Service-Oriented Architecture (SOA)

Service Oriented Architecture is a software architecture where distinct components of the application provide services to other components via a communications protocol over a network. The communication can involve either simple data passing, or two or more services coordinating connecting services to each other. These distinct services carry out some small functions such as validating payment, creating a user account, or providing social log-in.
 
Service Oriented Architecture is less about how to modularize an application, and more about how to compose an application by integration of distributed, separately-maintained and deployed software components. It is enabled by technologies and standards that make it easier for components to communicate and cooperate over a network, especially an IP network.
 
There are two main roles in SOA: a service provider, and a service consumer. A software agent may play both roles. The Consumer Layer is the point where users (human, other components of the app, or third parties) interact with the SOA, and the Provider Layer consists of all the services within the SOA.
 
SOA first got its name in the mid 90s, when a corporation called Gartner Group recognized this emerging trend in software architectures, adopted it, and popularized it worldwide. By doing this, they managed to greatly speed up the adoption and further evolution of this architecture pattern. However, the first records of using distributed services as software architecture date back to the early 80s.
 
Microservices
Microservices, in a way, are the next step in the evolution of Service Oriented Architectures. Basically, this architecture type is a particular way of developing software, web, or mobile applications as suites of independent services – a.k.a microservices. These services are created to serve only one specific business function, such as User Management, User Roles, E-commerce Cart, Search Engine, Social Media Logins, etc. Furthermore, they are completely independent of each other, meaning they can be written in different programming languages and use different databases. Centralized services management is almost non-existent and the microservices use lightweight HTTP, REST, or Thrift APIs for communicating among themselves.
 
The word itself originates from a workshop of software architects held near Venice in May 2011. They used the term "microservice" for the first time, to describe what the participants saw as a common architectural style that many of them had been recently exploring. In May 2012, the same group decided on "microservices" as the most appropriate name. However, major tech companies such as Microsoft, Amazon, Netflix, and Facebook, have been working with microservices for more than a decade. Other people have called them "Micro Web-Services" or "fine-grained SOA" before coming up with the commonly accepted name.

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