SOA vs. Microservices: What’s the Difference? (2022)

In this article, we'll explain the basics of service-oriented architecture (SOA) and microservices, touch on their key differences and look at which approach would be best for your situation.

If you work in IT or thecloud computingfield, you're probably well aware of theservice-oriented architecture(SOA) vs. microservices debate. After all, everyone is talking about microservices andagileapplications these days.

At first glance, the two approaches sound very similar, and in some ways, they are. Both involve cloud or hybrid cloud environments for agileapplication developmentand deployment, and both can scale to meet the speed and operational demands of big data. Both break large,complex applicationsinto small, flexible components that are easier to work with. And both differ from a traditional,monolithicarchitecturein that every service has its own responsibility.

However, even with these key commonalities, a closer examination of the two approaches reveals important differences.

What isservice-oriented architecture(SOA)?

Service-oriented architecture(SOA)is an enterprise-wide approach tosoftware development of application components that takes advantage of reusablesoftware components, or services. InSOAsoftware architecture, each service is comprised of the code and data integrations required to execute a specific business function — for example, checking a customer’s credit, signing into a website or processing a mortgage application.

The service interfaces provide loose coupling, which means that they can be called with little or no knowledge of how the integration is implemented underneath. Because of this loose coupling and the way the services are published,development teamscan save time by reusing components in other applications across the enterprise. This is both a benefit and a risk. As a result of the shared access to theenterprise service bus (ESB), if issues arise, it can also affect the other connected services.

XMLdata is a key ingredient for solutions that are based onSOAarchitecture.XML-basedSOAapplications can be used to buildweb services, for example.

(Video) Microservices - Differences between Microservices and SOA

SOAemerged in the late 1990s and represents an important stage in the evolution ofapplication developmentand integration. BeforeSOAwas an option, connecting amonolithicapplicationto data orfunctionalityin another system required complex point-to-point integration that developers had to recreate for each new development project. Exposing those functions throughSOAeliminates the need to recreate the deep integration every time.

SOAprovides fourdifferentservicetypes:

  1. Functional services (i.e., business services), which are critical for business applications.
  2. Enterprise services, which serve to implementfunctionality.
  3. Application services, which are used to develop and deploy apps.
  4. Infrastructure services, which are instrumental for backend processes like security andauthentication.

Each service consists of three components:

  1. The interface, which defines how aservice providerwill execute requests from aservice consumer.
  2. The contract, which defines how theservice providerandservice consumershould interact.
  3. The implementation, which is the service code.

SOAservicescan be combined to create higher-level services and applications.

What are microservices?

LikeSOA,microservices architecturesare made up of loosely coupled, reusable, and specialized components that often work independently of one another. Microservices also use a high degree of cohesion, otherwise known asbounded context.Bounded contextrefers to the relationship between a component and its data as a standalone entity or unit with very fewdependencies. Rather than being adopted enterprise-wide, microservices typically communicate viaapplication programming interfaces (APIs)to build individual applications that perform a specificbusinessfunctionality (or functionalityfor specific areas of the business) in a way that makes them more agile, scalable and resilient. Typically,Javais theprogramming languageof choice to develop Microservices. Otherprogramming languagesmay also be used, such as Golang and Python.

Microservices are a truecloud-nativearchitectural approach, often operating in containers, which make them more scalable and portable for the creation ofindependent services. Teams can use microservices to update code more easily, use different stacks for different components and scale the components independently of one another, reducing the waste and cost associated with having to scaleentire applicationsbecause a single feature might be facing too much load. Because of their independence, microservices produce services that are more fault-tolerant than the alternatives.

(Video) System Design: Monolithic vs SOA vs Microservice Architecture

Check out the following video for more info on microservices architecture:

The main difference between SOA and microservices: Scope

The main distinction between the two approaches comes down toscope. To put it simply,service-oriented architecture(SOA) has an enterprise scope, while themicroservices architecturehas an application scope.

SOA vs. Microservices: What’s the Difference? (1)

Many of the core principles of each approach become incompatible when you neglect this difference. If you accept the difference in scope, you may quickly realize that the two can potentially complement each other, rather than compete.

(Video) Differences of SOA and Microservices

Here are a fewusecaseswhere this distinction comes into play:

Reuse

InSOA,reusabilityof integrations is the primary goal, and at an enterprise level, striving for some level ofreuseis essential.Reusabilityandcomponent sharingin anSOAarchitectureincreasesscalabilityand efficiency.

Inmicroservices architecture, creating a microservices component that is reused at runtime throughout an application results independenciesthat reduce agility and resilience. Microservices components generally prefer toreusecode by copying and accepting data duplication to help improvedecoupling.

