Saturday, 24 January 2015

Understanding SOA (Service Oriented Architecture)


Lets say you are designing a system to process stock rates that you receive from stock exchange. Lets say you develop a web application that expects a JSON object. Maybe in further processing down the workflow some other format is expected. To integrate various such services and inter communicate in platform independent way SOA is used. SOA suites provides easy way to integrate such services.


SOA is service oriented architecture. In SOA services are decoupled and can interact with each other irrespective of the service type. Meaning a particular service can be platform or protocol specific but SOA enables such services to interact and exchange data. This data is essentially exchanged via ESB (Enterprise service bus) which forms the backbone of any SOA architecture.

Let me go ahead and give specific example to help understand this better. One way ESB could be implemented us by using JMS servers and using XML/XSD as means of transferring data between various services. So various service will register or connect to these JMS servers and exchange data using XML format. Generally SOA suite comes bundles with so called adapters that help transforming messages to and from format understood by service and XML.

For example consider shares trading system. Messages from stock exchange come in FIX protocol. You may have build an application that expects JSON. To make these both systems work you will use SOA - FIX Adapter will convert FIX message to XML, then this xml will be transferred to JSON Adapter over ESB which will then convert to JSON as required by your system endpoint.

Note : I have mentioned XML as it is platform independent message format. It is in fact SOAP (Simple Object access Protocol) that is used to transfer messages. SOAP is a standardized xml with already defined and recognized specifications.

Finally hoping following picture makes it very clear.

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