SOA governance in the cloud

This post was co-authored with Chris Phillips (see his bio at the end of this post).

Service-oriented architecture (SOA) has been a major concept in the evolution of information technology. There have been a lot of discussions and hype around it over the past decade. The hype has shifted to cloud computing, but the principles of SOA are still vitally important. The service orientation is fundamental for most paradigms of cloud computing.

A service repository and registry bring visibility of services, interfaces, entities, and relationships in an SOA. In addition, repository and registry provide control and management of change. Those characteristics are essential to sustain services and get the full advantages of your architecture. The setup of such a repository might result in considerable effort, because other parts such as an application server or database might need to be set up.

The solution is an instance of WebSphere Service Registry and Repository (WSRR) that can be deployed in any one of IBM SmartCloud Enterprise worldwide data centers. WSRR can work with a number of IBM products and several non-IBM products. These products do not have to be deployed for use just with WSRR. WSRR can work with already-provisioned products.

An instance can be provisioned within 30 minutes. Simply log in to the IBM SmartCloud Enterprise dashboard and request a new instance of WSRR. The image is based on Red Hat Enterprise Linux and has a DB2 database and a preinstalled WebSphere Application Server.

When the instance is active, the service can be accessed in various ways:

  • WebSphere Service Registry and Repository dashboard: This browser-based dashboard provides visibility of the health of services and consumption data.
  • WebSphere Service Registry web UI: Provides access to all functions relevant for administrators and developers to register and govern services.

The other possibilities to access WebSphere Service Registry are the WebSphere Application Server administrative console and Secure Shell (SSH). These are accessible but they are not recommended interfaces for driving WebSphere Service Registry.

Ready-to-use WebSphere Service Registry has a predefined lifecycle, which is quite large.  You can use WebSphere Service Registry Studio to take out the states you don’t need and change the metadata model to reflect additional properties or entities you want to govern.

The recommended way to protect your service repository is to set up a private VLAN established by an optional virtual private network (VPN). This way allows you to provide network level isolation and security for your deployment. The VPN provides an Internet Protocol Security (IPSec-based), point-to-point communication channel between the enterprise’s network and your IBM SmartCloud data center.

A getting-started page and the information center with several demonstrations, tutorials, and samples help you to gather momentum.

This enterprise-level registry and repository provides scalable and automated capabilities to help organizations optimize productivity and resources in an SOA environment. You can:

  • Catalog the details of the services you provide and the services you use.
  • Automatically discover existing services direct from their host environment.
  • Add information to the services to describe what they are used for, who uses them, and their value to your business.
  • Publicize the services to enable reuse.
  • Monitor who is using the services with consumer/provider contract management.
  • Use full service lifecycle management to keep track of versions and availability of services, and enforce best practices during their development and deployment.
  • Graphically visualize services and dependencies to calculate the impact of change.
  • Combine with an enterprise service bus (ESB) to provide enforcement of contracts and policies.
  • Integrate with monitoring tools to bring metrics about service use together with your service definitions.

About Co-Author Chris Phillips, Master Inventor & WSRR Developer
Chris is a developer for WebSphere Service Registry and Repository (WSRR) based at IBM Hursley in the UK. He leads a team working on making WSRR available in the cloud. Chris joined IBM in 2007 as a Graduate in CICS before joining WSRR in 2009.

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