Microservices Expo Authors: Zakia Bouachraoui, Pat Romanski, Elizabeth White, Liz McMillan, Gopala Krishna Behara

Related Topics: Microservices Expo, Java IoT

Microservices Expo: Article

SOA Web Services: "Ruling Out Services"

Ask 10 people the question: What is SOA? You will most likely get 10 different answers

Ask 10 people the question: What is SOA? You will most likely get 10 different answers. Chances are that in more than 50 percent of the cases, the word "Web services" will be a part of the answer. Another 20 percent will talk about process orchestration, XML, integration, and so on. All of these answers definitely describe either the elements of SOA or the components used for the implementation of SOA. One of the technology paradigms that does not instantly come to mind though is "business rules."

The association of business rules technologies with service orientation is rather new, although the technology itself has been around for a while. Business rules and process orchestration make a rather interesting combination. A few years ago the two areas had substantial overlap, and in a project it was sometimes hard to determine which one to use to solve which problem. A couple of years back a client had engaged us in a project that involved a rather elaborate proof of concept to determine whether the combination of process orchestration business rules made sense in their organization. The project was part of a larger initiative to service enable their legacy applications. Since the whole team was new to the technology, often questions arose regarding what to model where. The process orchestration vendors provide the ability to execute conditional logic within the process. Of course, this should be limited to logic that is routing, branching, etc. - not logic that is associated with actual calculations, decisions, and complex computations. The BRMS (Business Rules Management Systems) vendors, on the other hand, allow you to do the opposite - execute flows in the midst of processing complex logic. What can't be achieved (in either product) through the basic constructs can be done by using the programming language and scripting plug-ins that are available.

The market has matured quite a lot since then. It is not that the features have been removed - indeed, the products offer more, not less. It is just that the space that is occupied in the tiers of an SOA is much more clearly defined. Process orchestration is for the orchestration of business logic (implemented in SOA as discrete services). It allows us to separate the actual execution of the service from the context in which it is executed.

The service that is orchestrated through process orchestration performs business logic. If that business logic is composed of complex computations based on decisioning, it lends itself very well to the paradigm of business rules. All of the business rules engine (BRE) vendors in the market specialize in modeling such logic during design and executing it very efficiently during run time. Also, the interface to this logic is accessible as a well-defined service in an SOA. If you are designing a business process, essentially you will end up with discrete tasks. The tasks that lend themselves well to complex conditional logic are excellent candidates for business rules. BREs also provide powerful features for designing and modifying the rules in "business terms," which helps an SOA achieve the business agility objective.

Thus the question that may come to mind is: Why don't we see business rules mentioned whenever there is a reference to SOA - such as orchestration? Well, though business rules can be used to implement services in an SOA, they are applicable to a certain kind of service. In other words, there are other paradigms for creating services - object-oriented programming language constructs constitute one of the most prevalent. On the other hand, process orchestration orchestrates all services, whether they are business related or not.

More Stories By Ajit Sagar

Ajit Sagar is Associate VP, Digital Transformation Practice at Infosys Limited. A seasoned IT executive with 20+ years experience across various facts of the industry including consulting, business development, architecture and design he is architecture consulting and delivery lead for Infosys's Digital Transformation practice. He was also the Founding Editor of XML Journal and Chief Editor of Java Developer's Journal.

Comments (2)

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.

Microservices Articles
Digital Transformation is well underway with many applications already on the cloud utilizing agile and devops methodologies. Unfortunately, application security has been an afterthought and data breaches have become a daily occurrence. Security is not one individual or one's team responsibility. Raphael Reich will introduce you to DevSecOps concepts and outline how to seamlessly interweave security principles across your software development lifecycle and application lifecycle management. With ...
Containers and Kubernetes allow for code portability across on-premise VMs, bare metal, or multiple cloud provider environments. Yet, despite this portability promise, developers may include configuration and application definitions that constrain or even eliminate application portability. In this session we'll describe best practices for "configuration as code" in a Kubernetes environment. We will demonstrate how a properly constructed containerized app can be deployed to both Amazon and Azure ...
All zSystem customers have a significant new business opportunity to extend their reach to new customers and markets with new applications and services, and to improve the experience of existing customers. This can be achieved by exposing existing z assets (which have been developed over time) as APIs for accessing Systems of Record, while leveraging mobile and cloud capabilities with new Systems of Engagement applications. In this session, we will explore business drivers with new Node.js apps ...
The now mainstream platform changes stemming from the first Internet boom brought many changes but didn’t really change the basic relationship between servers and the applications running on them. In fact, that was sort of the point. In his session at 18th Cloud Expo, Gordon Haff, senior cloud strategy marketing and evangelism manager at Red Hat, will discuss how today’s workloads require a new model and a new platform for development and execution. The platform must handle a wide range of rec...
More and more companies are looking to microservices as an architectural pattern for breaking apart applications into more manageable pieces so that agile teams can deliver new features quicker and more effectively. What this pattern has done more than anything to date is spark organizational transformations, setting the foundation for future application development. In practice, however, there are a number of considerations to make that go beyond simply “build, ship, and run,” which changes how...
CloudEXPO New York 2018, colocated with DXWorldEXPO New York 2018 will be held November 11-13, 2018, in New York City and will bring together Cloud Computing, FinTech and Blockchain, Digital Transformation, Big Data, Internet of Things, DevOps, AI, Machine Learning and WebRTC to one location.
DevOpsSummit New York 2018, colocated with CloudEXPO | DXWorldEXPO New York 2018 will be held November 11-13, 2018, in New York City. Digital Transformation (DX) is a major focus with the introduction of DXWorldEXPO within the program. Successful transformation requires a laser focus on being data-driven and on using all the tools available that enable transformation if they plan to survive over the long term.
Adding public cloud resources to an existing application can be a daunting process. The tools that you currently use to manage the software and hardware outside the cloud aren’t always the best tools to efficiently grow into the cloud. All of the major configuration management tools have cloud orchestration plugins that can be leveraged, but there are also cloud-native tools that can dramatically improve the efficiency of managing your application lifecycle. In his session at 18th Cloud Expo, ...
Traditional IT, great for stable systems of record, is struggling to cope with newer, agile systems of engagement requirements coming straight from the business. In his session at 18th Cloud Expo, William Morrish, General Manager of Product Sales at Interoute, will outline ways of exploiting new architectures to enable both systems and building them to support your existing platforms, with an eye for the future. Technologies such as Docker and the hyper-convergence of computing, networking and...
While some developers care passionately about how data centers and clouds are architected, for most, it is only the end result that matters. To the majority of companies, technology exists to solve a business problem, and only delivers value when it is solving that problem. 2017 brings the mainstream adoption of containers for production workloads. In his session at 21st Cloud Expo, Ben McCormack, VP of Operations at Evernote, discussed how data centers of the future will be managed, how the p...