Many service oriented architecture implementations are suffering because of the various services in use not being properly controlled and managed.
It is fine when you have five or fewer services - each one can be essentially hard-wired to the others. At about 10 services, however, we start to get in to spaghetti mode, with connections all over the place.
If we try to use an architecture that is fully service oriented then we bring in the registry - but here again, a calling service will have its own needs and should have something that can match needs against supporting services' capabilities.
For example, let's say that we have a calling service that requires a function that can deal with x transactions per minute. We could call a known service and hope it can do that. Or we could ask an intermediary to help identify the best service for this through the use of contract details.
Here, the providing service will have metadata that says something along the lines of "providing I am provisioned on a dual Xeon system with Linux and Apache, I can do x transactions per minute". Therefore, we have dynamic matching of service level agreements, which is all to the good.
The other consideration is auditing - being able to say what ran where and when. With governance continuing to be an issue for companies, auditing is necessary, and governance software from companies such as Amberpoint can manage this.
Such software will be seen as a necessity as time goes on. Thanks to original equipment manufacturer agreements, Amberpoint is already relatively widespread in the market, but not that many users know it is there. This means that pulling everything together under a single over-reaching Amberpoint banner is not that easy.
Runtime governance of services in an SOA should really be seen as a necessary starting point, not a retro-fit bolt on. Amberpoint is way ahead in this game, but I believe that it has struggled to ensure that it is on shopping lists at the earliest point to make the biggest impact.
I fear that it will take a few more SOA failures to get through the press before runtime governance is seen for what it is, but at least Amberpoint has a proven system ready to meet any need.