February 06, 2008

Busting the myth about SOA and Web Services

As I've mentioned in many of my earlier posts, people have increasingly confused the terms SOA and Web Services. Though companies and people are getting aware of the Service Oriented Architecture paradigm, some misconceptions still exist. I was recently on a telephonic conversation with an executive of a company, to explore options of working jointly in some areas of business and IT. I was totally surprised when I heard him say -
Our solutions are all based on Web Services. They are all SOA-ready

I asked him if he was aware of the differences between a solution that is based on Web Services and a solution that is built based on the SOA reference architecture. I was surprised to hear his reply -
Yes, our solutions are based on Web Services, which is why I said that they are SOA-ready

Getting back to the present moment, let me take a minute to define what Service Oriented Architecture really means in simple terms -
SOA is a flexible architecture of business capabilities being supported by loosly coupled IT elements

Web Services simply means "a software system designed to support interoperable Machine to Machine interaction over a network"

To summarize, Web Services are the building blocks of SOA; Web Services is not SOA!

For a better understanding on the fundamentals, please visit this link.

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