Synchronous calls

The reusable services inSOAare available across the enterprise using predominantly synchronous protocols likeRESTfulAPIs.

However,withina microservice application, synchronous calls introduce real-timedependencies, resulting in a loss of resilience. These dependencies may also cause latency, which impacts performance. Within a microservices application, interaction patterns based on asynchronous communication are preferred, such as event sourcing, in which a publish/subscribe model is used to enable a microservices component to remain up to date on changes happening to the data in another component.

Data duplication

A clear aim of providing services in anSOAis for all applications to synchronously obtain and alter data directly at its primary source, which reduces the need to maintain complex data synchronization patterns.

(Video) Microservices vs SOA | Microservices Tutorial for Beginners | Microservices Training | Edureka

In microservices applications, ideally, each microservice has local access to all the data it needs to ensure its independence from other microservices — and indeed from other applications — even if this means some duplication of data in other systems. Of course, this duplication adds complexity, so it must be balanced against the gains in agility and performance, but this is accepted as a reality of microservices design.

Otherkey differencesbetweenSOAand microservices

  • Communication:In amicroservices architecture, each service is developed independently, with its own communication protocol. WithSOA, each service must share a common communication mechanism called anenterprise service bus(ESB).SOAmanages and coordinates the services it delivers through theESB. However, theESBcan become asingle point of failurefor the whole enterprise, and if a single service slows down, the entire system can be affected.
  • Interoperability:In the interest of keeping things simple, microservices use lightweightmessagingprotocols likeHTTP/REST (Representational State Transfers) and JMS (JavaMessagingService).SOAsare more open toheterogeneousmessagingprotocols such as SOAP (Simple Object Access Protocol),AMQP(AdvancedMessagingQueuing Protocol) and MSMQ (MicrosoftMessagingQueuing).
  • Servicegranularity:Microservices architecturesare made up of highly specialized services, each of which is designed to do one thing very well. The services that make upSOAs, on the other hand, can range from small, specialized services to enterprise-wide services.
  • Speed:By leveraging the advantages of sharing a common architecture,SOAssimplify development and troubleshooting. However, this also tends to makeSOAsoperate more slowly thanmicroservices architectures, which minimize sharing in favor of duplication.
  • Governance:The nature ofSOA, involving shared resources, enable the implementation of common data governance standards across all services. The independent nature of microservices does not enable consistent data governance. This provides greater flexibility for each service, which can encourage greater collaboration across the organization.
  • Storage:SOAand microservices also differ in terms of how storage resources are allocated.SOAarchitecturetypically includes a singledata storagelayer shared by all services within a given application, whereas microservices will dedicate a server or database fordata storagefor any service that needs it.

Migration fromSOAto microservices

For some organizations, SOAarchitectureis a steppingstone to replace themonolith, providing a more flexible and agile environment.SOAservicescan be developed and utilized in a large environment, but they do not address specific needs of individual businesses that wish to addressbusiness processeswithin their purview.DevOpscan be used to help an organization transition from SOAarchitectureto microservices to address specific needs.

SOAvs. microservices: Which is best for you?

Architectural styleshave their advantages, so how can you determine which one will work best for your purposes? In general, it depends on how large and diverse your application environment is.

BothSOAand microservices can useautomationto speed upbusiness processes. Larger, more diverse environments tend to lean towardsservice-oriented architecture(SOA), which supports integration between heterogenous applications andmessagingprotocols via anenterprise-service bus(ESB). Smaller environments, including web and mobile applications, do not require such a robust communication layer and are easier to develop using amicroservices architecture.

Learn more aboutSOAand microservices

Some will point out that theSOAvs. microservices debate is much more complicated, and that’s true. There is a great deal more to it. For a more detailed technical explanation of these nuances, we encourage you to delve into theSOAand microservices Learn Hub articles, which provide a great deal of in-depth information. From a business perspective, however, scope is the crucial distinction.

  • What are Microservices?
  • What isSOA(Service-Oriented Architecture)?
  • Agile vs. Waterfall

To learn more about how to build agile applications, download your free copy of theAgile Applications Architecture ebook.

(Video) 03 Microservices vs service oriented architectures - Spring Boot Microservices Level 1

FAQs

What is the difference between Microservice and SOA? ›

SOA is a modular means of breaking up monolithic applications into smaller components, while microservices provides a smaller, more fine-grained approach to accomplishing the same objective.

What is the difference between SOA and monolithic? ›

Remember a monolithic application can be deployed on the cloud and you are still able to use the benefits of storage resources. SOA is an architecture approach for defining, linking and integrating reusable business services that have clear boundaries and are self-contained with their own functionalities.

