Integrated services? The cloud alone isn't enough.

Agencies will need to deploy cloud and service-oriented architectures together to achieve integrated services and greater information exchange across agencies and organizations, according to government and industry experts.

Cloud and SOA will not only be used for internal development but for end-to-end solution development, said Ajay Budhraja, chief technology officer with a component of the Justice Department, who will give a keynote address on cloud and SOA trends April 3 at the 13th SOA for E-Government Conference.

The conference is held every six months by Mitre and the Federal Government SOA Community of Practice at Mitre’s campus in McLean, Va. The theme of the 13th conference is “SOA and Cloud: Reconciling Governance and Agility.” Presenters and panelists will examine the benefits of governance frameworks and approaches federal agencies are pursuing to increase the maturity and efficiency of their SOA and Cloud initiatives.

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SOA can provide the flexibility and agility to create and reuse resources across departmental silos. Realizing the benefits, however, requires governance of both business and technology processes, artifacts and interactions, said Gabriel Galvan, department head of Mitre’s Enterprise Modernization and Transformation Practices. Budhraja and Galvan spoke with GCN about cloud and SOA trends before the conference.

Initial cloud adoption has been in the areas of e-mail, collaboration, development or test environments and backup, Budhraja said. Greater adoption and integration will emerge in areas such as big data, mobility, social networks, business intelligence and analytics.

SOA and cloud go hand-in-hand, Budhraja said. SOA provides a way to develop a good architecture for an organization. The cloud is a deployment mechanism, he said.

“If people don’t follow good principles of software development and service orientation when they start to deploy in the cloud, they will have problems,” Budhraja said. “We hear a lot about cloud, but we don’t hear a lot about how [organizations] develop applications to work in a cloud."

Sound software development and good governance will be crucial as users utilize integrated identity management, business and reporting services for an end-to-end seamless experience, Budhraja said. These services will be linked behind the scenes like a chain. But like a train on a track, if something breaks along the way within one of the services, the whole train can fall off the track, he said.

The move to integrated services also will spur the emergence of SOA and cloud brokers who will isolate consumers from underlying implementations and facilitate cross-platform integration and communication. Budhraja also sees nontraditional IT organizations being transformed into IT providers.

A key focus of government is standards and making sure development is based on open standards, he added. Inadequate governance and agile development without control can result in silos and data inconsistency. Change management, compliance with standards and monitoring of services are the key elements to ensure that services can be deployed effectively, Budhraja said.

During the closing session of the conference, there will be a presentation of a SOA pilot that involves cross information sharing and integration for the intelligence community. The session will be led by Melvin Greer, senior fellow and chief strategist for cloud computing with Lockheed Martin, and Brand Niemann, director and senior enterprise architect and data scientist with the Semantic Community

About the Author

Rutrell Yasin is is a freelance technology writer for GCN.

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