What is the scope of the SOA middleware

What is SOA (Service-Oriented Architecture)?

SOA (Service-Oriented Architecture) is a design in which software components can be reused. This is made possible by means of service user interfaces that use a common communication language in the network.

Services are independent software functional units or functional sets that are intended to carry out specific tasks, such as calling up certain information or performing a process. A service contains the code and data integrations needed to run a single full business function. It is called up via remote access and can be edited or updated individually.

In other words, an SOA integrates software components that are separately deployed and managed, and allows them to communicate and function across different systems as one application.

How does this work?

Before SOA became fashionable in the late 1990s, it was very difficult to connect applications to services in another system. With point-to-point integration, connections, routing, translation of data models, etc. had to be newly created by the developers for each project. These models were known as "monolithic" because the code for the entire app was integrated into a single deployment. If one aspect of the application did not work, the entire construct had to be temporarily taken offline, repaired and made available again as a new version.

With SOA, developers no longer have to completely repeat the entire integration. The reason is that they use standard network protocols (such as SOAP, JSON, ActiveMQ or Apache Thrift) to provide services and thus send queries or access data. Instead, patterns known as ESB (Enterprise Service Buses) are used, which take over the integration between centralized components and backend systems and make them available as service user interfaces.

In an SOA, services communicate via a "loose coupling" system. Components (or "elements") are linked in a system or network so that they can forward data or coordinate processes, and do so as independently of one another as possible. In this way, a new app is actually created.

Advantages of the monolithic approach

  • Faster time to market and greater flexibility: The fact that the services can be reused in an SOA facilitates and accelerates the development of applications. In contrast to the monolithic approach, developers don't have to start from scratch every time.
  • Use of legacy infrastructures in new markets: SOA makes it easier for developers to scale functions on one platform and move them to other environments.
  • Lower costs through more agility and more efficient delivery
  • Easy maintenance: Since all services are independent of each other, they can be modified and updated without affecting other services.
  • Scalability: Since services in an SOA can be executed on multiple services, platforms and programming languages, scalability is significantly increased. For this purpose, an SOA uses a standardized communication protocol with which interactions between clients and services can be reduced. This allows apps to scale with less pressure and more ease of use.
  • Greater reliability: Since debugging small services is easier than debugging large amounts of code, more reliable apps can be built in an SOA.
  • Comprehensive availability: SOA facilities are available to everyone.

SOA versus microservices

The service concept introduced with SOA has now developed into a central component of modern cloud computing and virtualization in technologies such as middleware and microservices.

Because of their similarity, SOA and microservices are often confused. A key difference between the two is their scope: an SOA is an enterprise-wide approach to architecture, while microservices is an implementation strategy for the application development teams.

In addition, both communicate differently: SOA uses ESBs, while microservices communicate statelessly and via APIs that are independent of the programming language. This independence from the programming language allows the dev teams to choose the tools they like to work with for their work. Seen in this way, microservices can be used much more flexibly.

Red Hat and microservices

Due to the advances in container technology, microservices now form the basis for CI / CD (Continuous Integration / Deployment) and cloud-native applications. The microservces are loosely coupled, provided in Linux containers and connected for message routing via APIs or a mesh network.

Each element implements a business function and is independently created by small DevOps teams using workflows such as CI / CD. This in turn enables faster development, automatic provisioning and regular updates - without the limitations of monolithic development cycles.

Thanks to its open source portfolio, including Red Hat® Enterprise Linux® and Red OpenShift, Red Hat is a good partner for companies that want to migrate their infrastructure and application development to the fast and adaptive environment of cloud computing. This happens gradually, while existing infrastructures can continue to be fully used.