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Related Topics: SOA & WOA Magazine

SOA & WOA: Article

Service Orienting BPM

Service-Oriented Process Management

SOA, EAI, and Web Services
What is the difference between EAI and SOA? EAI designates a set of integration solutions, while SOA serves as an intermediary between well-integrated IT systems and well-defined business processes. SOA encourages the definition and deployment of generalized business function (a top-down approach driven by business needs), rather than point-to-point connections between legacy systems (a bottom-up approach for solving tactical integration issues).

Is SOA another name for Web services? SOA is an architectural style, while Web services represent a set of standards that enables various architectures, of which SOA is an important one. Web services can be used to create inefficient point-to-point integration code. With the support for Web services becoming widespread and most development environments providing built-in support for easy creation and deployment of Web services, it has arguably become much easier now to write poorly designed code.

The key principle behind an SOA is defining and exposing loosely coupled, normalized, and coarse-grained business functionality in a manner independent of underlying implementation. Executed properly, SOAs are well suited to application integration scenarios because they expose applications as a series of APIs that can be assembled with other APIs to construct a consolidated end-to-end solution.

The ultimate objective in defining an SOA should be to improve an organization's ability to respond to changing business models. Well-abstracted services provide a set of normalized business functions aligned with an enterprise roadmap of core strategic business process.

Conclusion
SOA bridges the gap between diverse applications and addresses the increasing need for the flexibility of BPM. The services layer, introduced by SOA, allows for direct mapping of business artifacts into an existing application portfolio. If implemented correctly, SOA can provide a highly effective approach to equip an enterprise with a set of appropriately abstracted and normalized business services. Web services standards are just a vehicle to help deliver SOA. The combination of these elements makes SOA a model as enterprises seek to increase business flexibility.

This article is adapted from an article in the SETLabs Briefings issue on BPM (Volume 2, No. 3), published by Infosys Technologies at www.infosys.com/Technology/technology_briefings.asp.

References

  • Workflow Management Coalition Terminology and Glossary, Workflow Management Coalition, February 1999
  • Microsoft Architecture Overview, Michael Platt, Microsoft Corporation (MSDN), July 2002
  • Lublinsky, B. and Tyomkin, D. "Dissecting Service-Oriented Architectures." Business Integration Journal. October 2003.
  • Predicts 2003: Enterprise Service Buses Emerge, Gartner Inc., December 2003
  • 21st Century Business Architecture, Howard Smith and Peter Fingar, BPMI.org, May 2003
  • More Stories By Neeraj Kulkarni

    Neeraj Kulkarni is a senior technical architect with the Technology Consulting Group of Infosys Technologies Limited. He has several years of experience in product development and implementing projects that involve EAI and Web services.

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