What is the impact on Enterprise Architecture with the introduction of Cloud Computing and SaaS?
One word – ‘Serious’.
Here is my perspective.
- On the first look, it may seem like Enterprise Architecture is irrelevant in a company if your complete IT is running on Cloud Computing, SaaS and Outsourcing/Offshoring. In fact, I was of the same opinion last year. However, Its not the case. In fact, the complexity is going to get multiplied.
- We have moved from Monolithic systems to Client-Server to Tiered Architectures. With SOA comes the truly Distributed Architecture. And with Cloud Computing and SaaS, We are moving to “Globally Decentralized/Distributed Architecture”.
- With Global distribution, we will be able to compose business processes out of services from SalesForce.com, Services running on Azure/Amazon and host the resulting composite in another cloud platform. Does that sound too Cool and Flexible!. Of course. But, It is also exponentially complex to manage in the long-run!
- Some of the challenges - What are the failure modes in these Global composites? Can we optimize the attributes of those composites? How do we trace/troubleshoot, version control these composites? What are the foreseeable security threats in these Global platforms?
- Integration between these huge Clouds/SaaS platforms? - Welcome to the world of Software-Intensive, Massive System of Systems! :-)
- If the first generation EA guided us in dealing with System of Systems within an Enterprise, the next generation EA should help us in addressing ‘Massive System of Systems’.
- With this new complexity, not only Enterprise Architecture gets necessary, but becomes absolutely critical in the IT ecosystem.