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What is SOA or Service Oriented Architecture?

SOA is also known as Service Oriented Architecture. To answer “what is SOA” in simplistic terms, it is a flexible set of design principles which aids in the systems development and integration phases of computing.

So what is SOA? In short, we can trace its roots in the evolution of distributed computing. Service Oriented Architecture is ideally based upon the request and reply design model and it is basically used for computing synchronous as well as asynchronous applications with utmost ease. In this software module, the business logic of the applicant is modularized in a specified format and then presented to the client in the form of services. These services are mainly used in the form of client applications and here, even individual functions are capable of being modularized independently.

1.0 Introduction to SOA

Most people linger on with the question what is SOA and what purpose does it solve. The basic design principle of SOA then is to look into service-orientation. It pertains to services which expose their functionality via interfaces which are comprehendible for utility by other applications and services.

1.1 Tip

To get the best out of your software development program, you need to choose a software methodology which is easy to operate. SOA ranks very high in terms of ease of operation in the process of software development.

2.0 Basic Facts On SOA

Service Oriented Architecture is not a new development and has existed for over a decade. It was earlier done with the use of DCOM or Object Request Brokers (ORBs).

The services offered by SOA are loosely interconnected and are ideally independent of each other. In simple words, over here, the implementation interface is completely independent of the service interface. Hence, the applications can be built by system integrators without any prior knowledge of the service implementations. In SOA, all that the system integrator needs to possess is the skill set to compose one or more services aptly. A suitable example of this set up would be an application implemented in .Net and the application which is consuming this service is running on a completely different platform and perhaps even a different language.

3.0 The Criteria

Since you have come to grips with what is SOA, it would be beneficial for you to know of the conditions that need to be fulfilled so as to efficiently use SOA. Take a look at the basic ones below:
  • For effective integration between applications and services, the interoperability between the concerned systems and programming languages has to exist. A communication protocol has to be necessarily developed for that.
  • It is also necessary that continual data flow to a federated database system must exist. This would aid in establishing a common business format for each data element.

3.1 Tip

SOA is the most effective software module which functions independently.

4.0 Basic SOA Principles

An introduction to these basic principles that need to be adhered to for SOA development, maintenance and usage would make it even simpler to understand just what is SOA:
  1. System granularity, reusability, modular programming, componentization and inter-operability of diverse systems are quintessential.
  2. All standards, especially the industry-specific ones must be complied with.
  3. There should be provision for identification and categorization of services. Further, the provisioning and delivery aspects must be looked into. Aspects like monitoring and tracking of services are important too.
In addition to these, the architectural principles like service encapsulation, service loose coupling, abstraction, service contract, autonomy, optimization, relevance and discoverability also influence the design and behavior of a system.

5.0 Factors Which Govern SOA Implementation

When defining SOA implementation, these three factors act as important points of consideration:
  • That the system resources are put to efficient use;
  • The maturity and performance aspects of the service; and
  • Presence of Enterprise Application Integration.

What is SOA Service Oriented Architecture? - Tip

SOA is therefore an effective means of ensuring that the user gets a wide variety of options which also permits him/her to function without any undue restrictions.

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