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SOA vs MicroService

SOA (Service Oriented Architecture)

Service Oriented Architecture is a software architecture pattern, which application components provide services to other components via a communications protocol over a network. The communication can involve either simple data passing or it could involve two or more services coordinating connecting services to each other. Services (such as RESTful Web services) carry out some small functions, such as validating an order, activating the account, or providing shopping cart services.

There are 2 main roles in SOA, a service provider and a service consumer. A software agent may play both roles. The Consumer Layer is the point where consumers (human users, other services or third parties) interact with the SOA and Provider Layer consists of all the services defined within the SOA. The following figure shows a quick view of SOA architecture.

Enterprise Service Bus (ESB) is a style of the integration architecture that allows communication via a common communication bus that consists of a variety of point-to-point connections between providers and consumers.

Microservices Architecture

Microservices is a software architecture pattern in which complex applications are composed of small, independent processes communicating with each other using APIs. A service should be independently deployable, or be able to shut-down a service when is not required in the system and that should not have any impact on other services. The following figure shows a quick view of a Microservices architecture.

Microservices Architecture vs. SOA
In SOA, ESB could become a single point of failure which impacts the entire application. Since every service is communicating through ESB, if one of the services slow down, could cause the ESB to be clogged up with requests for that service. On the other hand, microservices are much better in fault tolerance. For example, if there is a memory leak in one microservice then only that microservice will be affected. The other microservices will continue to handle requests.
In both architectures, developers must deal with the complexity of architecture and a distributed system. Developers must implement the inter-service communication mechanism between microservices (if the message queue is used in Microservice architectures) or within ESB and services.
Unit Testing is more difficult as developers must mock the communication mechanism in tests. Due to many different service types, deployment and operational complexity are a concern in both architectures.
In SOA, services share the data storage (as shown in Figure 1) while each service can have an independent data storage in microservices. Sharing data storage has its pros and cons. for example; the data can be re-used by between all services while it brings dependency and tightly coupling within services.
Last but not least, the main difference between SOA and microservices lies in the size and scope.

Monolithic Architecture

Monolithic, in this context, means composed all in one piece. The monolithic software is designed to be self-contained; components of the program are interconnected and interdependent rather than loosely coupled as is the case with modular software programs. In a tightly-coupled architecture, each component and its associated components must be present in order for the code to be executed or compiled.

Toufiq Mahmud

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