If you have a mature SOA, with an established SOA platform, you can look to SaaS providers for some of your services. This can be the best way of achieving the functionality that you need for the nine reasons listed for Cloud deployments―from agility and timeliness through to business continuity. If you want to provide new functionality quickly or if you are concerned about loss of service in case of natural disaster and the services you need are available on the Cloud, then your problem is solved.
Equally, if you do not have the resources to develop or support the services that you need, or if you want to experiment with new business offerings without taking a big investment risk, Cloud can be the answer. You can also, of course, consider using IaaS and PaaS in its current form, for the same reasons.
Cloud is in many ways the next logical step beyond SOA. SOA applies the service principle to application software within the enterprise. Cloud applies that principle at the infrastructure and platform levels, as well as the application level, and between enterprises, as well as within them.
SOA requires major investments in equipment, skills and culture change. The SOA skills and culture learned in the process will also help an enterprise to take advantage of Cloud. In return, Cloud will help the enterprise overcome the barriers of finance and risk that hinder adoption of SOA. In particular, SOA as a Service on the Cloud could dramatically accelerate SOA implementations and deployment.
Finally, Cloud is about what you use, and SOA is about how you use it. What is much easier to learn than how. An investment in SOA training will still pay off when you have Cloud―and dont worry too much about the additional Cloud learning costs, it wont take long for your people to be productive.
Chris Harding leads the SOA Working Group at The Open Group, an open forum of customers and suppliers of IT products and services. In addition, he is a director of UDEF Forum, and manages The Open Groups work on semantic interoperability. He can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org.