Enterprises from financial institutions to manufacturers are continuing to adopt technology with the same goals in mind.to make operations more efficient, take advantage of opportunities quickly, and make better decisions than their competitors. But while all of them can purchase the same systems and software, the real advantage comes from being able to apply these tools in innovative and productive ways. Creating an application infrastructure that pays dramatic dividends for the enterprise requires skills in determining how to architect applications that make effective use of core services.
The latest in a line of application infrastructures produced by industry analysts and strategic consultants is the service-oriented architecture(SOA). To many, it sounds like a collection of randomly assembled industry buzzwords. But the concept itself is straightforward. An SOA, at its heart, is a collection of services. A service is a software component that is well-defined, both from the standpoint of software and business function, and doesn’t depend on the context or state of any application that calls it.
These services are typically implemented as Web services, accessible by applications through the Simple Object Access Protocol (SOAP), an XML form transmitted over HTTP. The advantage of using Web standards in an SOA is that the services can more easily adapt to different applications. Nothing in particular has to be done programmatically to the service, except to enable it to receive requests and transfer results using SOAP. So, in many cases, Web services are straightforward for an enterprise to build, and existing software can even be adapted to create new Web services.
How does an SOA give an enterprise a competitive advantage, and enable it to respond rapidly to business opportunities? Simply, it enables an enterprise to define the essential services it requires to serve its core business needs efficiently, and to adapt rapidly to changing business conditions. Once these core services are implemented, any application can call upon them to access and analyze data, build new business models, or provide data or features that make that application immediately pay back its investment.
This means that SOA is both a technical and a business strategy. It’s a business strategy in that services deliver core value to the business. The services that comprise the SOA must be designed with an intimate understanding of the business, in order to determine what capabilities can be used across multiple applications. And they must be general enough to support multiple applications with different purposes, yet specific enough to provide real value to individual applications.
From a technology point of view, the challenge is in the architecture of the enterprise Web services. Because an SOA is fundamentally a flow and a relationship of service interfaces, designing the interfaces and their relationships requires an exceptional knowledge of Web technologies, business processes, and the technology platform underlying the services and the applications that employ them. The architect must understand not only how Web services are constructed, but how they are used by both existing applications and applications planned for the future.
- Managing for Security
- Mapping Security to SOA
- Getting the Big Picture on Security
- Special Report on SOA
- Hidden SOA Challenges
- Designing a Better SOA
- Explore the Dark Side of SOAs
- Establish a Service-Oriented Framework
- Debunking 3 SOA Myths
- SOA: The End of Integration
- The Critical Role of Shared Services
- Avoid Dead-End SOAs
- Use a Services-Network Approach
- SOA Report
- Top 10 ESB Myths
- Take the Enterprise Service Bus
- Enterprise Architect Summit 2004 Slide Presentations
- XML and Web Services: Are We Secure Yet
- Extensible ESB
- SOA Design: Meeting in the Middle
- ESB for Distributed Integration
- Take the Enterprise Service Bus
- Chapel Video