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What is SOA?

Whilst the area of service-oriented architecture, or SOA, is currently a highly active area, there still remains some considerable confusion with regards to what SOA actually is. As you will see in the following article, different people tend to qualify SOA in quite different ways. With that in mind, have a look at the various SOA definitions.

Overview

SOA tends to be classified in different ways. While many people refer to an SOA project as one that is characterised by the fact that web service technologies are being used within a specific project, others regard the SOA framework as one that is essentially a web-centric alternative to
object-oriented architectural design.

The strategic vision

Fortunately, there is one area of SOA design that appears to be significantly more clear-cut. The strategic goals surrounding this area appear to be comparatively clear. The vision here is one where the various goals and benefits, which each stakeholder hopes to achieve when they commit to SOA services, will in fact be fully realised. Nonetheless, due to the fact that the term SOA has often been tagged to various brand products and technologies without clear definition, it has resulted in a number of these expectations remaining unfulfilled.

Fragmentation

While there is certainly no lack of information with which SOA could effectively be defined, problems arise simply because the information available has tended to be extremely fragmented. In fact, the information has developed from various areas such as media reports, marketing literature as well as independent research studies.

General concepts and principles

However, despite the confusion surrounding its precise definition, there does exist some general concepts and principles that are shared by the numerous organisations which have all had a part to play in the development of the SOA movement. Specifically, it can be more or less accurately stated that service-oriented architecture refers to a specific, though variable set of design principles. These principles will be applied at various stages during systems integration and development within computing. Final word Essentially, SOA operates by separating various functions into distinct services. These services can then be distributed to a network by developers in order that users can either reuse them or combine them within particular applications. Thus, consumers can communicate with each other by way of exchanging data within a shared and clearly-defined format.

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