Project Management

Ensuring Quality in the Brave New World of SOA

Almost any IT magazine I pick up these days has something on Services Oriented Architecture. While the notion of “software as a service” was an emerging concept several years ago, it has quickly shifted into more mature adoption with companies seeing it as a way to reduce complexity and costs in the IT environment.
SOA is predicated on the design construct that all applications can be built on a set of software services that are not dependent upon the infrastructure. In other words, all your applications would access a common set of services and underlying data repositories that are sitting on top of a set of heterogeneous platforms. (e.g. mainframe, open systems, etc.) SOA has serious quality assurance ramifications and challenges. While the number of pieces of software in your corporation is simplified, those pieces are now highly distributed, which makes quality assurance tricky business.

To understand SOA and its implications on quality assurance, one must look at how software has evolved over the years. Software started as an integrated set of modules that was a single entity running on a single platform. It then evolved to client-server, where one piece of software sat on the client and another piece of software sat on the server. Client-server moved to a multi-tier architecture where pieces of software resided on different physical platforms to perform …

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