The Benefits of Service OrientedArchitecture (SOA)
An interview with Paulo Merson, MSE
Software experts are always in greatdemand, especially those who are alsogood at training others. Paulo Mersonhas been teaching workshops onsoftware engineering for over adecade. We had the opportunity to talkto him during his visit to Panama,where he taught a SOA CertifiedProfessional workshop.
Why are so many people talkingabout SOA recently?
Many IT organizations have grown interms of the number of softwaresolutions and technology diversity.That along with the need to integratewith other organizations and externalservices has created a need for anapproach that can make the integrationof internal and external softwaresolutions more manageable. Todaywe’re past the hype about SOA. It’snow a well
established approach thatcan help you in those scenarios.
What are the main benefits of SOA?
Strictly speaking, SOA is anarchitectural model or pattern that hassome guidelines for designing softwarecomponents as services. And the termSOA has been used in different waysover the years. So, I’d rather mentionthe benefits of service
orientedcomputing, which is an umbrella termthat includes SOA. Now to the benefits.If done correctly, service
orientedcomputing will bring youinteroperability, the ability to moveacross vendors, natural alignment of business and technology. The ROIcomes in the long run, along with thebenefit of organizational agility, whichis the ability to deliver solutions quicklydue to higher levels of reusability andcomposability. To upper management,the visible benefit of service
orientedcomputing is a reduction in the burdenand the cost of the software solutionsand the IT enterprise as a whole.
How do I integrate my legacyapplications with SOA?
There are different approaches toconnect to legacy systems. More basicones include batch file transfers andETL, direct database access andscreen scraping. You can also havetechnology
specific adapters andgateways. If you follow serviceorientation principles, there are SOAdesign patterns that can be employed,such as asynchronous queuing andlegacy wrapper. Then you may ask,what solution is the best one? Itdepends on the technology context, ondesigns contraints and the qualityattribute requirements.
An ESB is commonly associated toSOA. Tell us about this.
The ESB is a special middlewaresoftware product that gives you theinfrastructure to implement differentalternatives for legacy integration, suchas queuing and technology adapters.But ESBs can be quite useful muchbeyond legacy integration, for exampleby providing configurable routing andmessage transformation functionality.
What are the common pitfalls of SOA?
Many organizations have tried SOAand didn’t succeed, or at least didn’tachieve the expected benefits. Acommon problem is to invest inimplementation technology andinfrastructure rather than architecture.Service
orientation gives you designprinciples that guide the creation of aninventory of services that are reusable,interoperable, autonomous, looselycoupled, discoverable and ultimatelyhighly composable.
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oriented computing will bring you interoperability,the ability to moveacross vendors,natural alignment of business and technology.