Service-oriented architecture


This content is an excerpt from the eBook, .NET Microservices Architecture for Containerized .NET Applications, available on .NET Docs or as a free downloadable PDF that can be read offline.

.NET Microservices Architecture for Containerized .NET Applications eBook cover thumbnail.

Service-oriented architecture (SOA) was an overused term and has meant different things to different people. But as a common denominator, SOA means that you structure your application by decomposing it into multiple services (most commonly as HTTP services) that can be classified as different types like subsystems or tiers.

Those services can now be deployed as Docker containers, which solves deployment issues, because all the dependencies are included in the container image. However, when you need to scale up SOA applications, you might have scalability and availability challenges if you're deploying based on single Docker hosts. This is where Docker clustering software or an orchestrator can help you, as explained in later sections where deployment approaches for microservices are described.

Docker containers are useful (but not required) for both traditional service-oriented architectures and the more advanced microservices architectures.

Microservices derive from SOA, but SOA is different from microservices architecture. Features like large central brokers, central orchestrators at the organization level, and the Enterprise Service Bus (ESB) are typical in SOA. But in most cases, these are anti-patterns in the microservice community. In fact, some people argue that "The microservice architecture is SOA done right."

This guide focuses on microservices, because a SOA approach is less prescriptive than the requirements and techniques used in a microservice architecture. If you know how to build a microservice-based application, you also know how to build a simpler service-oriented application.