Sunday, April 13, 2008

SOA Governance Tools

First, an important caveat: SOA governance is not a tool or a product. SOA governance is about people and leadership. No tool will deliver good governance out the box if the human factor is not taken into consideration. However the right tool can facilitate and provide transparency into SOA governance.

It’s important to make a distinction between design-time SOA governance and run-time SOA governance. The main objective of run-time SOA governance is the enforcement of QoS and SLAs. Design-time governance focuses on the enforcement of industry-recognized SOA design principles and patterns.

The goal of these patterns is not to kill the creativity of SOA developers or police their work, but instead to avoid SOA anti-patterns that are known to undermine the success of SOA projects. For example, SOA developers cannot reuse services if they are not aware of the existence of these services in the enterprise. Even if they know these services exist and where to find them, they cannot reuse the services if they don't understand them. Therefore the ability to easily discover well specified service metadata is one good design principle that can help deliver on SOA's promise of service reuse across the enterprise.

One of the key aspects of design-time SOA Governance is the management of the lifecycle of service artifacts and the dependencies between them. This is accomplished through a new breed of tools called SOA Repositories/Registries. The following are what I consider important requirements for an SOA Repository/Registry.

Indexing of XML-formatted artifacts such as WSDL, XML Schemas, Schematron rules, XSLT transforms, Spring and Hibernate configuration files, data mapping specifications, WS-Policy documents, etc. Ideally, users should be able to use languages such as XSLT and XQuery to manipulate artifacts and query the Repository/Registry. Requirements and specification documents should be stored in XML (as opposed to MS Word or Excel) if possible so that they can be processed the same way. The SOA Repository/Registry should sit on a native XQuery compliant database. This would provide powerful visualization and reporting capabilities to the registry. I should be able to run an XQuery search against the SOA Repository/Registry to return all artifacts that contain a reference to a certain XML element, so that I can visualize the impact that a change to that element would have. Automatic detection of certain dependencies (e.g. WSDL and XML Schemas) should be supported as well.

Policy enforcement is also important as artifacts are added to the registry. For example, Schematron can be used to enforce XML Schema best practices. WS-I Basic Profile compliance and XML schema backward compatibility may also need to be enforced.

Support for a RESTful API for all CRUD (create, read, update, delete) operations on artifacts. Ideally, I would prefer support for the AtomPub specification and the Atom syndication format for pushing updates to stakeholders. Competing SOA Registry protocols and APIs include: UDDI v3, the Java API for XML Registry (JAXR), JSR 170/283 (Java Content Repository API), and IBM WebSphere Registry and Repository (WSRR). However, Open source vendors such as MuleSource and WSO2 have adopted AtomPub for its simplicity, while RedHat is building its upcoming SOA Repository/Registry (JBoss DNA) on JSR 170. Mule Galaxy sits on the Apache Jackrabbit JCR reposiroty. The JSR 170 repository model could also be adopted in the Java space as a standardized repository model for SOA registries.

Of course authentication, authorization, audit trails, workflow, and versioning should be expected in any SOA Repository/Registry.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

What is your opinion of this today in 2011?