Server oriented architecture, otherwise known as SOA, is a combination of IT architectures which support web services, created in modular form, so that they are easy to exchange or replace.
The main distinguishing feature of this software architecture is the services’ capacity for dialogue with different systems, using special network connections. The end user can easily take advantage of these functionalities, thanks to a clear and intuitive interface (regardless of the language used).
How server oriented architecture works
The main component of the SOA structure is the service. It is a business type functionality, equipped with its own interface, which carries out a specific task. In order to be considered compatible with an SOA architecture, a service must satisfy certain clearly defined, required conditions:
- It must be dynamically recoverable and searchable;
- It is important that it is modular and self-contained;
- It must have a clear interface which is independent from its intended implementation;
- It must not be too closely constrained to another service, in either its technology or functionality (loosely coupled);
- It must be able to be connected transparently in relation to its allocation;
- The service interface should preferably be coarse-grained;
- It must be made up of modular components which can be easily integrated into business processes.
In addition to these aspects, which make the service functional, it must also be publishable online, with an interface that can be searched for and requested regardless of the language used by the platform requesting it.
This versatility offers firms the opportunity to combine several services at once, introducing them into their own applications easily, without the need to intervene directly in the software structure. The greater the correlation between the services, the more complex the architecture becomes (but, at the same time, managing it becomes easier and quicker).
It is clear then that server oriented architecture is the ideal solution for anyone looking for dynamic web services which are easy to interface with pre-existing software. The modular system allows for rapid updates and replacements without any negative consequences.
The logical structure which at the basis of SOA
For server oriented architecture to work properly it needs a logical structure which governs the various phases. An overview of its functioning can be divided into four blocks, which each represent a different phrase of the process which enables a service to be provided to the end user:
- Service consumer: the application (or another service) which requests the specific service;
- Service provider: provides the service and exports its interface;
- Service contract: the code used to request the service and the relative proposal;
- Service registry: the online list where all the available services can be requested.
To summarise, the typical functioning of an SOA is as follows: the service consumer requests a service from the service provider using the service contract; the service provider replies (using the same code contained in the service contract) once they have checked that the service requested is present in the service registry and then arranges for it to be sent.
Server oriented architectures offer considerable advantages for companies
Such a dynamic infrastructure is able to give companies who decide to adopt it very attractive benefits. The flexibility offered by modular services, as already mentioned, is perfect for easy software updating and keeping up with all the latest developments.
Furthermore, competitiveness is also incentivised, thanks to the continuously updated tools, which are able to meet the changing demands of the market and users.
Translated by Joanne Beckwith