Extending Service Boundaries to Infrastructure Resources

The article appeared in the MSDN Architecture Journal, Issue #21, Sep 2009.

To download a copy of this edition of the MSDN Architecture Journal, click here.

Extending Service Boundaries to Infrastructure Resources

by Nayan B. Ruparelia and Salim Sheikh

With data centers considering infrastructure resources as service-on- demand resources and amalgamating them with application services, we redefine an SOA service as comprising the server-side application and the infrastructure that hosts it.

The business benefits of this type of architecture are twofold—a reduced infrastructure footprint and a lower cost of service delivery— and are enunciated as follows:

  • Commoditization of services enables true SOA-service rationalization that takes place at the service level, instead of separately at the software and hardware boundaries. This reduces the data-center (or infrastructure) footprint for the business and, thus, provides a more environmentally friendly SOA service at lowered costs.
  • Encapsulation of an SOA service across the hardware-software stack provides a complete measure of return on investment (ROI)—from application to infrastructure. This gives a more transparent, accurate, and rationalized view of the cost of a service and its time-to-market (TTM) cost. These factors drive down the cost of an SOA service, because it allows the business to measure reusability of the SOA service across all tiers of IT and, thereby, create a framework for more efficient use of services.

Problem Statement

Generally, an SOA service comprises applications that serve client (or consumer) applications. The management of infrastructure resources that the service consumes—specifically, in relation to capacity and performance—is left to the engineer to plan and model manually. This means that service demands might not always be met within the required time constraints, if the capacity management is reactive instead of proactive; thus, there is a danger that the infrastructure will act as a bottleneck.

Conversely, infrastructure resources can remain idle should the service demand be below that which is provisioned by capacity planning. This represents a waste of money on unused infrastructure. Furthermore, capacity planning and modeling, when performed properly, can itself be a very costly and time-consuming exercise and would need to be performed regularly in order to track changing SOA-service workloads over time. Therefore, a more efficient and cost-effective solution is needed for designing and implementing SOA services.

In this context, we refer to infrastructure resources as the hardware platform and its related services that are required for hosting the SOA applications, not the ESB.

Proposed Solution

We propose an SOA service that makes up the entire hardware- software stack. We term such an SOA service a “composite service element” that would be provided in a virtualized environment, in order to better provision the resources of the service and measure its resource usage.

The host platform (comprising hardware computing resources such as CPU, RAM, and local storage) as well as the operating system would be provisioned as a virtual machine (VM). The VM, as much as the software that it hosts, can be considered a service; we denote this VM as an SOA service element. Furthermore, the entire hardware-software stack can be virtualized to include the storage (such as SAN and NAS devices), the LAN, and the interfaces to both of these. This means that all of the layers in the architecture that comprise the logic, data- access, and data-storage layers can be virtualized and provisioned as part of a single SOA service.

To address performance, scalability, and availability requirements, the VM can be configured in a cluster to provide both integrity and workload sharing. The number of VMs that are used in the cluster would be defined by orchestration software that would instantiate VMs as needed. Indeed, the resources of the physical computer that hosts the VM would also be provisioned to suit demand.

In addition, virtualization of the storage and the LAN means that these components can be provisioned individually to meet the workload demand. Demand forecasting can be performed by instruments that measure the resource requirements and predict their usage over certain timeframes by using various load-prediction models.1 This demand forecast can then be used to drive workflow- automation software (such as the HP Blade Matrix System) that would provision the virtualized resources to meet the predicted demand.

Service-Element Pattern

A pattern is a solution to a common problem that is documented in a consistent format and used as part of a larger collection.2 We propose the service element as a pattern that is defined by a VM; thus, the SOA-service design pattern comprises the producer application and its virtual host.


In this article, we redefine an SOA service as being composed of the entire hardware-software stack; we refer to this type of service as a composite service element. Furthermore, virtualization is used so that we might be able to provision our SOA service in an efficient and complete manner and with the smallest cost overhead possible. Also, our approach predicts the workload demand and integrates it with workflow-orchestration technologies, so as to automate the provisioning of resources that are used by the composite service element. Apart from a reduction in cost, a benefit of this approach is that it reduces resource consumption in an environmentally friendly manner.


