SOA vs Cloud Computing: Tracking the cross-over in hype

Hype over Cloud Computing and SOA have inverted

Hype over Cloud Computing and SOA have inverted

It is hard to measure hype. We can detect it by well trained B.S. sensors, but how we go about quantifying it is another question.

Take for example the hype around SOA as a solution for all enterprise needs. IT professionals have been reading about SOA for over a decade, and with the rise of web services SOA-type solutions became very prevalent and were quickly making solid contributions to enterprise missions. But at some point the term became over hyped, with marketing teams from just about every IT provider touting their SOA solution and even some IT professionals starting to throw the term around with little regard for its meaning. But those general observations on hype are hard to measure. We can say, however, that for designers, the term SOA has real meaning but the hype can be distracting.

Many of us have been watching the same phenomenon with the term “Cloud Computing.” This construct has had real meaning to enterprise technologists, architects, planners and other IT professionals for years. But the hype and resulting misuse of the term is getting distracting.

In July 2009 we wrote of a coming “cross-over in hype” between cloud computing and SOA. It seemed hype in the marketplace over SOA was declining (and that’s good!) but hype over Cloud Computing was increasing. As one indicator we presented a chart from Google Trends that showed that searches on the term SOA were tending down as searches on the term CloudComputing were increasing.


The same chart points to a crossover point occurring somewhere in the last quarter of 2010.

These charts don’t really measure hype, which remains a very hard to quantify construct, but it definitely shows the cloud computing concept seeming to emerge from no where and the interest, as reflected in searches, increasing over SOA. So, it doesn’t take much of a leap to observe that the hype around these two concepts is shifting. If SOA is no longer the hot new thing and if cloud is the hot new thing then the marketing engines are going to reflect that.

Does that fit with your experience?

The bottom line: Mission should drive designs and architects should base designs off of an understanding of those missons informed by the realities of legacy systems and emerging technologies. Beware the hype on all topics, especially cloud computing. Cloud concepts are critically important to designs, but when something has so much hype around it designers should ensure solid definitions of the term are in place so all understand what is being talked about.

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