What is Service-oriented architecture (SOA)? System Design for Product Managers — Part 5

What is Service-oriented architecture? Key Benefits of Service-oriented Architecture? Example of Service-oriented architecture (SOA)

Shailesh Sharma
4 min readApr 21

What is Service-oriented architecture?

Service-oriented architecture is a software design approach that involves breaking down software applications into smaller, more modular components known as services. Each service can be considered a self-contained unit that performs a specific business function, such as processing orders or managing customer data. These services communicate with each other over a network, using standardized protocols and interfaces.

The goal of SOA is to create a flexible, modular architecture that can adapt to changing business needs over time. By breaking down a large, monolithic application into smaller, more manageable services, SOA enables organizations to:

Key Benefits of Service-oriented Architecture?

Achieve better flexibility and agility

With SOA, services can be updated or replaced without affecting the entire system. This allows organizations to respond quickly to changing business requirements, such as new products, markets, or regulatory changes.

Reuse services

Services can be reused across different applications, enabling organizations to develop new applications more quickly and efficiently. This also helps to ensure consistency and reduce errors, as services can be tested and validated separately.

Improve scalability and performance

By breaking down applications into smaller services, SOA enables organizations to scale each service independently, as needed. This can help to improve overall system performance, as services can be deployed and managed more efficiently.

Reduce development costs and time

With SOA, organizations can develop services independently of one another, which can help to reduce the time and resources required for the development. This also enables organizations to leverage existing services, rather than developing new ones from scratch.

To implement SOA, organizations typically use a middleware layer that provides the infrastructure for communication between services. This middleware layer can be based on various technologies, including web services, message-oriented middleware, or RESTful APIs.

One of the key principles of SOA is service reusability. Services should be designed to be as generic as possible so that they can be reused across multiple applications. This requires careful attention to the design of service interfaces, as well as the use of standard data formats and communication protocols.

In addition, SOA requires a strong focus on service governance. This involves the establishment of policies and standards for service design, development, and deployment, as well as the monitoring and management of services in production. Service governance is critical for ensuring the reliability, security, and performance of services, as well as ensuring compliance with regulatory requirements.

Overall, SOA can be a powerful tool for organizations looking to improve the flexibility, agility, and scalability of their software applications. By breaking down applications into smaller, more modular services, SOA enables organizations to respond quickly to changing business requirements, while reducing development costs and time.

Example of Service-oriented architecture (SOA)

Let’s say you are a product manager for an online bookstore, and you want to design a system architecture that can handle a large number of requests from customers while providing a seamless and efficient user experience.

In a Service-oriented architecture (SOA), the system is broken down into a collection of services communicating with each other over a network. Each service performs a specific task and can be reused by other parts of the system.

In the case of an online bookstore, the system can be broken down into the following services:

  1. Customer service: This service handles customer registration, login, and account management.
  2. Catalogue service: This service provides information about books available for purchase, such as author, publisher, price, and availability.
  3. Order service: This service handles the process of placing an order, including validation, payment processing, and shipping.
  4. Recommendation service: This service provides recommendations to customers based on their browsing and purchase history.

Each of these services can be implemented and managed independently, allowing for greater flexibility and scalability. Additionally, each service can be exposed as a web service, making it easier to integrate with other systems and applications.

For example, customer service can be accessed by other parts of the system to retrieve customer information and preferences. The catalogue service can be used by the recommendation service to provide personalized recommendations to customers. The ordered service can be integrated with shipping providers to provide real-time updates on delivery status.

By using a Service-oriented architecture (SOA), the online bookstore can provide a seamless and efficient user experience while handling a large number of requests from customers. The system can also be easily scaled up or down depending on the demand, without affecting the other parts of the system.

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Shailesh Sharma