Which SOA principles are applied in microservices as well? ›

Service independence

Another one of the SOA principles that still applies in microservices is language independence. Services don't need to use the same programming language, middleware or OS as long as they support the common API.

Is microservice is considered as subset of SOA? ›

A microservice architecture, often known as microservices, follows an SOA pattern by breaking a single application into multiple loosely coupled, independent services yet working with each other.

What is the relation between SOA and microservices Mcq? ›

Microservices are a continuation to SOA.

SOA uses Enterprise Service Bus for communication, while microservices uses REST or some other less elaborate messaging system (AMQP, etc).

What is the difference between a service and a microservice? ›

A microservice is a small, independent, application that performs a highly focused service as well as possible. A web service is an internet-based interface that makes the “services” of one application available to applications running on different platforms.

Does SOA use API? ›

SOA (service oriented architecture) is an architectural design approach that provides services to components through a communication protocol over a network. So, SOA is essentially a design pattern. And APIs can be used to implement SOA.

Is SOA outdated? ›

In less common situations, you might need to consider SOA. at SOA as an obsolete application architecture. If you have modest development needs, such as a back office application, then you may be better off developing a no-frills monolithic application than adopting SOA.

What is better than microservices? ›

SOA involves sharing data storage between services while in Microservices, each service can have independent data storage. SOA is designed to share resources across services while Microservices is designed to host services that can function independently.

Can we use soap in microservices? ›

In this article, we will discuss some points that provide the difference between SOAP versus RESTful microservices.
...
SOAP versus RESTful microservices.
SOAPRESTful microservices
SOAP-based reads can't be cached.RESTful microservice reads can be cached.
SOAP is not very scalable.RESTful microservices are very scalable.
7 more rows
May 13, 2019

What is SOA example? ›

SOA is used to improve healthcare delivery. Nowadays many apps are games and they use inbuilt functions to run. For example, an app might need GPS so it uses the inbuilt GPS functions of the device. This is SOA in mobile solutions.

What is the pros and cons of SOA? ›

Service-Oriented Architecture Overview
SOA: ProsSOA: Cons
The reusable components save development time and can be modified or debugged easily.DevOps practices are not widely adopted yet, so deployment can be complicated.
A wide range of messaging protocols is available.Software size is significant.
1 more row
Aug 2, 2021

Which is a disadvantage of SOA? ›

Cons of SOA: Large upfront investment. SOA architecture is a great choice for further business development.

What is SOA good for? ›

Scalability

As SOA enables services to run across multiple platforms, programming languages and services, that is, services of the service-oriented architecture operate on different servers within an environment, which increases its scalability.

What are the 3 C's of microservices? ›

When you are ready to start adopting a microservices architecture and the associated development and deployment best practices, you'll want to follow the three C's of microservices: componentize, collaborate, and connect.

Can microservices share database? ›

In the shared-database-per-service pattern, the same database is shared by several microservices. You need to carefully assess the application architecture before adopting this pattern, and make sure that you avoid hot tables (single tables that are shared among multiple microservices).

What is difference between REST API and microservices? ›

Microservices: The individual services and functions – or building blocks – that form a larger microservices-based application. RESTful APIs: The rules, routines, commands, and protocols – or the glue – that integrates the individual microservices, so they function as a single application.

How do you handle if one microservice is down? ›

To deal with partial failures, use one of the strategies described here.
  1. Use asynchronous communication (for example, message-based communication) across internal microservices. ...
  2. Use retries with exponential backoff. ...
  3. Work around network timeouts. ...
  4. Use the Circuit Breaker pattern. ...
  5. Provide fallbacks.
Apr 13, 2022

Is microservices object oriented? ›

In fact, microservices build on OOP principles, and developers can use object-oriented techniques to create microservices.

How do I monitor all microservices? ›

Monitoring is the control system of the microservices.
...
There are five principles of monitoring microservices, as follows:
  1. Monitor container and what's inside them.
  2. Alert on service performance.
  3. Monitor services that are elastic and multi-location.
  4. Monitor APIs.
  5. Monitor the organizational structure.

What is microservices in simple words? ›

Microservices are an architectural approach to creating cloud applications. Each application is built as a set of services, and each service runs in its own processes and communicates through APIs. The evolution that led to cloud microservices architecture began more than 20 years ago.

What makes a service a microservice? ›

With a microservices architecture, an application is built as independent components that run each application process as a service. These services communicate via a well-defined interface using lightweight APIs. Services are built for business capabilities and each service performs a single function.

