API Conference wrap-up, lesson 1: SOA (service-oriented architecture)

At the API Conference that took place in Berlin from September 24-26, 2018, many inspiring speakers came together to talk about APIs and their future.

Axway’s Cédric Monier, VP for the API Product Line presented a gripping seminar on “Lessons Learned and How to Succeed” on three waves of topics: SOA, API Management and Microservice Management. In wave one, we summarize the pros and the cons for SOA.

What is a service-oriented architecture (SOA)?

“An SOA is a service-oriented architecture. This is a style of software design where services are provided to the other components by application components, through a communication protocol over a network. The basic principles of service-oriented architecture are independent of vendors, products and technologies. A service is a discrete unit of functionality that can be accessed remotely and acted upon and updated independently, such as retrieving a credit card statement online.”

Pros of SOAs

At the beginning of the seminar, Cédric posed the question, “How many people are still using SOA?” The answer was a surprising 50 percent from the audience. Like all technology, there are pros and cons. SOA clear design features such as service contracts, loose coupling, etc. are pros. There are many positives attributes to SOA. According to Cédric, you have flexibility and reusability via nine principles:

  1. Standardized Service Contract
  2. Reusability
  3. Discoverability
  4. Loose coupling
  5. Autonomy
  6. Composability
  7. Service abstraction
  8. Statelessness
  9. Interoperability

Cédric stated that “all these design principles are worthy attributes, they have value in today’s API Management world and the microservices world.” These are the principles that you want to hold on to with SOA, as well as good Standards: SOAP, XML, as well as TOOLING: ESB, BPM.

Cons of SOAs

Where there are pros there are usually cons. Don’t be sidetracked! There are some challenges for SOA. Cédric stated in his seminar that there is a “lack of simplicity and low latency for clients, REST vs SOAP.” With ESB, you have a deficiency for anyone to easily discover and subscribe to the services. Also, with WS security, addressing, basic security profile, WS-RM, WS-RM, WS-Reliability are factors.

It’s important to note that SOA was born in a different time and age, there is now a lack of cloud readiness and cloud application integration which makes it a challenge. It’s important to note that there are some solutions, so you don’t have to replace the system altogether. You can use caching and build a layer to overcome some of the difficulties to propel your SOA forward. Read more about SOA here.

Listen to the full presentation here.

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