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The Relevance of SOA 

The key components of SOA is the 'business model' and the 'common information model’.  These two components are critical to moving an enterprise from simply building services (which at best may incidentally work together), to having an architectural approach that systematically leads to an organized collection of related, non-overlapping and composable services.

The SOA business and information models are directly related to the business architecture. They intersect at the business process, as defined in the business architecture, and translated into service concepts in the service model where they are extended to the next level of detail. The information flow of the business processes becomes the basis of the shared information model for the services and the document definitions at the service model.  These relationships are illustrated in the figure below.


Service-Oriented Architecture

A service-oriented architecture (SOA) is an architectural pattern in computer software design in which application components provide services to other components via a communications protocol, typically over a network. The principles of service-orientation are independent of any vendor, product or technology.

It is near impossible to define SOA, but it's characteristics are not...

A service-oriented architecture (SOA) is an architectural pattern in computer software design in which application components provide services to other components via a communications protocol, typically over a network. The principles of service-orientation are independent of any vendor, product or technology.

A service is a self-contained unit of functionality, such as retrieving an online bank statement. By that definition, a service is an operation that may be discretely invoked. However, in the Web Services Description Language (WSDL), a service is an interface definition that may list several discrete services/operations. And elsewhere, the term service is used for a component that is encapsulated behind an interface. This widespread ambiguity is reflected in what follows.

Services can be combined to provide the functionality of a large software application.  SOA makes it easier for software components on computers connected over a network to cooperate. Every computer can run any number of services, and each service is built in a way that ensures that the service can exchange information with any other service in the network without human interaction and without the need to make changes to the underlying program itself.