Service Oriented Architecture (SOA) – A Comprehensive Guide in 6 Points

Ajay Ohri


Software services are functional attributes of a system designed to perform specific tasks. It can retrieve information, execute a program, or can carry out a complete business function with respect to the organizational goals. It is made up of codes and information necessary to carry out the intended functions. It can also be remotely accessed and configured or can be updated to stay relevant to changing demands. The basic difference between normal software services and SOA is that the former is an end result of the software development process while the latter is an application based on an individual or a composite of software services. 

  1. Definition of Service Oriented Architecture (SOA)
  2. SOA Architecture –
  3. Components of SOA
  4. Principles of SOA
  5. Advantages of Service Oriented Architecture (SOA)
  6. Disadvantages of SOA

1) Definition of Service Oriented Architecture (SOA)

Service Oriented Architecture (SOA) is a software design that makes the application components reusable by providing services using a common communication protocol over a network. It basically integrates all the software components that are separately deployed and maintained by communicating with each other to function across different systems.

SOA helps users to assimilate different facilities from already existing services to develop applications. It includes several principles that help structure a decentralized system by integrating several components to form a well-structured application. It is basically a computing architecture that forms an interoperable service package that can function in separate systems and business domains. 

2) SOA Architecture –

What Is SOA Architecture? Implementation of SOA requires certain protocols, infrastructure, and tools to enable system interoperability and establish communication between the various business functions. For instance SOAP, JSON, Active MQ, and Apache Thrift are some of the standard protocols to access data or send requests for services. SOA developers can use Enterprise Service Buses (ESBs) which integrates the centralized core component with the backend systems to deploy service interfaces. Users can invoke services by sending messages to the ESB, which then transforms and reroutes the coded messages for the specific service implementation. 

The components are loosely coupled i.e. interconnecting components in a system network to share communication or to coordinate a process by operating independently. A simple Services Oriented Architecture Example is SOAP (Simple Object Access Protocol). SOAP helps in the implementation of web services by exchanging structured information in the form of a messaging protocol specified for a particular application. As the components are loosely coupled, each of the components can be switched out or updated with minimal effect or changes on each other. This makes it possible to establish individual services as well as a composite service that enhances enterprise flexibility. 

3) Components of SOA

There are eight main SOA components in each of the SOA blocks. They are:

  • Adapter – It is a software module added to a system that grants access to satisfy certain capabilities via the service interface,
  • Business Process Modeling – This is the blueprint of the entire business process that maps the responsibilities of each human participant and the individual components in a system.
  • Service Provider – It works together with the service registry to determine the services being offered, their availability, and any trade agreements besides other functions.
  • Service Broker – This particular set of software follows certain protocols in an SOA framework to bring the various components together in a system.
  • SOA Repository – It is the database that stores all the SOA components for controlling and configuring the contents.
  • SOA Governance – It is a set of protocols for managing the process and metadata of the system.
  • Service Requester – It helps in locating the multiple entries in the registry in order to bind them to the service provider together.
  • Enterprise Service Bus (ESB) – It is the communication center connecting to various metadata, registries, and the interfaces of each component.

4) Principles of SOA

Some of the key SOA principles are given below:

  • Loose Coupling – It is one of the major characteristics of SOA web services. It means that services are designed to maintain the least relationship between the web services client invoking the web services.
  • Service Abstraction – The services provided executes its functionality by hiding its logic by encapsulating it within its implementation. 
  • Service Reusability – The services rendered should be based on maximizing reuse so that it has the ability to function with several application types.
  • Service Autonomy – It means the service provided should have control over the logic that it encapsulates. This can be done by making sure the client does not have complete control over its implementation by granting access to its codes.
  • Service Interoperability – This is one of the main service-oriented architecture characteristics. Services should opt for protocols and standards to allow its diverse usage.

5) Advantages of Service Oriented Architecture (SOA)

Below are some of the benefits of service-oriented architecture:

  • Easy Maintenance – Services can be modified easily as these services are independent.
  • Independent Platform – It makes a complex application possible by integrating different services from varied sources.
  • Scalability – It promotes system scalability as services are being offered from different servers to work on a given environment. 
  • Service Availability – Services are made available to users based on their request.
  • Service Discoverability – Maintaining a service registry will ensure easy discoverability of services by holding the necessary information about the web service.
  • Service Composability – SOA makes it possible for services to break down into smaller components or modules each assigned with separate business functions.
  • Standard Service Contract – A standard service with proper descriptions makes it easy to understand what the service is all about.

6) Disadvantages of SOA

Some of the challenges of service-oriented architecture are listed below:

  • High Investment – In order to implement SOA, it requires a huge investment in maintaining IT infrastructure.
  • Service Management Complexity – When individual services interact, they exchange messages in millions which increases the load and response time in handling such huge tasks.


With the advancement of technologies and the increase in the deployment of web services, companies will continue to harness the power of SOA. Its standard communication channel will continue in ensuring interoperability with multiple software applications. SOA will ensure that software services are made available to users and promote scalability. SOA ensures easy maintenance and it will help in reducing the costs while ensuring a sound business service solution to clients.

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