Welcome!

SOA & WOA Authors: Elizabeth White, Carmen Gonzalez, Pat Romanski, Liz McMillan, Cynthia Dunlop

Related Topics: SOA & WOA

SOA & WOA: Article

Exclusive SOA Web Services Journal Briefing – Thomas Erl On SOA

The Principles of Service-Orientation

With the unwavering prominence of service-oriented architecture (SOA) there is an increasing interest in understanding what exactly it means for something to be considered "service-oriented." Thomas Erl recently completed a lengthy research project for SOA Systems Inc. into the origins of SOA and the current state of service-orientation among all primary SOA technology platforms. This body of work contributed to the mainstream SOA methodology developed by SOA Systems and was also documented in Thomas's new book, Service-Oriented Architecture: Concepts, Technology, and Design. We caught up with Thomas (a previous contributor to WSJ) to ask him to share some of the insights he gained from his work with SOA and service-orientation.

There's no need to mention that SOA has become a major focal point of the IT industry and a primary consideration on numerous corporate agendas. Nor is there a need to get into how SOA has been so heavily promoted that the term has already reached hall-of-fame status as one of the most recognized acronyms in IT history.

What is more important than the term itself is the impact its perceived meaning continues to have on how automation solutions are constructed. Its popularity to date is largely the result of vendors advertising SOA support or capability as part of their product lines. Because SOA has been so vendor-driven, its meaning has been somewhat divergent, skewed by proprietary technology that is still identified with common characteristics that transcend proprietary boundaries.

These common characteristics are critical to defining and understanding an abstract technology architecture classified as "service-oriented." Viewing SOA in abstract is what establishes an agnostic reference point from which proprietary implementations can be measured and, ultimately, unified.

Vendor-Oriented Service-Orientation
Vendors and other organizations in the SOA space have published numerous papers, blueprints, and even frameworks. Most such documents serve the dual purpose of educating readers about SOA while marketing related products or services. This is nothing new. Past variations of client-server and distributed architecture models have varied significantly in both technology and design, depending mostly on who and what was used to implement them.

However, because a core expectation of SOA is its ability to harmonize and streamline diverse technical environments, preserving an abstract viewpoint is required to achieving its potential. This is because SOA, when elevated to an enterprise level, can be used to establish an ecosystem in which an agnostic, overarching framework transcends proprietary environments and constraints.

How the components and elements within this framework are shaped and standardized is of critical importance. This underlines the need for a design paradigm that is sufficiently generic so that it can be applied to solutions regardless of implementation, while remaining in alignment with where powerhouse vendors and organizations are currently taking the technology that is fueling the service-oriented computing platform.

Service-Orientation and Object-Orientation
Design paradigms have played an important role in the evolution of technology and application architecture. The most widely recognized paradigm for distributed business automation has been object-orientation. The system-wide implementation technology for object-oriented solutions has traditionally been proprietary, where, despite the use of the agnostic principles of object-orientation, objects or components are designed to function and interact by using technology and protocols specific to a computing and/or vendor platform.

Service-orientation owes much of its existence to object-orientation. Like traditional multitiered architectures, SOA is based on a model wherein solution logic is distributed. As with object-orientation, concepts such as encapsulation, abstraction, and reusability are fundamental to the design of distributed units of automation logic (services) within SOA. Key differences in these approaches are focused on how these units relate to each other and the scope at which the respective paradigms can be applied.

See Figure 1

Service-Orientation and the Separation of Concerns
I have yet to find a better means of explaining service-orientation than to reach back to that fundamental software engineering theory known as the "separation of concerns." This theory essentially proposes that larger problems be decomposed into a series of individually identifiable problems or "concerns." The logic required to address or solve the larger problem can then also be broken down into individual units of logic that address specific concerns.

