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Architecting Service-Oriented Systems

August 2011 Technical Note
Philip Bianco, Grace Lewis, Paulo Merson, Soumya Simanta

This report presents guidelines for architecting service-oriented systems and the effect of architectural principles on system quality attributes.


Software Engineering Institute

CMU/SEI Report Number


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Service orientation is an approach to software systems development that has become a popular way to implement distributed, loosely coupled systems, because it offers such features as standardization, platform independence, well-defined interfaces, and tool support that enables legacy system integration. From a quality attribute point of view, the primary drivers for service orientation adoption are interoperability and modifiability. However, a common misconception is that an architecture that uses a service-oriented approach can achieve these qualities by simply putting together a set of vendor products that provide an infrastructure and then using this infrastructure to expose a set of reusable services to build systems. In reality, there are many architectural decisions that need to be made. An architectural decision that promotes interoperability or modifiability can negatively impact other qualities, such as availability, reliability, security and performance. The goal of this report is to present general guidelines for architecting service-oriented systems, how common service-oriented system components support these principles, and the effect that these principles and their implementation have on system quality attributes.