Oracle SOA explained with London’s Transport

Written by Mauro Flores,   Jun 26, 2014

Recently, I had the opportunity to give internal training to some members of our non-technical team about Oracle Middleware, with a focus on SOA. Of course the title “Middleware for Humans” had to be used.

Oracle’s website describes SOA Suite as:

‘A complete set of service infrastructure components for designing, deploying, and managing composite applications. Oracle SOA Suite enables services to be created, managed, and orchestrated into composite applications and business processes. Composites enable you to easily assemble multiple technology components into one SOA composite application.’

However, I was looking for an analogy to explain SOA in simple words. infoMENTUM’s head office is based in London, so being inspired by John Bronswick, here’s Oracle SOA Suite explained in terms of London’s transport system.

Travelling around London

There are multiple travel services in London available for commuters and tourists alike:

  • Underground
  • London Overground
  • National Rail Train
  • Bus
  • DLR

It’s common to have to use more than one of these services during the day, and many of them are owned and operated by different private companies.

So, what do all these have to do with SOA? Multiple services are owned by multiple providers with the need to be consumed by the same client. What would happen if a new provider joins? Or if they decide to upgrade a service? Well, with SOA, we can solve this problem with the Service Bus:

“A style of integration architecture that allows communication via a common communication bus that consists of a variety of point-to-point connections between providers and users of services.”

“An infrastructure that a company uses for integrating services in the application landscape.”

“An architecture pattern that enables interoperability between heterogeneous environments, using service orientation.”

How London solves this issue:


“Use your Oyster card to travel on the Tube, London Overground, DLR, bus, tram and most National Rail stations in London. You can put Travelcards, bus and tram season tickets and pay as you go credit on to the card.“

So, London travellers just have to register for one card only, no matter what version or service they are using. This simplifies the day-to-day travel experience and also makes changes very simple; if they are registered and they need to change their last name, for example, they only need to do it once and can continue to use all of the services as usual.

This post originally appeared on Mauro’s blog, Middleware for Humans.

Topics: Integration

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