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Definition: service-oriented architecture


The modularization of business functions for greater flexibility and reusability. Instead of building monolithic applications for each department, a service-oriented architecture (SOA) organizes business software in a granular fashion so that common functions can be used interchangeably by different departments internally and by external business partners as well. The more granular the components (the more pieces), the more they can be reused.

A service-oriented architecture (SOA) is a way of thinking about IT assets as service components. When functions in a large application are made into stand-alone services that can be accessed separately, they are beneficial to several parties.

Standard Interfaces
An SOA is implemented via a programming interface (API) that allows components to communicate with each other. The most popular interface is the use of XML over HTTP, known as "Web services." However, SOAs are also implemented via the .NET Framework and Java EE/RMI, as well as CORBA and DCOM, the latter two being the earliest SOA interfaces, then known as "distributed object systems." CICS, IBM's MQ series and other message passing protocols could also be considered SOA interfaces. See Web services.