Information Technology Directory

Defining Service Oriented Architecture for Dummies

Service oriented architecture, or SOA is a term that’s been increasingly used in recent times in the world of information technology – but what is it?

To better understand SOA architecture, a definition of “service” is required. Similar to objects and components, services are like building blocks that allow users to organize information in ways that are familiar. These fundamental building blocks combine user information and behavior, hides internal workings from outside intrusion and presents a relatively simple interface.

To put it another way, a service is the vehicle by which a customer’s want or need is satisfied through a negotiated contract.

SOA applications support communication between different services

A SOA system, or server, links different programs together – allowing for the exchange of information and automation of business processes.

Take for example an e-commerce retailer like There are several steps and programs that have to work together in order for a customer at Amazon to have a seamless transaction – each step of the buying process involves different programs developed at different times using different technologies and platforms.

There’s most likely one program that tracks inventory that has to be tied in so the customer can see if their desired product is in stock. Another program for a shopping cart and another for payment…all of these systems need to be tied together, which is what SOA services do.

As put by software industry veteran David Sprott, “SOA is not just an architecture of services seen from a technology perspective, but the policies, practices, and frameworks by which we ensure the right services are provided and consumed.”

Bookmark and check back with the information technology knowledge center again soon for a more in-depth look at service oriented architecture SOA solutions and how itthey helps companies share information and operate more effectively.

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