Microsoft on SOA Governance

March 27, 2005

Service Governance

Challenge

Regardless of the way service domains are defined within an enterprise, there are various philosophical and technical approaches for creating new services and modifying existing services. Who should monitor, define and authorize the changes to the existing suite of services supported within an enterprise? Who should own the provisioning and maintenance of these services?

Approaches

An enterprise can address the challenge most effectively by establishing an internal governing body. Multiple governance models are possible. These are discussed below.

Central governance

With central governance, the governing body within the enterprise has representation from each service domain as well as from independent parties that don’t have direct responsibility for any of the service domains. There must also be representation from the different business units and from subject matter experts who can speak to the key technological components of the solution. The central governing body as a whole reviews addition and deletion of services, as well as changes to existing services, before authorizing their implementation.

Click here for larger image.

Figure 10. Central governance model

As shown Figure 10 above, the central governing body is responsible for establishing and enforcing service-oriented architectural guidelines and standards across the enterprise. The body is also responsible for communicating those standards to the business units, architectural teams and technology teams.

Distributed governance

With distributed governance, each business unit has autonomous control over how it provides the services within its own organization. Distributed governance mandates a functional service domain approach. A service architecture committee can still provide high-level guidelines and standards for implementation of services, but that committee doesn’t have to authorize changes to the existing service infrastructure within a business unit. The committee suggests compliance with these guidelines but does not enforce it.

Click here for larger image.

Figure 11. Distributed governance model

In the distributed governance model shown in Figure 11, business units A and B have the freedom to establish their own independent standards. Yet appropriate passive measures (architectural and procedural guidelines) are in place for the units to follow.

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