Multi-vendor Drive for SOA Governance

Many IT shops are looking to service-oriented architectures as a way to build a unified, standards-based framework that would enable disparate systems to seamlessly interoperate. To do that requires an SOA governance architecture or framework, which manages the services and policies of the SOA and gives IT visibility into the SOA’s inner workings.

With a kick start from Systinet, several companies have teamed up to promote an initiative called the Governance Interoperability Framework (GIF), which they say will make SOA simpler to manage, control and scale, while also greatly improving the visibility and quality of SOA information. The program’s participants include Above All Software, Actional, AmberPoint, Composite Software, DataPower, HP, Layer 7 Technologies, MetaMatrix, Reactivity and Service Integrity.

Under the initiative, the companies will jointly develop technologies and specifications that will make it possible for their products to integrate at the data, control and UI levels. The members also have agreed to public participation in the GIF and to participate in a technical advisory group for shared learning and continued development, according to Systinet.

All partners that participate in the program will support GIF by end of 2005, and several participants have already implemented GIF support, Systinet says.

Systinet's Business Services Registry will be the system of record, and according to the company, is the first and only collaborative, standards-based approach to controlling an SOA across multiple vendors and technologies, the company says.

"SOA Governance must address all domains of SOA: security, management, registry, development, orchestration/composite services and enablement/integration," says Daryl Plummer, group vice president and research general manager at Gartner. "Companies won't be able to find a single solution or technology to meet the requirements for SOA governance, and instead will have to bring together a framework built from multiple vendors, with registry acting as the foundation that could unify it all."

GIF participants benefit by having the ability to publish services and associated policy to a system of reference in a standardized way, and to be alerted to changes within the BSR when they happen.

"Policy governance will play an increasingly critical role for future SOA initiatives,” says Dimitri Sirota, VP products and alliances at Layer 7 Technologies. “As the number of services proliferates inside the enterprise, implementing consistent and compliant policy across loosely coupled, sometimes federated services will demand new thinking around how policy is defined, lifecycled, provisioned, coordinated and verified.”