Spotlight on IBM software solutions: What is SOA governance?

A chat with SOA governance integration lead, Gil Long

In Part 1 of this three-part series on Service-Oriented Architecture (SOA) governance, Gil Long, an IBM® Distinguished Engineer and SOA governance integration lead, talks about SOA governance, the IBM SOA governance model, and the ways IBM assists clients with SOA governance.

Scott Laningham (scottla@us.ibm.com), developerWorks Podcast Editor, IBM developerWorks

Scott LaninghamScott Laningham, host of developerWorks podcasts, was previously editor of developerWorks newsletters. Prior to IBM, he was an award-winning reporter and director for news programming featured on Public Radio International, a freelance writer for the American Communications Foundation and CBS Radio, and a songwriter/musician.



03 July 2007

developerWorks: Welcome to this developerWorks podcast. I'm your host, Scott Laningham. Our guest today is Gil Long, IBM Distinguished Engineer and SOA governance integration lead. He joins us to talk about SOA governance and related [Global Technology Services] (GTS) support services. Gil, thanks for doing this today.

Long: Thank you very much, Scott.

Gil Long: What is SOA governance?

Be sure to listen to this interview.

developerWorks: Now why don't you first start off by kind of giving us a high-level summary of what SOA governance is?

Long: All right, great. That's a very important topic, Scott. As we all know, SOA is quickly becoming the dominant architectural style that requires a lot of careful oversight. In fact, it's been well documented that without this careful oversight — or we'll call governance — some SOA implementations actually fail to deliver business value as expected. We also know that for additional governance — that is, the IT governance and corporate governance that we use today — doesn't really address SOA. So to close this gap, SOA governance was created as an extension to traditional governance with a special mission of delivering business value using the SOA style.

Guest: Gil Long

Gil Long is a Distinguished Engineer with IBM. He serves as the SOA governance integration lead for IBM Global Technology Services and the worldwide education lead for Enterprise Architecture. He has extensive senior management experience in all areas of IT, including IT strategic planning, architectural design, business systems design and implementation, systems and network design and deployment, and data center operations. He has had direct management responsibility for large IT organizations, staffing, and budget accountability. He also has multi-industry experience in healthcare, financial services, education, retail, insurance, utilities, manufacturing, and government.

Also, Scott, there's a difference between what we call "SOA governance" and "SOA management." First, SOA governance is about establishing a strategic vision for SOA, aligning that business and IT vision, sponsoring and funding that vision, providing responsible oversight and controls, and ensuring governance mechanisms are in place to support the vision. These mechanisms include the SOA governance structures, skills, the processes, the SOA infrastructure itself. And service-level metrics and dashboards to help manage it. These should all be part of any SOA governance toolkit.

SOA management, on the other hand, is more about the actual day‑to‑day execution of the governance processes. This includes implementing and running the SOA governance infrastructure, the tools and repeatable processes that need to be governed. Obviously, SOA governance and SOA management go hand in hand, and they must be integrated with the existing traditional governance and management processes there in place.

So to implement SOA governance, you must have an SOA governance model, as well as some approach or method to implement that model.

developerWorks: Now, that brings us to IBM's SOA governance model. What can you tell us about that?

Long: Oh, sure, Scott. IBM has developed a very comprehensive SOA governance model. It covers all aspects of the SOA life cycle. This model includes things like the SOA vision, you know, a starting point for SOA, the SOA processes that need to be governed; the governance mechanisms that will be used to manage the SOA environment — the policies, the principle, the standards, the procedures needed to guide decision-making, the dashboards and metrics to monitor progress; the skills needed to implement SOA; the organizational structure and change management, including the governance charter, the center of excellence for SOA, the roles and responsibilities, etc.; and the SOA infrastructure and the supporting tools, especially those that are different from the non-SOA implementations we have running in our environment.

The intent of the SOA governance model is to help everyone visualize what is needed for SOA governance. The true test comes, however, when you have to implement this governance model. To do this, there must be some type of method behind the model.

developerWorks: So let's talk about that method for a second, Gil. Take us a little deeper on that, if you would.

Long: To support this entire SOA governance model, IBM has not only developed the method behind it but also the skills and tools to implement the method. We've very successfully implemented this method internally within IBM, as well as externally with other clients. The method, which we've named the SOA Governance and Management Method, or SGMM for short, not only describes the SOA governance model but it provides a very prescriptive approach and the necessary assets to implement this way of governance.

In addition to the method, IBM has also provided a number of very advanced tools such as WebSphere® registry repository, ITCAM for SOA, CCMDB and data power appliances just to mention a few, that help automate and accelerate SOA governance implementations. And finally, IBM has developed a full range of consulting services to help clients implement SOA governance.

developerWorks: Maybe we can wrap with a little more on that, Gil. How does IBM assist clients with SOA governance?

Long: Essentially, IBM provides full end-to-end SOA life-cycle services and products ranging from the SOA vision through the complete implementation and operation of the SOA infrastructure. Here's a sampling of our SOA governance services that help clients manage this life cycle.

At the planning level, we can assess the current state of an SOA governance, as well as the maturity of all of the aspects of SOA. And we can develop roadmaps for implementing or improving existing SOA governance processes. We can also plan and implement service management processes that must be governed in an SOA environment. When you take it to the execution level, we can also help clients there by helping them design and implement their SOA infrastructure and the testing environment, which is critical to SOA success.

We can also help develop dashboards and monitoring capabilities that support the SOA management environment. IBM has a very comprehensive SOA governance model, as well as the method and the products and the services — everything that's needed to help our client succeed.

developerWorks: Well, Gil, thanks for giving us this crisp look at SOA governance and what IBM offers around it. And I'm wondering, is there a Web site specifically that we should direct people to? I mean, there's some great offerings and resources on developerWorks, but is there one spot that you would point out in specific?

Long: Yes, we have an external Web site, www.ibm.com/services, and that will provide you an entry point to take a look at what IBM offers around SOA governance.

developerWorks: Great. I'll make sure I have that link and the show notes for the podcast and links to the SOA and Web services zone on developerWorks, as well. Again, Gil, thanks for your time today.

Long: Thank you for having me, Scott.

developerWorks: Our guest again was Gil Long, IBM Distinguished Engineer and SOA governance integration lead. Be sure to check out the other two conversations in this subseries on SOA governance. We talk with Sandy Poi about SOA governance and organizational change. Sandy is a strategy consultant for organizational change with IBM Business Services. And we also talk with Sunil Murthy, product manager, IBM WebSphere Service Registry and Repository, one of the solutions that Gil mentioned in today's discussion. Sunil talks about what WSRR does.

Find links to both of those interviews on our podcast page at ibm.com/developerworks/podcast. You're welcome to leave comments on any of this on my developerWorks blog, which you'll find a link to from that same page. I'm Scott Laningham, thanks for listening.

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