This is a guest post from Joe McKendrick of TechRepublic’s sister site ZDNet. You can follow Joe on his ZDNet blog Service Oriented, or subscribe to the RSS feed.

We’ve been hearing that “SOA is dead,” but perhaps there is a new way to look at the way in which service oriented architecture is evolving. Dave Linthicum, in fact, hit the nail on the head when he asked in his most recent post, “Will SOAs morph into private clouds?”

Dave observes that the private clouds being proposed as secure, internal extensions of cloud computing bear a striking resemblance to the service oriented architectures we have been talking about over the last few years:

“Private clouds, albeit different from enterprise to enterprise, have a few common patterns. Private clouds offer shareable resources, or the ability to reuse storage, database, transactional, and business process management services. Moreover, they typically have governance frameworks surrounding them, and have many other features that make them look like core components of an SOA, or at least first instances of SOA.”

Agreed. A couple of years back, I pondered whether SOA is effectively Software as a Service, delivered to an internal user base. As also mentioned frequently at this blogsite (more recently here), there is a lot of industry discussion about delivering online services and capabilities via private clouds. (We also talk about this a lot in Dana Gardner’s BriefingsDirect analyst podcasts.)

Okay, I know many of you have your buzzword antennae up, and substituting one buzzword, “SOA”, for another, “private cloud,” doesn’t help you run your businesses any better. The question is, can following service oriented architecture principles and introducing Software as a Service save money, deliver ROI, and increase effectiveness? The answer varies from business to business.

The beauty of private clouds versus public cloud computing, of course, is that it offers greater control and security over applications and data. Clearly a natural role for SOA, which will be the backbone of any emerging private clouds. But there may be plenty of public cloud computing in the mix as well, more SOA initiatives will include services from outside the firewall — a sort of “micro-outsourcing” of application functionality.