October 4, 2012 by terryrichwhitehead
Over the last week I have been give some thought SOA and the costs involved. To all businesses and organisations understanding true costs of IT systems has always been a challenge. In adopting an SOA approach requires businesses and organisations to have a very thorough understanding of the SOA cost model. Without it there is the risk of poor decisions been made, budgets running out of control and applications that fail to meet the end users expectations. The advantage of understanding the SOA cost model is not just only the reverse of the previous statement but it also allows the businesses and organisations play the market getting the best deal and quickly taking advantage to changes.
Most current IT cost models do not model the true cost of running, developing and supporting an SOA environment, most of these models are been based on outdated predictions and practises. The SOA world is different, it effects how business and organisations function and more importantly it changes how IT functions. The only way a SOA will work positively with in a business or organisation is to have a cost model that accurately reflects the adoption of a SOA environment.
The SOA cost model has two main elements, development costs and the on-going cost of ownership, not to different from the traditional model on the face of it. However, SOA development costs must now understand the relationship between cost and the reuse of services, the benefits of integration in the loosely coupled SOA environment and the benefits of platform independent software design. Not only that the SOA cost model must also embrace the effects of reduced human intervention required in managing applications, as most supporting infrastructure is capable of self-management, we’ve all heard of the elastic cloud. The biggest change to more traditional costing models has to be able to fully understand the true cost of running a service, the bandwidth consumption, CPU time, storage that is consumed etc.
Billing information received from providers should also fed back into the SOA cost model as part of a feedback loop which will help in the fine tuning of the model. However, it must also be realised that when starting out in building a SOA environment costing’s fed back into the model will not be accurate as they will in the main relate to pilot projects, but in time as more services are productionised then accuracy will improve.
As more and more services are delivered into the SOA environment then with the right feedback mechanisms including costs fed back from system support activities i.e. help desks etc., the SOA cost model improves even more and the business or organisation will be able to make better judgements on development costs and the true cost of ownership.
Having a truly accurate SOA cost model will then allow the business or organisation to carryout full meaningful ROI analyses on projects, helping with prioritising developments and maximising on development resource. It will also so help in predicting future demands that will be made of the SOA, thus helping with capacity planning and securing prudent financial deals.
Looking to the future of SOA and adopting PaaS (Platform as a Service) for service provision the hosting of services will get dynamic. Let’s say a business or organisation is consuming platform service from three service providers, we’ll call them Provider A, B and C. Provider B and provider C lowers their costs on bandwidth, then using the SOA cost model the business or organisation could look at what services that were placed with Provider A that consumed large amount of bandwidth and move them to the other providers, thus reducing costs. Thinking more abstractly, what if the cost model understood the sessional effects on service demands are there gains to be had there? Could there be services that do not even need to be running all year round? Get the model right and thing could get very interesting.