Services Oriented Architecture is the Future The current buzz word in the Information Technology world is Service-oriented Architecture, also known as SO. Businesses are increasingly becoming interested in implementing SO but are reluctant to adopt what might appear to be a silver bullet due to the complexities involved in this hot new business model. Granted, SO is a new complex approach to building IT systems but it takes advantage of the companies existing assets making it an attractive option that will improve their current software architecture.
SO has many benefits for businesses and if the inundation is implemented properly it represents huge cost savings in the software life cycle. Software architects should understand the concepts of SO along with the recommended best practices and standards for implementing a well structured architecture model to determine if SO is the right solution for their business. “A thoughtful, organized approach to enterprise SO enables companies to implement, adapt and reuse business processes with unprecedented speed and ease.
To enjoy the opportunities that enterprise SO delivers, companies need an open, flexible technology platform to integrate best practices and third-party solutions. In addition, they need business-focused, reusable enterprise services. When companies can design services that are reusable across the enterprise, as well as in different regional organizations and across departmental lines, they achieve an increased efficiency and productivity that in turn results in the ability to rapidly innovate with differentiating services to drive additional business success. (SAP accelerates the path to SO for customers, 2008) Many solutions are available to companies that handle complex network services which use well known standards and technologies hat have been working in the business for a long time so business leaders may discount SO as a new fad without understanding exactly what SO really is. Taking time to learn about this new method of doing business is strongly advised to the architects responsible for companies IT infrastructure so they can make an informed decision regarding how they will do business in the future and if SO would be a good option for them.
Service-oriented Architecture is an infrastructure that hosts web services to support software requirements. Legacy applications and services are dad available as a web service that can be accessed using a common application interface. These service oriented concepts can be applied to business, software and other types of legacy systems. SO uses an easy to implement approach to developing IT systems that enables application interoperability and reuse of IT assets. As such, it enables business to offer services with existing applications that are supported by new technology rather than constrained by old legacy technology.
SO is the framework that enables a business to change, adapt, partner, and reinvent it itself easily by decoupling systems making them independent of their peer reverie. Many businesses have an infrastructure that consists of various applications offering services that run on a wide variety of technology which don’t all work together. Global enterprises tend to suffer the most from this blend of various platforms such as UNIX, Linux, Windows, or mainframe systems that use different languages like . NET, JOKE, Java, C/C++, or COBOL..
IT managers are concerned about the cost and time needed to remodel these services onto a common platform is to much and are hesitant to introduce a new business model that will require restructuring the foundation architecture. Fortunately with SO each application doesn’t have to change the current platform they are working on, rather they would create Web Services that are allowed access to the current systems and then publish the web service so other applications can consume the service using a common interface. Web services provide a standard meaner of interpretation between different software applications, running on a variety of platforms and/or frameworks. A Web service is a software system designed to support interoperable machine-to- machine interaction over a network. It has an interface described in a machine- resalable format (specifically WSDL). Other systems interact with the Web service in a manner prescribed by its description using SOAP messages, typically conveyed by using HTTP with an XML serialization in conjunction with other Web-related standards. (Zane & Abaca, 2006) In a SO implementation, Web Services act like building blocks where each block is a service that is linked to a business task, business object, or workflow. Because all of the building blocks fit together, you can assemble and reassemble them on the fly. Managing data across disparate systems is a constant challenge for all systems but SO tends to highlight the robbers related to duplicated or undefined data that isn’t standardized, making data mapping very difficult and time consuming.
In order to have a reliable infrastructure model, resources must be dedicated to the task of defining, standardizing, and maintaining the data that is used in all of the services that are offered. SO uses a standard business object model to easily define the data for services called a Business Object Document (SOD). A BODY is a business document that is exchanged between software components and provides a common messaging architecture. It provides the document structure and naming standards that are used o define and map meta-data to the XML documents which ensures both the publisher and subscriber can understand the content.
By understanding the concepts behind SO and how web services and data management are used software architects are able to analyze their current systems and make an informed decision on the value SO would have for the business. Many benefits exist to companies that implement a well planned Service-oriented Infrastructure. Interoperability can be found throughout the enterprise, multiple user groups, multiple business processes, multiple application styles, and multiple delivery channels with the use of SO. Flexibility is greatly increased to adapt to business operation changes increasing the time to implement new services.
Web Services reuse low-level components as well as high-level business services decreasing the cost of system management. Integrating disparate systems with a solution that is platform independent reduces the need to restructure the current infrastructure while still allowing the systems to work together in harmony. Service-oriented Architecture’s good reputation in the information technology industry is growing at a rapid rate making it the software architects best choice when faced with the task of implementing business integration technology and is highly recommended for companies that need to streamline their business workflow.
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