Software Engineering Institute | Carnegie Mellon University
Software Engineering Institute | Carnegie Mellon University

Quality Attributes and Service-Oriented Architecture

The emergence of service-oriented architecture (SOA) as an architectural approach for integrating applications that expose services presents many challenges to organizations possibly resulting in significant risks. Particularly important among those risks are failures to effectively address quality attribute requirements, such as performance, availability, security, and modifiability. In the report Quality Attributes and Service-Oriented Architectures, we undertook a thorough examination of the relationship between SOA and quality attributes.

Evaluating Architectures Using a SOA Approach

For the evaluation of a system that uses SOA, it is important to focus on the service integration and communication patterns in addition to the architectures of the underlying integrated applications. Our goal was to aid practitioners using the SOA approach by investigating the quality-attribute-related issues associated with using SOA. Practical information to assist in evaluating architectures that use the SOA approach can be found in the SEI report Evaluating a Service-Oriented Architecture.

Our plans have included writing a report that surveys the state of practice for ensuring quality of service by contract and offers guidelines to organizations that work with external services providers on ensuring that services are provided with high availability, security, performance, and other required qualities. Some of the questions we focused on included:

  • In this model for business-to-business relations, what mechanisms have been used to ensure quality of service by contract?
  • What quality properties have been expressed in service-level agreements? What mechanisms have been used by service providers to achieve and monitor those qualities?
  • What support is there in the service technologies to express quality requirements and what's being formulated for the future with that respect?

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Related Reading

Evaluating a Service-Oriented Architecture
Phil Bianco, Rick Kotermanski, & Paulo Merson

Quality Attributes and Service-Oriented Architectures
Liam O'Brien, Len Bass, & Paulo Merson