SOA and Web Services

By: Vrushali I | February 9, 2011

business agility to adapt themselves to ever-changing business requirements and continually strive to achieve performance and cost benefits by implementing new solutions and therefore attract and retain customers.
The underlying IT infrastructure needs to be flexible enough to cope up with the new business requirements and provide solutions in shorter time. In today’s world even the well planned IT infrastructures face significant challenges introduced by mergers, acquisitions, and rapid growth of the enterprise. Even within an organization different business systems such as HR management, customer relationship management (CRM),  Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) work in isolation and there is no easy information flow and end-to-end integration of information among such systems involves mostly manual efforts.

Existing IT systems contain lot of business logic built in which provides domain expertise and is germane to the  business you are in. The cost of building application, licensing, deploying the new applications and training the personnel to use it involves huge investment in terms of cost and efforts and ROI is not instant. Building applications from the scratch is not an option always.

Service Oriented Architecture (SOA)
SOA provides the framework to provide the flexibility to your existing IT infrastructure, eliminate duplication of  efforts, and deliver solutions in short time and with less efforts and cost involved. The installation and implementation cost of the solution is very low. Further SOAs can adapt to future business requirement changes. SOA allows information integration amongst disparate systems still keeping the systems loosely coupled.

SOA provides consistent stable interfaces in front of diverse or volatile implementations in the form of:

  • Establishing information exchange across organizations.
  • Encapsulates the information flow and process complexities within the organization.
  • Provides platform for context-sensitive information processing.

SOA Defined
Service oriented architecture is basically a collection of services. These services communicate with each mostly
for data exchange and other times for coordinating regarding some activities. SOA allows the underlying service
capabilities and interfaces to be composed into processes.

Rather than replacing or removing the existing system, the applications are built on top of the existing services which
give the flexibility of changing the logic of services underneath without impacting the whole process. And such a
structure could be used across projects.

Services Defined
A service is a software component that is self-contained and provides the logical unit of work and should be accessible
through its interface and supports the connection offered to it. It is the endpoint of a connection.

SOA and Web Services
SOA can be implemented through web services. Web services are software systems which facilitate
machine-to-machine communication over a network. This communication is allowed through a set of
XML-based open standards, such as WSDL, SOAP, and UDDI.

Interoperability is the key feature of SOA and web services helps in realizing this. Different web services could be running on different platforms and hardware configurations but can still communicate with each other. Web services can be developed in any technologies as long as they are communicating through XML open standards they can communicate with other systems.

The web services can contain the entire business logic to implement or they can just be wrapped around the
legacy system(s). The basic service oriented architecture is as below:

1. Service Provider: – Creates a web service and publishes it (using UDDI) for others to consume.
2. Service Consumer: – Locates and binds to the web service of interest and then calls the respective web functions (service request).

Windows Communication Framework (WCF), the Microsoft’s framework to build applications which inter-communicate is the newest addition in the technologies that can be used to implement SOA. WCF unifies the capabilities of web services, .Net Remoting, Distributed Transactions, Message Queues into a common service-oriented model.

SOA benefits can be reaped in the form of:

  • Lower Cost: New systems are built faster and at a less cost as the existing services are reused. The existing
    assets are leveraged bringing down the cost. The systems are built for flexibility; individual systems can be
    updated, modified separately. The cost of maintaining the systems is less. In addition it provides the benefits
    of interoperability. Provides increased ROI on existing and evolving systems.
  • Attracting customers and vendor management: The applications can be made available to the external
    customers. The information can be ready to be consumed in real time which enhances productivity and
    customer satisfaction. Organization can have more control on the vendor deliveries by consuming the vendor
    web services and using the information retrieved for its internal systems.
  • Agility: SOA framework helps applications evolve over a time and last longer. The underlying services are
    loosely coupled and can be easily managed or replaced at any time. The business problems are addressed
    rather than scratching the heads over which technologies to use for the solution. Provides interoperability and
    platform independence which helps with expanding client base or with changing requirements. Also the
    system could be incrementally implemented.
  • Increased Productivity: With the systems integration and seamless flow of information focus could be on
    the core-competencies. Also with the availability of comprehensive and real time information it will aid in
    the decision making thereby increasing productivity.

SOA and Web Services: The Digital Advantage

  1. Experience and Know-how: – With Digital you can benefit with the experience, extensive knowledge and
    know-how of the SOA and Web Services implementation. It starts with analyzing your business needs and
    we will tell you if SOA is the way to go for your business needs and also what cost and productivity benefits
    will your organization derive if it is implemented.
  2. Skilled Resources: – Digital has a pool of specialized resources who have experience of implementing SOA
    and services across organizations and have worked extensively on web services in its different avatars.
  3. Technology Advantage: – We have expertise in different technologies and SOA can be implemented as
    diligently with Java as with Dot Net. Web Services have been developed and deployed in different
    technologies which are interoperable with other systems.
  4. Cutting Edge Technologies: – Digital has always kept pace with the changing business needs as well as
    changing technologies. We invest in current technologies research and knowledge upgrade of resources and
    help our clients in finding solutions with the new technologies. Advantages of Microsoft’s WCF framework
    have been applied to provide solution to our clients Distributed system.
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