What is an example of a microservice? ›

Containers are an excellent example of microservices architecture as they allow businesses to focus on developing services without worrying about dependencies. Cloud-native applications are commonly built as microservices by leveraging containers.

What is the difference between SOAP Service and REST service? ›

REST is a set of guidelines that offers flexible implementation, whereas SOAP is a protocol with specific requirements like XML messaging. REST APIs are lightweight, making them ideal for newer contexts like the Internet of Things (IoT), mobile application development, and serverless computing.

What is SOA REST API? ›

Service-oriented architecture (SOA) is a software development model that allows services to communicate across different platforms and languages to form applications.

What is SOA integration? ›

SOA Integration provides a flexible and responsive IT infrastructure that transforms brittle systems, applications, and data sources into highly flexible and reusable services. SOA Integration gives IT better control to bridge the gaps between systems, applications, and data sources with ease.

Why did SOA fail? ›

SOA was unable to fulfill its mission of addressing various issues associated with monolithic architectures. In some aspects, SOA is a monolith. While, like microservices, SOA is made up of several smaller services, SOA architectures are still relatively coarse-grained with a high-level of dependency between services.

Is SOA relevant today? ›

Not long ago, the buzz-phrase "service-oriented architecture" saturated the IT industry, before being overtaken by the cloud. But SOA remains alive and relevant, Forrester Research reported last month.

Is SOA same as soap? ›

Answers. SOA (Service-Oriented Architecture) is a set of guidelines for designing loosely-coupled software systems. One of its goals is to allow for rapid business change. SOAP (Simple Object Access Protocol) is a protocol (set of rules) that allows web services to communicate with one another.

What is next after microservices? ›

According to Ibryam, what comes after microservices is to decouple infrastructure concerns like networking or resource binding, and he calls it "multi-runtime" microservices architectures.

When should we use microservices? ›

Microservices are extremely useful when an organization needs to make a change to functionality — and deploy that functionality in a way that the rest of the system doesn't have to change. This allows a microservices architecture to deploy new functionality without any downtime.

Why REST is faster than SOAP? ›

REST stands for Representational State Transfer.

REST is faster than SOAP because of the involvement of JSON (which is light-weight) in the request/payload of REST. Each method is processed independently in REST which is the reason why it is called “stateless” architecture.

When should I use SOAP over REST API? ›

Developing public APIs: REST APIs are considered easier to use and adopt than SOAP APIs, which makes them ideal for creating public web services. REST also lacks some built-in security features that SOAP has — but they aren't necessary when working with public data and services.

What is better SOAP or REST? ›

REST is a better choice for simple, CRUD-oriented services, because of the way REST repurposes HTTP methods (GET, POST, PUT, and DELETE). It is also popular because it's lightweight and has a smaller learning curve. SOAP, on the other hand, has standards for security, addressing, etc.

What are the main features of SOA? ›

Summary of Features and Benefits
FeatureBenefits
Service Re-useLower software development and management costs
MessagingConfiguration flexibility
Message MonitoringBusiness intelligence Performance measurement Security attack detection
Message ControlApplication of management policy Application of security policy
9 more rows

How many layers are there in SOA architecture? ›

The SOA Reference Architecture (SOA RA) has nine layers representing nine key clusters of considerations and responsibilities that typically emerge in the process of designing an SOA solution or defining an enterprise architecture standard.

What is SOA in spring boot? ›

Microservices is a variant of Service Oriented Architecture (SOA) style that used various interdependent modules which identifies the interrelationship between them and measures how closely each of them connected (called services with loosely coupled), for creating an application (or applications) that implements in ...

Why do SOA use Microservices? ›

The main difference between SOA and microservices: Scope

The main distinction between the two approaches comes down to scope. To put it simply, service-oriented architecture (SOA) has an enterprise scope, while the microservices architecture has an application scope.

How can SOA improve a business? ›

Benefits of the SOA architecture solution
  1. Improves decision making processes, since executives could have more information available in less time.
  2. Increases employee productivity.
  3. Relationships with clients and suppliers are enhanced.

Is SOA beneficial to an organization or business? ›

Service Oriented Architecture is a very beneficial way of developing applications and providing infrastructure services to an organization and clients. A survey done by CA Technologies found that 92% of SOA initiatives met or exceeded the objectives of business units.

