SOA to Microservices Architecture -Revamping Enterprise Apps

by Rajesh Shashikant Renukdas, on Apr 21, 2021 5:40:51 PM

Agility has transformed the way technology builds products. It has fueled the gradual shift from the monolithic architecture of software development to an improved and more effective service-oriented architecture. An SOA  today empowers enterprises to segregate the entire application into distinct reusable services and work on them in parallel, rather than building upon a single service linearly. This helped them do away with intensive regression for bug fixing and consistent revisiting of code for feedback implementation.


Further fine-graining these services enabled developers to exercise better control over individual services as well as resources while expediting the overall development time. This gave rise to a “microservices” architecture that further went on to augment the principles of SOA to offer a more refined software development approach.

To pinpoint the significance of microservices, Netflix and its popularity amongst the millennials is built upon microservices. Microservices and SOA although sometimes are used interchangeably, yet have some subtle differences that make them two entirely different approaches. In the following section, we talk about how enterprises can rapidly scale and modernize their software development through a transition from SOA to microservices.

Microservices vs SOA

In SOA, connecting an application to data or functionality in another system requires intensive point-to-point implementations and integrations, which are made from scratch for every new project. The SOA enabled enterprises to reuse services that communicate with each other using a set of APIs and integrate them to cater to all the documented use cases and functionalities in the requirement gathering phase. Application components in SOA communicate for simple data exchange or coordinate to combine two separate services into a single one. These services carry out small functions, such as verifying an order, activating a user account, or cart services through a shared storage resource. This although helps in reusing the data but brings in tight coupling and dependence on services, and may cause an abrupt shutdown of the application, in case a service is impacted.

Microservices architecture, on the other hand, is built on independent services that can communicate with each other using APIs that are language agnostic, implying that, it can use two entirely different components to work in tandem in a virtualized environment. To be more precise, each service has to be independently deployable or fixable in case of the abrupt shutdown without affecting other services in an application. 

Moving to Microservices from SOA

Often enterprises end up localizing microservices architecture in certain grey areas of an application while paying minimal heed to others. This approach becomes an impediment in the way of enterprises that want to realize the full potential of microservices. Here are some strategies that can help enterprises to build their application systematically, and achieve set targets:

Discovery: This phase involves documenting the business benefits and identifying the scope of microservices adoption. This may however be optional in certain cases where a business case is already defined.

Planning: This requires assessing capabilities and identifying the gaps in terms of capability that are required for adoption at scale. These include frameworks, technologies, governance, etc. Another critical activity is to gauge the applications where microservices architecture is to be applied.

Act: This step requires the building of the core capabilities needed for Microservices, such as the technology stacks, collaboration with technology partners, setting up guidelines, and preparing documents. 

Optimize: This phase involves using microservices architecture for deployment at scale while ensuring that all services are conducted as per their domain with no pitfalls, and the deployment process is automated. 

The Approach 

Typically, a service-oriented architecture has its backend service built on a server like Tomcat, and the user-facing services are catered to through an ESB or Enterprise Service Bus. For the backend services, one can swiftly move to a Java microservices framework that supports JAX-RS type implementation such as Spring Boot, WSO2 MSF4J, DropWizard. 

This helps in reusing most of the existing code without any plausible risk. For the ESB, there are a number of microservices-friendly integrators that make use of a customized runtime that enables you to reuse most of your existing ESB code. To quote some definite examples:

  • Clustering can be replaced with containers like Kubernetes
  • Database based registry can be used in place of a file system based registry
  • Instances can be deployed immutably, without needing deployment synchronization.
  • Automated deployment with CI/CD process can be done through DevOps tools.


Ever since the agile manifesto first launched in 2001, the need for continuous collaboration between teams, feedback on working software prototypes over lengthy documentation has been growing. Microservices is the driving force for this continuous collaboration, and development of highly agile, and resilient systems. The process may sure sound a bit intimidating, and complex, but it doesn’t have to be if you have the right technology partner. Datamatics has a long-held reputation for developing highly scalable and resilient apps. Do get in touch with our experts to know more about leveraging microservices for app development

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Topics:microservices development

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