Last week, we opened the Pandora’s Box about the inevitability of the cloud. And we spoke of the tension between SOA and WOA camps as to which is the best means for getting services from or providing services to the cloud.
You can bet with the Web 2.0 Expo this week that there is plenty of noise about the cloud. For some, it’s so much noise that the whole notion of cloud computing, or the cloud itself, has become rather foggy.
One of the arguments over SOA is that the web services standards that are used for implementation have generated intimidating layers of complexity, and that web-oriented alternatives (e.g., WOA) are far more straightforward and far better fits for the web development skills that are already commonplace.
So there will be a flurry of announcements. A few examples: Kapow Technologies for instance, is launching an on demand mashup server, providing black box capabilities like Excel plug-ins for data services out in the cloud. Meanwhile Serena is teaming with Cap Gemini to launch a sandbox enabling business professionals to design and compose a mashup without the need for programming skills.
One of the more interesting announcements from a lineage standpoint is the emergence from its cocoon of SnapLogic, a startup with a WOA-oriented takeoff on RSS that it promotes as “Really Simple Integration.” Started by Informatica founder Gaurav Dhillon, SnapLogic represents a closing of the circle for simplified data access. Just as Informatica was the first to adopt a visual, component-based approach to developing database integrations, SnapLogic is doing same with resources that are accessible over the web.
Using RESTful style, each data source is treated as a resource. In turn, access to those resources can be managed, not through adding tokens or other entitlement technologies, but by making each individual or class of individual’s access a separate URI. Imagine, if you will, table, where the columns are data sources and the rows are specific users. Such tables could be fed by directories and internal access control tools, or the HTML metadata repository, rather than adding a separate layer of complexity for access and authentication.
Providing a clever way for RESTful services to become reusable, SnapLogic helps flesh out the vision of WOA, which is could be nicknamed, technology that is just good enough to get the data you need, wherever it sits out in the cloud. Don’t mistake the elegance of simplicity; although web-oriented approaches essentially take the user friendliness of client/server database apps to the web, the simplicity of the architecture rules out embedding properties or sophisticated capabilities such as federated identity, orchestration, security assertions that come with WS-standards. That’s not necessarily a bad thing if your app doesn’t necessarily involve processes involving high sensitive data or require high performance. But if they do, there’s no reason why they can’t be implemented within secured environments where all the necessary governance and performance are applied extrinsically.
But what’s interesting is that with emergence of the cloud, SnapLogic and StrikeIron offer approachable alternatives that let you have your data services without the reengineering baggage.