Details lacking in HP's SOA role

Hewlett-Packard's role in the service-oriented architecture (SOA) market is still unclear, but this Q&A will still give you a sense for SOA deployment challenges you may face.

IT channel takeaway: Get a glimpse at how Hewlett-Packard is making inroads into the SOA market and identify challenges you may face in taking a customer through an SOA deployment.

With Mark Potts, chief technologist, HP OpenView Business Unit, Software.

Question: HP's acquisition of Mercury Interactive prompted one analyst to speculate that HP, IBM and Cisco would become the "Big Three" of SOA. Excluding consulting, what role does HP anticipate playing in the SOA market? In other words, what will be for sale?

Potts: At this moment, we can't get into what will be for sale as a result of the Mercury acquisition because we cannot work on or disclose any plans, roadmaps, or GTM activities until the deal closes. Specific to the acquisition of Mercury, there isn't a lot I can say about what we would take to market. However, HP has partnered with Systinet because we believe that governance is a critical component in realizing the benefits of a SOA. Given that as a caveat, HP will take SOA solutions to market that address the major concerns for SOA: governance, management-like performance, availability, QoS and security.

Question: How will OpenView fit into the SOA picture?

Potts: OpenView will bring SOA-specific management capabilities like OV SOA Manager, OV Select Access, OV Select Federation and OV Application Insight, along with existing management capabilities that are all pertinent to SOA operations management. [That would include] IT service management, application management, service level management, [which involves] reporting and managing internal and external contractual obligations, and business service management: problem isolation and impact analysis for IT services supporting composite applications and business processes.

Question: What do you think the biggest SOA challenge will be for large enterprises as they move from pilot SOA projects to full-blown deployment?

Potts: Some of the biggest challenges relate to the whole promise of SOA, such as reuse, flexibility, alignment. As more applications become shared services deployed to virtualized infrastructures, the concerns around governance, management and security are magnified.

One primary challenge is ensuring design time governance. These issues include services that must adhere to policies adopted by the organization around security and interoperability, which is what we get from the partnership with Systinet. Another consideration is runtime governance: making sure that policies like security are being enforced at runtime and are meeting their contractual obligations.

Another challenge we face is SOA modeling. Understanding the dependencies and relationships between services and the infrastructure they run on is critical when we start to look at managing change and configuration management in a shared services environment. The ability to retain problem isolation and business impact analysis capabilities in such a distributed and decoupled environment is a key consideration.

Security goes beyond just the traditional "authenticate, authorize and audit" process. It includes identity management, federated identity management, single sign-on, separation of concerns and differentiated service offerings.

This 3 Questions originally appeared in a weekly report from IT Business Edge.

This was first published in September 2006

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