computing debates would be an apples and oranges comparison. While there's some overlap between SOA and Cloud Computing," he said, "they also are deeply different. They solve different problems. They address different issues. But they overlap in some ways."

SOA provides Web services from applications to other programs, where the Cloud is about providing software services to finish users and running code, Chappell said. SOA is about exposing services to other programs," Chappell explained. "Most of the time those services are exposed by applications. for instance, if I even have my SAP application running my enterprise and that I expose services to other software running in my enterprise, that's an example of SOA." Web services running within the Cloud would still be a sort of SOA, in his view. f I run my ERP app within the Cloud and it exposes Web services to other applications in my organization from the Cloud, that's still SOA, Chappell said Conflation aler Cloud Computing provides a platform for a special quite service In Cloud Computing when people mention Software as a Service, they typically mean a service delivered to an individual through a browser, not an internet service," Chappell said. "So Software as a Service is different than SOA because you're delivering services to Solution providers play an advisory role in the cloud computing model

Should solution providers have their heads within the clouds? Given the online space dedicated to the cloud computing model over the past year, you would possibly think that the movement toward vendor- and partner-hosted applications is completed and over. But that's not the case. he truth is, the move to cloud-based computing is a component of a continuum that started decades ago. For the needs of this story, cloud computing is roughly like Software as a Service (SaaS) -- a model that pairs local devices tapping into server-based features and functions residing beyond the company firewall, hosted by an outdoor provider. the info transfer occurs over the online using standard protocols. So why the fuss now? Because the cloud computing model represents a crucial delivery option for functions that when resided only on a company's servers, storage farms and native PCs. Increased bandwidth nearly everywhere and therefore the falling price of storage and server hardware are other drivers, and virtualization is making the utilization of that storage and hardware far more efficient than within the past.

The question for the channel is whether or not IT solution providers should participate within the hosting process, assist it, or forego it altogether. the danger with the last option is that solution providers could cede account control and relationships to vendors. Google's success in delivering hosted services to consumers and Salesforce.com's ability to supply sales department automation (SFA) to business users are proof of concept. marketing research firm Gartner Inc. estimates that worldwide SaaS deployment revenue will pass the $6.4 billion mark this year, up 27% from $5.1 billion in 2007. Office suites and digital content creation are the fastest-growing application areas, consistent with Gartner. Microsoft lays out its cloud computing model Cloud computing is that the latest blip -- albeit an enormous one -- during a trend that included the ill-fated NetPC backed by Oracle CEO Larry Ellison within the 1980s, and more recently by ever more powerful cell phones and mobile devices that combine local storage and smarts with an array of powerful capabilities served up from outside.

Microsoft chief software architect Ray Ozzie said last week that the new cloud world is totally different from those earlier incarnations. He also disputed contentions that this newest wave isn't all it's cracked up to be. Speaking at the Microsoft Professional Developers Conference (PDC) in l. a. , Ozzie acknowledged that the model's roots go back to 1960s-era timeshare systems and mainframe virtualization. But there's a difference: Is this cloud thing really any different than the items that we've known within the past? the solution is completely and resoundingly yes," Ozzie told PDC attendees. "Things are materially different when building systems designed to serve the planet of the online, as compared with the systems designed to serve those living within a company's own four walls. and there is a really significant reason why it'd be beneficial to possess access to a shared infrastructure designed explicitly to serve the planet of the online, one having many excess capacities, providing quite an overdraft protection for your website, one built and operated by someone having the IT expertise, the networking and security expertise, all types of experience necessary for a service that spans the world ."

At the PDC, Microsoft provided access codes to four of its new Windows Azure-hosted services for value-added resellers (VARs) to undertake out. Microsoft is hosting base-level foundation technologies also as higher-level services that partners can host. They include SQL database services, .NET services and Windows Live Services like Hotmail and Live Messenger. Amazon.com already fields a non-Windows stack of platform services for Web commerce and is adding Windows and SQL Server to its optional stack soon. Other players, including Google, eBay, NetSuite, and Salesforce.com, offer their own takes on hosted services for various customer sets -- including IT solution providers. Chief among the attributes of these systems is their theoretical ability to scale computing and storage capacity to accommodate the peaks and valleys of customer demand -- to assign resources to e-tailers during the Christmas shopping rush, for instance, and take away them when demand ebbs. The business would buy the size it used on a recurring subscription basis.

