SOA has been around for years but only recently became a real hit in software architecture world and de-facto standard for complex enterprise systems. SOA is omni-platform and omni-language and brings clear benefits to the system owners.

Just to refresh the memory, the component interaction in SOA looks like this:

SOA

The system components work as the black boxes and provide services to each other via Enterprise Service Bus (ESB)– the key component of SOA. The components communicate by messages, a communication protocol of ESB. SOA also presumes 2 component roles: a service provider and a consumer. So application developers would build the set of services, that would call for data or function. A software component may also play both roles and there may be more levels.

SOA is often differentiated from Microservices Architecture (MSA). Explore the differences between SOA and Microservices in the blog post.

Service-Oriented Architecture benefits

There are a variety of ways that implementing an SOA structure can benefit a business, particularly, those that are based around web services. Here are some of the foremost:

  • The code is reusable in the future
    This is one of the main reasons for the companies to switch to SOA. Same as object oriented programming helps developers to re-use their code, SOA helps re-using the code on the different abstract level — enterprise services. This significantly reduces time (and costs, subsequently) of the following software development projects and processes, simplifies support.
  • Interoperability levels between various platforms increase
    Since communication protocol and technical standard for the interface is set, all compatible platforms can communicate through it. With SOA, communication between platforms is not dependent on the languages, used to build them. Services may also communicate via firewalls, allowing service sharing between the company subsidiaries and different companies.
  • Technology stack independence
    It is not absolute, but it opens certain freedom in changing technology stack over time and not to get stuck on some specific framework for the chosen programming language for years. All developers have to care about is the public interface standard. This smoothly brings us to the next benefit…
  • Improved scalability, easier gradual deployment
    SOA solves scalability issue during development — it is possible to scale efficiently both horizontally and vertically, in order to meet the needs of the client. In fact, the level of interaction between the clients and services is dramatically decreased due to the communication vehicle and standard protocol — this means that apps can be scaled without load pressure and performance issues, as opposed to the monolith non-SOA environment.
  • Segregation of services — easier QA, better fault tolerance
    As the individual components are smaller then the system as a whole, it is easier to test them more efficiently independently without an impact on the other parts of the package. It also impacts the fault situations — segregated modules are better equipped to operate in case of the system failure, most of the time the fault of a service does not mean the following failure of the rest of the system.

Summary

The number of businesses, switching to SOA, grows over time as the benefits are crystal clear. Developers are able to build the systems more efficiently and develop them over time without ties to certain technology. Once the communication protocol is establish, all they have to care about is to keep the communication standard and rely on the interoperability. Additionally, SOA is about scalability and brings significant cost reduction — that means overall investment preservation.

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