Friday, January 23, 2004

Does the Service Fabric make the SOA Obsolete?

I had an interesting question posed to me recently: Does the service fabric make the SOA pattern obsolete?

First, be clear. I have a very clear definition for the SOA:
1. It is an architectural pattern
2. It uses 3 actors (directory, consumer and producer)
3. Whereby, the consumer looks up an interface to a producer in the directory
4. The consumer creates a binding to the producer and calls it

The SOA pattern allows for dynamic lookup and binding, which means that it is a vehicle for finding the *right* implementation of a service at runtime. The service fabric often plays a similar role, but it often does it using routers. In this case, the fabric is aware of the implementations of a given service and when a message is sent to it, it can dynamically send the message to the *right* implementation. So, both techniques allow for a message to be dynamically delivered to a destination. But, does one make the other obsolete?

In my opinion, the answer is, "no". I am of the opinion that people will often mix the techniques. In essence, the service call will still be designed to do a UDDI style lookup, but the destination may likely point at a router. Alternatively, developers will continue to write services and populate the descriptions in a directory, then make their router aware of the directory. In this case, the directory is still being used, just by the router instead of the programmer.

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