That capability requires expertise in loosely coupled design and network architectures, Ozzie said. Once again, Microsoft is late to the party. One developer partner, Robert Anderson, chief technology officer of Digipede Technologies in Oakland, Calif., noted that Microsoft was also tardy in Web browsers but took over that market in a relatively short time. an equivalent scenario could play call at cloud computing, he said. Because of Microsoft's past partner-centric focus, many solution providers expect it to supply them with a much bigger piece of the action that Google or other players have so far controlled. Solution providers weigh cloud computing model One of the most important ways partners can add value as cloud computing emerges is by coaching customers on when the model is acceptable and when it'd be best to stay their computing power in house.
 Not every single software type is acceptable for this model," said Chris Rafter, vice chairman of consulting services for Logicalis, a Bloomfield Hills, Mich.-based system integrator.

Email and other commodity applications are good candidates for Web-based delivery, Rafter said. Customers that are conversant in a particular interface but don't really care what's running under the covers represent another opportunity. For CIOs, paying $100 a year for email and not having to stress about PST files or security -- that's attractive," Rafter said. "All of the expected features and functions and capacities are set forth within the contract. It makes for nice transparency." Enterprise resource planning (ERP) and human resources are other applications with cloud computing possibilities. Logicalis itself offers software data management as a service, managing and cleansing data for a subscription fee. But there are even deployment options within the cloud computing model. Some clients send us the info, and that we process it and send it back," Rafter said. "Others get a server and put it in their data center, but we run it."

In some cases, solution providers can use cloud computing to supply services they might never build themselves. for instance, Gold Systems may be a Microsoft VAR that builds applications using Tellme Networks speech technology. Microsoft bought Tellme last year and operates it as a subsidiary. Tellme hosts all the applications, but development partners get a bit of the continued action. We're a software company that fundamentally does deployments," CEO Terry Gold said. "I do not have the qualifications to travel build a 24/7 data center that's getting to be reliable." VARs got to parse demand for cloud computing For Gold Systems and other VARs, the SaaS model exposes potential new markets. Customers in small companies that do not have the allow an enormous one-off cost can instead subscribe to a service at a fraction of the worth, divvying out payments over time.

Of course, the downside of that argument is that VARs who have grown familiar with big up-front technology buys -- of software licenses, servers, routers, and storage -- may lose a number of those big-bang bucks. Instead, they're going to see a gentle but slow trickle of revenue coming in. which will find yourself being an honest thing, but it's often a painful adjustment. To say we glance forward to [cloud computing] wouldn't be right," said Jane Cage, chief operating officer of Heartland Technology Solutions.technology insurance "We accept the truth of it." She echoed other VARs' beliefs that the model may fit some customers in some situations but not others. Partners got to be the trusted advisor to customers weighing the move, which in itself is a chance to stiffen the customer relationship. The model may open up payments over time, but it also significantly lowers the value of sales, said Stephen Moss, chief operating officer of NSPI, a networking services specialist in Roswell, Ga.information technology training The move to managed services may be a related trend here, which also can stiffen VAR-customer relationships.

Of course, when vendors and VARs offer similar capabilities and services to customers, there's much room for contention. Many VARs still see Dell and its services push --managed and otherwise -- as a rival in providing customer services. But there are also many opportunities for partnering within the ecosystem. this is often how companies like Zenith Infotech and N-able have come to the fore, helping VARs remotely manage and monitor customers. people instead of other pieces of software." Another distinction between SOA and Cloud Computing in Chappell's view is that the Cloud platform. When you think that about Windows Azure or Amazon EC2, those are Cloud platforms," he said. "Platforms are sometimes about delivering services from the Cloud. But with Windows Azure and EC2, they're about running code within the Cloud. visible technologies that are totally different from SOA. That's an entirely different world with no connection to SOA." McKendrick said he didn't understand why Microsoft would advance the Cloud together step beyond SOA since within the past year the corporate has been building support for SOA.
 Conflating SOA and therefore the Cloud is confusing," Chappell concluded. "They overlap in some areas but they're fundamentally different."