Past design paradigms and development platforms have applied this theory in different ways. Component-based and object-oriented designs, for example, provide specific approaches for the decomposition of concerns and the design of corresponding solution logic. Service-orientation establishes a new and distinct means of realizing a separation of concerns. As a design paradigm, it is an evolution of past approaches, augmented and extended in support of the overall goals and characteristics of SOA.

See Figure 2

Common Service-Orientation Principles
Service-orientation began with a modest scope - a basic set of principles centered on an architectural model focused primarily on distinguishing services as reusable and discoverable resources. However, technology architecture in support of service-orientation is making significant strides, and extending its reach into key realms of enterprise computing.

Expectations are being raised surrounding a new era of business automation composed of services as adaptive, shared software assets that promise to infuse an enterprise with organization-level agility, federated interoperability, and vendor independence. These expectations have placed demands on what a distributed automation solution classified as "service-oriented" should be capable of, expanding the breadth of the service-oriented paradigm and adding to and further shaping its principles.

So far, eight common and fundamental principles have been identified. Note that these are classified as "common" in that they represent a cross-section of the most widely accepted design approaches and best practices promoted and practiced by the organizations most responsible for realizing the contemporary SOA movement.

Here then are the common principles of service-orientation:

  • services are loosely coupled
  • services share a formal contract
  • services abstract underlying logic
  • services are composable
  • services are reusable
  • services are autonomous
  • services are stateless
  • services are discoverable

More Stories By Thomas Erl

Thomas Erl is a best-selling IT author and founder of Arcitura Education Inc., a global provider of vendor-neutral educational services and certification that encompasses the Cloud Certified Professional (CCP) and SOA Certified Professional (SOACP) programs from CloudSchool.com™ and SOASchool.com® respectively. Thomas has been the world's top-selling service technology author for nearly a decade and is the series editor of the Prentice Hall Service Technology Series from Thomas Erl, as well as the editor of the Service Technology Magazine. With over 175,000 copies in print world-wide, his eight published books have become international bestsellers and have been formally endorsed by senior members of many major IT organizations and academic institutions. To learn more, visit: www.thomaserl.com

Comments (3)

Share your thoughts on this story.

Add your comment
You must be signed in to add a comment. Sign-in | Register

In accordance with our Comment Policy, we encourage comments that are on topic, relevant and to-the-point. We will remove comments that include profanity, personal attacks, racial slurs, threats of violence, or other inappropriate material that violates our Terms and Conditions, and will block users who make repeated violations. We ask all readers to expect diversity of opinion and to treat one another with dignity and respect.