For additional information, please refer to the blog of the lead author.


  1. Andreolini, Mauro, and Sara Casolari. “Load-Prediction Models in Web-Based Systems.” ACM International Conference Proceeding Series. Vol. 180, October 2006.
  2. Erl, Thomas. SOA Design Patterns. Upper Saddle River, NJ: Prentice Hall, 2009. Page 86.

Nayan B. Ruparelia (nayan@acm.org) is an IT Architect at EDS, part of Hewlett Packard’s TSG group.

Salim Sheikh (salim.sheikh@gmail.com) is an Independent Consultant and Enterprise Architect, certified in a number of frameworks including TOGAF, Zachman, COBIT and ITIL. He is also a Certified Process Professional and LEAN/Six Sigma practitioner.

ITSM And TOGAF 9 (Applying ITSM to a TOGAF Environment)

Extract of a forthcoming whitepaper to be published by the Open Group.

Executive Summary

This whitepaper considers the alignment of ITSM within a TOGAF aligned enterprise. A key driver for having such an alignment is to remove the business execution silos that come to exist in an enterprise when implementing projects that fall under either ITIL 3 or TOGAF 9. At a high level, we propose to remove such silos by creating a mapping between the two frameworks as well as between ITSM and TOGAF 9. This should create a standard set of artifacts or standard interfaces between those artifacts so that an enterprise may have a common platform for both service management and enterprise architectures. Such commonality is best implemented at the initial requirements establishment phase of an initiative and so the necessary information sharing and processes should be in place at the outset.
Our recommendation is for this to happen within the wider TOGAF 9 context where ITIL 3 can be considered as an integral extension of enterprise architecture. This is achievable because there is a lot of synergy between ITSM’s ITIL 3 and the TOGAF 9 framework, especially since TOGAF 9 has shifted to a more service-orientated approach to Enterprise Architecture. 


Nayan B. Ruparelia, Hewlett-Packard Company

Salim Sheikh, Independent Consultant

The Business Case for SOA & The Role of NextGen Architects


Five years ago, the business case for Service-Oriented Architecture (SOA) didn’t matter. Organizations pursued SOA initiatives based on a desire to achieve ‘competitive advantage’ and ‘agility’ without specifying clear metrics and success criteria. A great deal of time and effort is spent on technology architecture, governance and vendor assessments, which is good, but the fundamental point is that SOA is about business.

 Today’s budgetary environment of doing less with less, coupled with the current economic climate, makes it important for SOA champions to make their business cases for investment compelling and to create and maintain momentum.

What is required is a new generation of architects capable of taking a business-led and multi-disciplinary approach to SOA enabling better Business/IT alignment. Next generation (NextGen) architects are no longer part of an IT department or individual IT projects. NextGen architects are “architects of the business” – organizational resources delivering business-led SOA solutions to directly support new business initiatives, oversee business change, governance and budgetary controls.

This webinar includes advices and recommendations based on actual experiences and successes across a range of Public and Private industries.


Join me on 26 Feb 2010 at 11:00 am (GMT) by clicking here.

This presentation has been postponed. I will provide further updates once a new date/time has been agreed.

Apologies for any inconvenience.

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Enterprise Architecture Advocacy – CAEAP Newsletter

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There is much happening with CAEAP and a lot has changed for the organization that started on December 20th, 2008. CAEAP has grown so fast, keeping up is almost a full time job for some – these challenges are not only very rewarding but are met with fierce passion, knowledge and experience.  

The organization is making fantastic progress on all of our products and services, providing value to the practice of EA, the EA profession and the public we, as EAs, serve. 
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Happy New Year 2010!

And so ends another year. Goodbye 2009.

But the end of one thing marks the beginning of another. Hello 2010!

I hope that 2010 brings with it renewed hope, prosperity and peace for all of us across the world.

I hope that 2010 marks the beginning of a *real* recovery from the recession which has had devasting effects on several people I know.

Be strong, keep your chin up and head high. Dare to be better and make 2010 count.

Best wishes to you & yours,