How is service oriented architecture implemented? ›

Service Oriented Architecture: Six steps to a successful SOA
  1. > Step 1: Map SOA to your business.
  2. > Step 2: Take a long view and implement incrementally.
  3. > Step 3: Plot your course by creating an SOA Plan.
  4. > Step 4: Gather your talent.
  5. > Step 5: Reuse, Reuse, Reuse.
  6. > Step 6: Measure the results. And impact.
Sep 30, 2006

What's the difference between services and components? ›

Services are designed to maximize reuse as opposed to being designed to fit a particular system or application. Components are parts of a system or application that are designed to work together. They may be deployed together in a tightly bound configuration.

What is SOA design patterns? ›

SOA patterns describe common architectures, implementations, and their areas of application to help in the planning, implementation, deployment, operation, and ongoing management and maintenance of complex systems.

What is the difference between SOA and Web services? ›

SOA vs Web Services

Web services are used to build applications that can send/receive messages using SOAP over HTTP. A web service is a publicized package of functionality offered over the web. SOA is a set of architectural concepts used for the development and integration of services.

What is the difference between a service and a microservice? ›

A microservice is a small, independent, application that performs a highly focused service as well as possible. A web service is an internet-based interface that makes the “services” of one application available to applications running on different platforms.

What is difference between SOA and SOAP? ›

SOA (Service-Oriented Architecture) is a set of guidelines for designing loosely-coupled software systems. One of its goals is to allow for rapid business change. SOAP (Simple Object Access Protocol) is a protocol (set of rules) that allows web services to communicate with one another.

What is difference between microservices and RESTful API? ›

Microservices: The individual services and functions – or building blocks – that form a larger microservices-based application. RESTful APIs: The rules, routines, commands, and protocols – or the glue – that integrates the individual microservices, so they function as a single application.

What is the difference between microservices and API? ›

Microservices is an approach to building an application that breaks its functionality into modular components. APIs are part of an application that communicates with other applications.

What is microservices in simple words? ›

Microservices are an architectural approach to creating cloud applications. Each application is built as a set of services, and each service runs in its own processes and communicates through APIs. The evolution that led to cloud microservices architecture began more than 20 years ago.

What makes a service a microservice? ›

With a microservices architecture, an application is built as independent components that run each application process as a service. These services communicate via a well-defined interface using lightweight APIs. Services are built for business capabilities and each service performs a single function.

What is SOA example? ›

SOA is used to improve healthcare delivery. Nowadays many apps are games and they use inbuilt functions to run. For example, an app might need GPS so it uses the inbuilt GPS functions of the device. This is SOA in mobile solutions.

What is difference between SOA and API? ›

What's the Difference Between API vs. SOA? APIs (application programming interfaces) allow applications to communicate and transfer information. SOA (service oriented architecture) is an architectural design approach that provides services to components through a communication protocol over a network.

What is the difference between SOA and REST? ›

REST is a set of guidelines that offers flexible implementation, whereas SOAP is a protocol with specific requirements like XML messaging. REST APIs are lightweight, making them ideal for newer contexts like the Internet of Things (IoT), mobile application development, and serverless computing.

Is there any difference between SOA and Web service? ›

A Web service is a "call" to an application, a system, or a hub that asks a question, like: "Does this customer already exist?" By definition, a Web service uses the web to communicate its business question. SOA, on the other hand, is the architectural framework that enables a series of those Web services to occur.

Can a microservice have multiple endpoints? ›

In some cases, there may be only one endpoint, whereas in some other cases, there could be more than one endpoint in a microservice. For instance, consider a sensor data service, which collects sensor information, and has two logical endpoints--create and read.

Can we create microservices without REST API? ›

Therefore, Microservices is more about architectural and design style, and you may be able to implement a Microservices without RESTful API. However, RESTful API makes it easy to build a loosely coupled Microservices.

Is REST service a microservice? ›

In microservices architecture, each application is designed as an independent service. REST is a valuable architectural style for microservices, thanks to its simplicity, flexibility, and scalability.

What are different types of microservices? ›

Broadly speaking, there are two types of microservices: Stateless microservices. Stateful microservices.

Is microservices a framework? ›

A microservices framework takes a big monolithic architecture that isn't easy to maintain or change and make it easier to scale, replace, and change. Microservices address the concerns of the bigger systems, creating a framework that is a set of services that communicate using a messaging system such as REST over HTTP.

Videos

1. SOA Vs Microservices
(Software Architecture Matters!!!)
2. Microservices vs. service oriented architectures
(Red Hat)
3. SOA vs MicroServices | What are microservices | What is SOA
(Dumb Students Guide)
4. Microservices vs SOA
(IBM Support and Training)
5. Monolith vs SOA vs MicroServices and when to use what
(Fredrik Christenson)
6. Monolithic vs SOA vs Microservices Architecture | 2021| Vikas Kerni
(Software Architecture Matters!!!)

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