@ThingsExpo Stories
SYS-CON Events announced today that SOA Software, an API management leader, will exhibit at SYS-CON's 15th International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on November 4–6, 2014, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. SOA Software is a leading provider of API Management and SOA Governance products that equip business to deliver APIs and SOA together to drive their company to meet its business strategy quickly and effectively. SOA Software’s technology helps businesses to accelerate their digital channels with APIs, drive partner adoption, monetize their assets, and achieve a...
SYS-CON Events announced today that Aria Systems, the recurring revenue expert, has been named "Bronze Sponsor" of SYS-CON's 15th International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on November 4-6, 2014, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. Aria Systems helps leading businesses connect their customers with the products and services they love. Industry leaders like Pitney Bowes, Experian, AAA NCNU, VMware, HootSuite and many others choose Aria to power their recurring revenue business and deliver exceptional experiences to their customers.
SYS-CON Events announced today that AgilePoint, the leading provider of Microsoft-centric Business Process Management software, will exhibit at SYS-CON's 2nd International @ThingsExpo which will take place on November 4–6, 2014, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. AgilePoint is the leading provider of Microsoft-based Business Process Management (BPM) software products, has 1,300+ on-premise and cloud deployments in 25+ countries and provides the same advanced BPM feature set as J2EE vendors like IBM and Appian for the Microsoft .NET native environment. AgilePoint customer...
The Internet of Things (IoT) promises to evolve the way the world does business; however, understanding how to apply it to your company can be a mystery. Most people struggle with understanding the potential business uses or tend to get caught up in the technology, resulting in solutions that fail to meet even minimum business goals. In his session at Internet of @ThingsExpo, Jesse Shiah, CEO / President / Co-Founder of AgilePoint Inc., will show what is needed to leverage the IoT to transform your business. He will discuss opportunities and challenges ahead for the IoT from a market and tec...
SYS-CON Events announced today that Utimaco will exhibit at SYS-CON's 15th International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on November 4–6, 2014, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. Utimaco is a leading manufacturer of hardware based security solutions that provide the root of trust to keep cryptographic keys safe, secure critical digital infrastructures and protect high value data assets. Only Utimaco delivers a general-purpose hardware security module (HSM) as a customizable platform to easily integrate into existing software solutions, embed business logic and build s...
One of the biggest challenges when developing connected devices is identifying user value and delivering it through successful user experiences. In his session at Internet of @ThingsExpo, Mike Kuniavsky, Principal Scientist, Innovation Services at PARC, will describe an IoT-specific approach to user experience design that combines approaches from interaction design, industrial design and service design to create experiences that go beyond simple connected gadgets to create lasting, multi-device experiences grounded in people’s real needs and desires.
Samsung VP Jacopo Lenzi, who headed the company's recent SmartThings acquisition under the auspices of Samsung's Open Innovaction Center (OIC), answered a few questions we had about the deal. This interview was in conjunction with our interview with SmartThings CEO Alex Hawkinson. IoT Journal: SmartThings was developed in an open, standards-agnostic platform, and will now be part of Samsung's Open Innovation Center. Can you elaborate on your commitment to keep the platform open? Jacopo Lenzi: Samsung recognizes that true, accelerated innovation cannot be driven from one source, but requires a...
The Internet of Things will greatly expand the opportunities for data collection and new business models driven off of that data. In her session at Internet of @ThingsExpo, Esmeralda Swartz, CMO of MetraTech, will discuss how for this to be effective you not only need to have infrastructure and operational models capable of utilizing this new phenomenon, but increasingly service providers will need to convince a skeptical public to participate. Get ready to show them the money! Speaker Bio: Esmeralda Swartz, CMO of MetraTech, has spent 16 years as a marketing, product management, and busin...
SYS-CON Events announced today that TeleStax, the main sponsor of Mobicents, will exhibit at Internet of @ThingsExpo, which will take place on November 4–6, 2014, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. TeleStax provides Open Source Communications software and services that facilitate the shift from legacy SS7 based IN networks to IP based LTE and IMS networks hosted on private (on-premise), hybrid or public clouds. TeleStax products include Restcomm, JSLEE, SMSC Gateway, USSD Gateway, SS7 Resource Adaptors, SIP Servlets, Rich Multimedia Services, Presence Services/RCS, Diame...
Things are being built upon cloud foundations to transform organizations. This CEO Power Panel at 15th Cloud Expo, moderated by Roger Strukhoff, Cloud Expo and @ThingsExpo conference chair, will address the big issues involving these technologies and, more important, the results they will achieve. How important are public, private, and hybrid cloud to the enterprise? How does one define Big Data? And how is the IoT tying all this together?
