tmuSOAing for 2/21/11 – service or not a service is the question

We all know by now that while SOA does begin with services, it certainly is not the be all and end all of a Service Oriented Architecture. Services do provide the bedrock and foundation for SOA. To manage it and take it to the next level, a lot more is needed in terms of Governance, BPM and EDA to just name a few.

Before we are led astray, let us examine services a bit more in detail. While a service may be viewed as a function or API that can be called from the web, it can abstract a whole lot of elements that the consumer of the API may not be and need not be aware of. Just imagine the number of boundaries you are crossing when you invoke a service from say Bangalore, India (Yes Bangalore and not Bengaluru) while the service is hosted in Mountain View, CA. Just off the bat, at least four come to mind, Geographical, Organizational, Network and Transactional. You are a one man shop and building an application with the Google App Engine.

Now let us move on to more interesting stuff. The actual design of the service. So what parameters should one consider when building a service. These days with SOA frameworks embedded in almost every hub and spoke system, the temptation is to expose every tiny function as a service, the so called right click syndrome. That may work when you are the sole consumer for those services but when you are talking enterprise services or international services, it is a whole different ball game. Service design becomes even more critical and it has evolved into it’s own art form.

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