Service-Oriented Architecture: What Is It and How Can It Help Your Business?

Defining Service-Oriented Architectures

Service-oriented architecture, or SOA, is a hot topic in business today. You may have read about service-oriented architectures and be wondering how they can affect your business as well as how they can be of use to you. By looking at it from both a real-world perspective as well as a technical perspective, you will forge a solid understanding of service-oriented architecture from which you can jump off to implementing this technology within your business.

Defining Service-Oriented Architectures

Essentially, a service is the implementation of some step in one or more business processes, and a service-oriented architecture takes advantage of those services. More importantly, service-oriented architectures have many benefits for businesses, including enabling better alignment of business requirements and technology. Service-oriented architectures also allow services to be easily swapped out or reused for different purposes. And a service-oriented architecture gives your business the ability to leverage existing services easily while also leaving the option to write new services to fulfill specific purposes.

Service-oriented architectures rely heavily on programming in XML, a text-based mark up language that enables developers to define their own specific structure of data. However, one major benefit of setting up a service-oriented architecture is that it doesn't matter which language or protocol is used. Instead, the process can be written to be able to be used across many platforms.

One simple example of service-oriented architecture would be a program that installed on a computer that can organize a user's digital music library. The program may work best if it has access to the Internet and can utilize a service - looking up the name of a CD or song title in a large music database, for example, or giving access to an online store that uses the same database in a different manner. Service-oriented architectures are essentially about giving existing services new functionality.

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About the author

Charlie Fink United States

Charlie Fink is the vice president of product development and delivery for WestLake Training and Development. He has been designing and developing ...

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