Big Consulting Missing the Cloud Computing and SOA Links

By David Linthicum

Consulting is a funny business. You have to remain relevant, so you have a tendency to follow the hype and follow the crowd. Cloud computing is the next instance of that, and many of the larger consulting organizations is chasing cloud computing as fast as they can.

However, many are not chasing cloud computing the right way, missing many of the architectural advantages. Instead they are just tossing things out of the enterprise onto private and public clouds and hoping for the best. Making things worse, many in larger enterprise clients are not seeing the forest through the trees, or in this case the architecture through the clouds. So, you have both parties taking a reactive versus a proactive approach to the cloud.

Missing is good architectural context supporting the use of cloud computing. Or, the ability to create an overall strategic plan and architectural framework, and then looking at how cloud computing fits into this framework now, and into the future. Typically that means leveraging SOA approaches and patterns.

That message seems to fall on death ears these days, and most disturbingly those death ears seem to be attached to consulting organizations that have the trust of enterprises to take their IT to the next level. The end result will be failed cloud computing projects, with the blame being put on the technology. It's really the lack of strategic planning and architecture that's at the heart of the problem.

The concept of SOA, as related to cloud computing is simple. You need to understand the existing and future state architecture before you begin selecting platforms and technology, including cloud computing. Once you have that understanding its relatively easy to figure out where SaaS, IaaS, and PaaS come into play, or not. Moreover, creating a roadmap for implementation and migration over time, typically a 3 to 5 year horizon.

We need to get good at this quick, else cloud computing will do little good.