Wednesday, March 14, 2007

SOA + Utility Computing

As Amazon EC2 exploded onto the IT scene summer 2006 with a beta "by invitation only," we were fortunate to get an account and by August 2006 start pounding on the first practical Utility Computing infrastructure that was more than a bunch of slides and marketing mumbo-jumbo.

Every astute marketing team has at some point used Utility, Grid and Virtualization in their power point slides and brochure-ware. I have been at many conferences and on many calls where I kept hearing such terms but couldn't figure out what all this hoopla was all about, I don't think the presenters knew either ;-) If I can't touch it, I don't understand it. If I can't play with it, it is just vaporware. So, I kept my eye on Grid computing but never really saw a commercial (non-academic) benefit of using grids and utility computing. As much as I am into Astronomy, I couldn't see myself ever using an academic grid to compute the Milky Ways expansion rate or some other esoteric problem.

Finally, Amazon EC2 exploded on the scene with a startling characteristic: a full web services-based provisioning interface. Starting up and terminating Linux instance is as simple as a SOAP call.

This characteristic is the most significant and disruptive aspect of the Amazon EC2 platform. All Hardware and Software product vendors take notice: Your products should be Amazon-aware for true scalability.

So we did what any geek would do, played with the EC2 platform day and night and then published a first paper on EC2: "Amazon EC2 and Oracle SOA Suite a Strong Combo" on Dr. Dobbs.

A few weeks later, SAP has taken notice. Perhaps it had something to do with the emails that we sent to 40 SAP folks about this concept. A couple of significant announcements/interviews from SAP this week:

InfoWorld: Q&A: SAP chief developer heads 'clouds'
Business Week: Opening Up to Collaboration (interview with Shai Agassi, President SAP Product Development)

We sincerely hope that large vendors such as SAP, Oracle, BEA, IBM, and Microsoft take advantage of platforms like EC2 for both their SaaS offerings as well as making their software components EC2-aware. We believe SOA Testing Tools will have a significant role to play in making SOA components run smoothly on Utility Computing Platform such as EC2.

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