Service-oriented architecture (SOA) helps organizations boost business performance, reduces costs and enhances the flexibility of business processes.
Service-oriented architectures (SOAs) connect the modern enterprise, providing the essential links between applications, platforms, business processes and data sources. But many enterprises, having embraced SOA for everything from ERP and mobile devices to social networking and cloud computing, now face challenges. Namely, they need to advance their SOA capabilities, programs and oversight to create a more service-oriented enterprise.
What is SOA?
SOA or Service-oriented Architecture is a method through which different types of services can interact with each other independently. A service is a self-contained part of the functionality, and several services can be combined to provide use and functionality of a software application on a large scale. What SOA does is that it makes it simpler for software parts on PCs that are connected to a network to interact and cooperate. The design pattern of SOA is such that applications components in it can offer services to other such components mostly over a network. Each and every computer system can run any number of services, each of which is built to exchange information with any other different service in a network without human help.
In business terminology, SOA is a set of business-aligned IT services which together address the goals and processes of the business company. The structural design of SOA makes sure that there is an alignment with the requirements of the business as well as the technological solution of the same.
The major elements of SOA
- SOA Drivers – SOA drivers or enterprise business drivers include things like competition, strategy, regulatory forces and market forces. All these things come together to drive the business architecture and to give a shape to business-wide performance management
- SOA enablers – The five main SOA enablers are Enterprise business model, Business performance optimization, Portfolio Rationalization, Enterprise Semantics definition and Key performance indicators. Having a business model is important for the correct alignment of services with the aims and goals of the business. The semantic information model gives the common and general business related information for a given enterprise. Key performance indicators or KPIs make the assessment of the impact of SOA possible and make the measurement of business processes easier. On the other hand, portfolio rationalization makes consolidation and simplification of applications, data and infrastructure possible.
- SOA Implementation – As far as implementation is concerned, business services and processes are the main aspects. Business processes are mostly associated with business goals and objectives of operations whereas, on the other hand, business services must be well aligned and are critical to flexible and successful SOA implementation. Some of the other aspects related to SOA implementation are Enterprise content repositories, semantic messaging and integration services. The information represents the data resources of the company, and this data is passed in the form of documents that provide a kind of semantic messages between services and processes.
- SOA Support – All the functions and elements from the existing applications and systems are made available and usable to the services with the support of some integration services that take off covers from the existing functions via new service interfaces.
The Main Principles of SOA
- Service architecture – The physical layout or design of individual services that surpass all the resources that were used by a service.
- Service composition architecture – All the services developed using service-oriented design methods are composition centric, and this is their main feature. This architecture, therefore, is the composition of individual architectures of various services.
- Service inventory architecture – This architecture is formed from the service inventory blueprint where the service inventory is made up of services that automate the procedures of businesses.
- Service-oriented enterprise architecture – This type constitutes of composition, service as well as inventory architectures.
The Evolution of SOA Concept
- Monolithic design – This design was related to relatively unstructured procedural coding
- Object and structure oriented design – This is the design that involves program units based on functionalities.
- Client-server design (two-tier design) – This is the concept of distributed design and is related to bundling of functionalities into two tiers.
- Distributed object design (multitier design) – This design involves object interactions in a heterogeneous environment and distributed object design.
- Component object model architecture – This is a design in which there is an aggregation of items into logic based parts with strongly types as well as a well-defined interface.
- Service oriented architecture – This is a design that involves interactions and communications between coarse-grained services with standard interfaces for a flexible interoperations.
The business advantages of SOA include:
- Accessibility—Deliver data and collaboration capabilities to knowledge workers via PCs, portals, mobile devices or composite applications, regardless of where that data resides.
- Agility—Create a flexible SOA foundation that supports quick and cost-effective business strategy changes, by separating business processes from technology.
- Analysis—Enable rapid decision making by giving business leaders real-time, mission-critical business intelligence, backed by analytics, dashboards, reporting tools and mobile delivery.
- Efficiency—Apply SOA to consolidate, streamline and eliminate existing applications, as well as to embrace applications, infrastructure and platforms based in the cloud.
- Value—Connect old and new technology investments, as well as mash-ups, social media, the cloud and more, in a secure, controlled and cost-effective manner.