Service Oriented architecture vs Microservices: All you Need to Know

For organizations seeking to embrace DevOps and speed-up application development, there are two important architectural patterns that help achieve these objectives: service-oriented architecture (SOA) and microservices. Both of these architectures have different benefits for businesses—but which one is right for your company? In this blog post, we’ll explore the differences between SOA vs microservices and their advantages in today’s businesses. Whether you’re just getting started with software architecture or are looking to expand your existing practice, this article will help you understand when each of these architectures is most suitable.

What's Service Oriented Architecture?

First, let’s define what SOA is. An SOA is a software architecture where applications are made up of independent, self-contained services. Each of these services provides specific functionality, such as data storage, user authentication, etc. They are linked together via a set of standard protocols. This allows components to be easily reused across multiple applications. Organizations that implement SOA often see benefits like:

●Improved scalability: As individual services are optimized for their own functions, they can be easily replicated to meet increased demand without disrupting the entire system.
●Increased agility: Each service in an SOA can be easily replaced with an updated version without requiring a system-wide upgrade. This allows businesses to quickly respond to industry trends and customer needs.
●Strategic reuse: Since services can be reused across applications and data can be shared across services, SOAs can help organizations create strategic partnerships.
●Standardization: When components are designed for interoperability, it’s easier to standardize on software and data formats, making it easier for businesses to collaborate.

What's a Microservices Architecture

A microservices architecture is one where you break applications down into a network of small, modular pieces. These discrete pieces are referred to as microservices. The modules in this network are autonomous and have a single purpose. This makes them easy to create, deploy, and maintain. If one service isn’t operating optimally, it can be swapped out without disrupting the rest of the system. Each module in a microservices architecture performs a specific function, which can be processing data, routing information, storing customer data, etc. They are then connected via well-defined protocols. This allows the system to be easily scaled and updated. Organizations that implement a microservices architecture often see benefits like:

●Improved scalability: Since modules can be easily replicated, they can be more easily scaled to meet increased demand. This means businesses are less likely to experience downtime due to resource issues.
●Increased agility: It’s easier to update a specific service without disrupting the rest of the system. This allows businesses to quickly respond to industry trends and customer needs.
●Strategic reuse: Since modules are designed to be autonomous and have single purposes, it’s easier to strategically reuse them.
●Standardization: When systems are designed for interoperability, it’s easier to standardize on software and data formats.

Comparing SOA vs Microservices

An SOA is a centralized architecture where all the services and data are located at the core of the system. A microservices architecture, on the other hand, is decentralized, meaning there is no core and each individual service has its own discrete function. Comparing these two architectural styles, SOA is an older architecture. It was first developed in the 1990s and has been used to build enterprise systems ever since. Microservices, on the other hand, is a more recent architectural style. It was first introduced in 2011 and is primarily used for building distributed systems. Next, SOA is designed to be a single, monolithic system with a centralized functionality. It allows for shared data and functionality across the organization. In a microservices architecture, however, each service is autonomous and has its own specific function. These services can also be developed, deployed, and operated in any location.

When to use Service-Oriented Architecture?

A service-oriented architecture makes sense for enterprises that need to scale rapidly. Because SOAs are made up of individual services with discrete functions, it’s easier to replicate these services and distribute them across different locations. This is mostly advantageous if your organization sees high demand in one specific area. If your business is deploying a brand-new system, start with a SOA. This architectural pattern is best when you’re planning to build a large, complex application that will be used across the organization. If you’re looking to standardize your systems and make them more easily interoperable, the SOA model is a good fit.

When to use Microservices?

A microservices architecture makes sense for enterprises that need to be nimble. Since each service in a microservices architecture has a discrete function, it’s easier for businesses to experiment and pivot as needed. If you’re building a new system and need to be able to quickly iterate, or you want to be able to easily pivot in response to customer feedback, a microservices architecture is a good choice. A microservices design is also a good choice if your system needs to be scalable but you don’t want to be as centralized as a SOA. If your system needs centralized functionality, such as user authentication and authorization, a microservices architecture is a good choice. It’s decentralized, but it still has the centralized elements that are necessary for a robust system.


When it comes to choosing between SOA and microservices, there are several important considerations. First, you need to decide if your application needs to be scalable. If so, a microservices architecture may be a better fit. However, if you need to standardize your systems and make them more easily interoperable, a SOA may be a better choice. Ultimately, the type of architecture you choose comes down to the needs of your organization. While both SOA and microservices architectures have their benefits, the best approach for your business will depend on the company's situation.

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