Choosing the Best Web Service for Big Data Application

By CIOReview | Wednesday, March 8, 2017
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The argument between Service Oriented Architecture (SOA) versus REST API has existed since a long time. Big data infrastructure is better served by both lightweight REST protocols as well as a more intense SOA approach. When it comes to designing or redesigning an application, architects often find themselves in a perplexed state to choose one among them. The needle keeps swinging from one side to another trying to prove its individuality.

To gain a clear perspective on which interface is better between SOA and API, let’s take a look at what each interface has got on the table.

SOA is an approach to design the IT infrastructure that removes redundancy and hastens project delivery through consolidation and reuse of services; whereas RESTful API is an architecting method that leverages HTTP to make calls between machines.

Here are some of the similarities and differences based on which enterprises can decide the best interface for big data application.

SOA, built on web service SOAP (Simple Object Access Protocol), has gained lot of attention in recent years because of its ability to share information across enterprise. However, the use of REST architecture, with other related technologies like JavaScript Object Notation (JSON), is driving the growth of development and use of APIs.

• Talking about the key differences, APIs turns out to be more streamlined, well documented, and more suited for mass developer consumption; whereas SOA is mainly used for internal use-cases, though it is more powerful in a number of external B2B scenarios.
• When it comes to data repositories, SOA is more appropriate because of its specific set of capabilities that are bound to applications; whereas RESTful interfaces come into picture when  application utilize the data as a resources set without any high-level services.
• Moving ahead, in terms of simplicity, REST uses simple HTTP and standard commands such as GET, PUT, POST, and DELETE to keep the communication between clients and servers straightforward. SOA on the other hand does not have specific method or commands, which enables developers to freely define their own semantics.
• Many users are familiar with REST interfaces because it is closely associated to web designing. This help web developers in comprehending the web service keenly. On the other hand, SOAP requires a significant skill set in SOA-specific development and delivery tools.
• Further, with regards to scalability, SOAP is considered to be more appropriate than REST because of its high standards and ability to meet all the necessary requirements. Conversely, RESTful services are scalable in component deployments due to the reduced complexity in the connection semantics. But, in some situations, like when applications expecting a guaranteed level of security or reliability, SOAP is preferred over REST.
• When it comes to similarity. There are few things that are similar i.e Both APIs and SOA need to be managed, secured and monitored. For both the services, architectural principles around security, policy management, compliance, monitoring and analytics remain same. Since, both the services rely on other application and services that are managed by other developers and even different providers, it is essential for them to keep the track of changes to manage and govern the API and SOA services.
• Other similarities include—lifecycle that extends beyond just versioning. Along with that, both the services have tools that support development cycle as well as integrated SDLC tools. These services can be migrated from different environments and can also be terminated without impacting customer’s business.