Understanding service-oriented technology today

This excerpt from "SOA: Priniciples of Service Design" revisits fundamental service design elements and depicts how they work in relation to one another.

We'll be making reference to the previously defined elements throughout this book. Understanding them individually is just as important as understanding how they can relate to each other because these relationships establish some of the most fundamental dynamics of service-oriented technology.
Let's therefore revisit these elements with an emphasis on how each ties into others:

  • Service-oriented architecture (SOA) represents a distinct form of technology architecture designed in support of service-oriented solution logic which is comprised of services and service compositions shaped by and designed in accordance with service-¬orientation.
  • Service-orientation is a design paradigm comprised of service-orientation design ¬principles. When applied to units of solution logic, these principles create services with distinct design characteristics that support the overall goals and vision of service-oriented computing.
  • Service-oriented technology represents a new generation computing platform that encompasses the service-orientation paradigm and service-oriented architecture with the ultimate goal of creating and assembling one or more service inventories.

These relationships are further illustrated in Figure 3.15.

Figure 3.15 A conceptual view of how the elements of service-oriented computing can inter-relate.

service oriented technology

To fully appreciate how these elements are ultimately used we need to explore how they translate into the real world. To do so, we need to clearly distinguish the role and position of each element within a physical implementation perspective, as follows:

  • Service-oriented solution logic is implemented as services and service compositions designed in accordance with service-orientation design principles.
  • A service composition is comprised of services that have been assembled to provide the functionality required to automate a specific business task or process.
  • Because service-orientation technology shapes many services as agnostic enterprise resources, one service may be invoked by multiple consumer programs, each of which can involve that same service in a different service composition.
  • A collection of standardized services can form the basis of a service inventory that can be independently administered within its own physical deployment environment.
  • Multiple business processes can be automated by the creation of service compositions that draw from a pool of existing agnostic services that reside within a service inventory.
  • Service-oriented architecture is a form of technology architecture optimized in support of services, service compositions, and service inventories.

This implementation-centric view brings to light how service-oriented computing can change the overall complexion of an enterprise. Because the majority of services delivered are positioned as reusable resources agnostic to business processes, they do not belong to any one application silo. By dissolving boundaries between applications, the enterprise is increasingly represented by a growing body of services that exist within an expanding service inventory (Figure 3.16).

Figure 3.16 A service inventory establishes a pool of services, many of which will be deliberately designed to be reused within multiple service compositions.

service inventory


Use the following table of contents to navigate to chapter excerpts.

SOA: Principles of Service Design
  Home: Service-oriented computing and SOA: Introduction
  1: Design fundamentals: Design characteristics
  2: Design fundamentals: Design principles
  3: Design fundamentals: Design pattern and design pattern language
  4: Design fundamentals: Design standard
  5: Design fundamentals: Best practices
  6: Introduction to service-oriented computing
  7: Service oriented architecture
  8: Service compositions
  9: Understanding service oriented computing elements
  10: Entity services
  11: Web services and service oriented computing
  12: Service inventory blueprints
  13: Service-oriented analysis and service modeling
  14: Service-oriented design
  15: Goals and benefits of service-oriented computing
  16: Increased intrinsic interoperability
  17: Increased federation
  18: Increased vendor diversification options
  19: Increased business and technology domain alignment
  20: Increased ROI
  21: Increased organizational agility
  22: Reduced IT burden

SOA: Principles of Service Design is dedicated to service engineering and establishing service-orientation as a design paradigm. This hands-on manual for service design establishes concrete links between specific service-orientation design principles and the strategic goals and benefits associated with SOA. Purchase the book from Amazon.com.
Thomas Erl is the world's top-selling SOA author, Series Editor of the "Prentice Hall Service-Oriented Computing Series and editor of The SOA Magazine. His books have become international bestsellers and have been formally endorsed by senior members of major software organizations such as IBM, Microsoft and Oracle. He is the founder of SOA Systems Inc., a company specializing in SOA training, certification and strategic consulting services with a vendor-agnostic focus.


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