We certainly live in interesting technological times. And no more interesting than the current competing IoT standards for connectivity. Various standards bodies, approaches, and ecosystems are vying for mindshare and positioning for a competitive edge. It is clear that when the dust settles, we will have new protocols, evolved protocols, that will change the way we interact with devices and infrastructure. We will also have evolved web protocols, like HTTP/2, that will be changing the very core of our infrastructures. At the same time, we have old approaches made new again like micro-services...
The only place to be June 9-11 is Cloud Expo & @ThingsExpo 2015 East at the Javits Center in New York City. Join us there as delegates from all over the world come to listen to and engage with speakers & sponsors from the leading Cloud Computing, IoT & Big Data companies. Cloud Expo & @ThingsExpo are the leading events covering the booming market of Cloud Computing, IoT & Big Data for the enterprise. Speakers from all over the world will be hand-picked for their ability to explore the economic strategies that utility/cloud computing provides. Whether public, private, or in a hybrid form, clo...
SYS-CON Events announces a new pavilion on the Cloud Expo floor where WebRTC converges with the Internet of Things. Pavilion will showcase WebRTC and the Internet of Things. The Internet of Things (IoT) is the most profound change in personal and enterprise IT since the creation of the Worldwide Web more than 20 years ago. All major researchers estimate there will be tens of billions devices--computers, smartphones, tablets, and sensors – connected to the Internet by 2020. This number will continue to grow at a rapid pace for the next several decades.
SYS-CON Events announced today that Gridstore™, the leader in software-defined storage (SDS) purpose-built for Windows Servers and Hyper-V, will exhibit at SYS-CON's 15th International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on November 4–6, 2014, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. Gridstore™ is the leader in software-defined storage purpose built for virtualization that is designed to accelerate applications in virtualized environments. Using its patented Server-Side Virtual Controller™ Technology (SVCT) to eliminate the I/O blender effect and accelerate applications Gridsto...
SYS-CON Events announced today that Red Hat, the world's leading provider of open source solutions, will exhibit at Internet of @ThingsExpo, which will take place on November 4–6, 2014, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. Red Hat is the world's leading provider of open source software solutions, using a community-powered approach to reliable and high-performing cloud, Linux, middleware, storage and virtualization technologies. Red Hat also offers award-winning support, training, and consulting services. As the connective hub in a global network of enterprises, partners, a...
As the Internet of Things unfolds, mobile and wearable devices are blurring the line between physical and digital, integrating ever more closely with our interests, our routines, our daily lives. Contextual computing and smart, sensor-equipped spaces bring the potential to walk through a world that recognizes us and responds accordingly. We become continuous transmitters and receivers of data. In his session at Internet of @ThingsExpo, Andrew Bolwell, Director of Innovation for HP’s Printing and Personal Systems Group, will discuss how key attributes of mobile technology – touch input, senso...
The Internet of Things (IoT) is making everything it touches smarter – smart devices, smart cars and smart cities. And lucky us, we’re just beginning to reap the benefits as we work toward a networked society. However, this technology-driven innovation is impacting more than just individuals. The IoT has an environmental impact as well, which brings us to the theme of this month’s #IoTuesday Twitter chat. The ability to remove inefficiencies through connected objects is driving change throughout every sector, including waste management. BigBelly Solar, located just outside of Boston, is trans...
Connected devices and the Internet of Things are getting significant momentum in 2014. In his session at Internet of @ThingsExpo, Jim Hunter, Chief Scientist & Technology Evangelist at Greenwave Systems, will examine three key elements that together will drive mass adoption of the IoT before the end of 2015. The first element is the recent advent of robust open source protocols (like AllJoyn and WebRTC) that facilitate M2M communication. The second is broad availability of flexible, cost-effective storage designed to handle the massive surge in back-end data in a world where timely analytics...
Internet of @ThingsExpo Silicon Valley announced on Thursday its first 12 all-star speakers and sessions for its upcoming event, which will take place November 4-6, 2014, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in California. @ThingsExpo, the first and largest IoT event in the world, debuted at the Javits Center in New York City in June 10-12, 2014 with over 6,000 delegates attending the conference. Among the first 12 announced world class speakers, IBM will present two highly popular IoT sessions, which will take place November 4-6, 2014 at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, Calif...
From a software development perspective IoT is about programming "things," about connecting them with each other or integrating them with existing applications. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Yakov Fain, co-founder of Farata Systems and SuranceBay, will show you how small IoT-enabled devices from multiple manufacturers can be integrated into the workflow of an enterprise application. This is a practical demo of building a framework and components in HTML/Java/Mobile technologies to serve as a platform that can integrate new devices as they become available on the market.