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IT Strategic Initiative: Service Oriented Architecture

Overview

The purpose of this project is to implement a Service Oriented Architecture (SOA) that includes services, services infrastructure, governance processes, and several important tenets of design supporting communication between two computer systems. A service, in this case, is a piece of software that enables one system to perform a unit of work on behalf of another system. Some common service functions are:

Service interactions are organized and managed by an infrastructure layer comprised of three parts:

  1. Enterprise Service Bus (ESB) that acts as a switchboard, passing providing services from one system to the consuming services of another
  2. Message Broker that can notify a subscribing system of changes to data which may prompt the subscribing system to request those changes
  3. The Web Services Registry (WSR) that acts as a catalog of available services, and which can enforce workflow rules for requesting access to services

While this infrastructure layer is a key component of SOA, it should not be mistaken for SOA itself. 

Background

The University has many different commercial off-the-shelf and custom-built transactional systems that have expanded in number and functionality over the years. These systems add great value and will continue to play a critical role at Northwestern. However, they are ultimately “niche” solutions, designed to run as self-contained systems isolated from one another. Implementing a SOA framework is intended to foster unification and integration across the various University systems and functional areas to improve administrative performance across schools and departments.

Goals and Objectives

Benefits

Last Updated: 4 February 2015

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