It may seem odd to talk about contracts and SOA in the same sentence, but without them experienced enterprise architects and integration developers understand the negative consequences that will ripple through the business.
A service-oriented architecture (SOA) requires establishing contracts between its participants. The first or most basic SOA contract provision concerns what formats and protocols are used. When two service participants, a provider and a consumer, establish a contract, it must start out with some protocol and format artifact (or transport and data-level semantic), such as an XSD and the associated WSDL describing the interface between that consumer and producer. These decisions establish the beginnings of interoperability, specifically how the first-level pin-outs get wired together.
Beyond this basic level, IT professionals tend to think about contracts in two broad areas: the service-level agreement (SLA) and security. For IT, an SLA usually specifies scale, response time, and availability: for example, handling 10,000 requests per second with a response time of less than 500 milliseconds, and availability to four 9s, or 99.99 percent uptime. From a security standpoint, a contract covers four or five areas.
In installment #7 of the Enterprise Integration Whiteboard Series, Hub Vandervoort delves into the sixth point of mediation - Quality of Service (QoS) and Quality of Privacy/Protection. But rather than providing a comprehensive account of the idea of QoS and QoP, the video podcast and technical paper offer a high-level overview of some capabilities within Sonic ESB by itself and in association with Actional, which is largely built into the ESB infrastructure, and how those come together to create the foundation of QoSQoP—trust and commitment —required for effective contracts.
Check out all of the Enterprise Integration Whiteboard Series white papers and videos here!
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