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Service Oriented Architecture
Related pages: Service

Definitions of SOA from around the world

Miscellaneous SOA definitions

Slides with animation: Some of the SOA definitions from the world
This list could go on forever.... (what SOA really stands for is Seriously Overloaded Acronym!)


Arun Candadai, lead architect, GridScope, Inc.

SOA is a method of conceptualizing, designing, and building applications by assembling reusable building blocks, each of which is usually represented as a service. At the core, an SOA framework contains a set of services and other infrastructure resources whose interfaces evolve gradually and allow for applications to use them in a manner that is independent of the implementation protocol. To realize true IT and business agility, SOA-driven applications will need to employ an SOA implementation framework consisting of a formal methodology and a set of programmatic interfaces that are dynamic and scalable enough to meet changing and complex business requirements.


Service Oriented Architecture is: An Application Architecture that is designed to achieve loose coupling among interacting software applications. SOA provides greater flexibility in developing, integrating, and managing Enterprise Applications.

Oracle 2

Service-Oriented Architecture is:An application architecture in which all functions, or services, are defined using a description language and have invokable interfaces that are called to perform business processes. Each interaction is independent of each and every other interaction and the interconnect protocols of the communicating devices. Because interfaces are platform-independent, a client from any device using any operating system in any language can use the service.


Many of the SOA definitions given in your article have at least one key notion quoted, such as:

abstract complexity business process execution
business-oriented architecture standarizing interfaces
self-contained services autonomous services
loosely-coupled standard protocol
independent, but collaborative dynamic integration
reusable services service composition

"But none of them has them all. This clearly shows there are many aspects to the SOA concept! Only one of them quotes the notion of autonomy, which IMHO is the most important service attribute in an SOA. To me, this definition (Michael Champion's) is indeed the best amongst those presented in your article. "I definitely disagree with Randy Heffner on the necessity of having a repository cataloging services and their metadata, as well as on the option of using industry standards."


In short, SOA is about loosely coupled systems, message based communication and business process orchestration. As an abstract architectural model, it acts as an indirection between the business and the technology model. Web Services are the preferred implementation technology for loosely coupled and inter-operable systems.


Dave Morris, I.T. Security Lead TransAlta Corp.

Secure, integrated delivery of IT solutions meeting business requirements. Solutions must implement, optimize and guide business process execution by combining the functionality of separate, discreet, reusable services. SOA moves away from complex application development, promoting a focus on standardizing interfaces between atomic service components with centralized management and distributed implementation.


Ashok (Ash) Mansukhani

SOA is a software architecture that enables business agility through the use of loosely coupled services. Services are implementation-independent reusable business functions that are discovered as self-describing interfaces, and invoked using open standard protocols across networks. Services can in turn be combined and orchestrated to produce composite services and business processes, in accordance with pre-defined policies, security and SLAs.


Thomas Erl, chief architect, XMLTC Consulting Inc.

SOA is a form of technology architecture that adheres to the principles of service orientation. When realized through the Web services technology platform, SOA establishes the potential to support and promote these principles throughout the business process and automation domains of an enterprise.


An integration architectural style for XML document-based, exchanges using shared, loosely-coupled, network based software services
Open standards-based SOA architectures tend to be best realized using web services as the middleware technology


World Wide Web Consortium (W3C)

Service-Oriented Architecture is: A set of components which can be invoked, and whose interface descriptions can be published and discovered


Kunal Shah

Interoperability of collection of distributed, loosely coupled heterogeneous services; to orchestrate a series of business tasks, to achieve a specific business process objective.


SOA aims at aligning IT services with business processes. It promotes loose coupling between the service providers and service consumers, reuse and incremental integration practice.


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