In a Service-Oriented Architecture, Who Will Do the Cooking?
Understanding Management Trends in the New Age of Service-Oriented Architectures
By: Paul Lipton
Jul. 9, 2004 12:00 AM
The acclaimed essayist and novelist Nora Ephron once said "What my mother believed about cooking is that if you worked hard and prospered, someone else would do it for you." Nothing could better capture the spirit of Service-Oriented Architectures (SOAs) than this statement from a person who clearly does not consider cooking a core competency. Translated to human terms, a SOA can help make sure that the right person is doing the cooking at the right time.
The idea of a Service-Oriented Architecture is simple and much older than any Web services standard. Instead of services being statically bound to each other in some sort of "hard-coded" relationship (which is often the case for many real-world Web service deployments today), in a SOA, service consumers can discover the service providers that they need and use them as required. Typically, information about these other services is stored in a database or directory, often referred to as a registry by the Web services savvy. To reiterate an often-used analogy, this is similar to how consumers can discover needed services in the phone book.
For business, this architecture can serve as a foundation for distributed systems that are far more flexible and responsive to the organization. This is especially important today. Factors such as globalization, higher customer expectations, and increased regulatory pressure, have put pressure on IT to be more responsive to the needs of the business, and Service-Oriented Architectures are widely held as the key architectural element to make this possible. In short, SOAs are about encapsulating valuable functionality as services made available inside and outside the enterprise, and leveraging those available services to build a better, more flexible, and more useful enterprise IT environment.
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