March 28, 2024

Microservices vs. SOA: What's the difference?

Decision-making: SOA vs. microservices

When developing new usages It is primarily about how they are set up and then operated. Approaches such as service-oriented architecture (SOA) and microservices offer valuable flexibility compared to traditional monolithic architectures.

In this article, we explain the various architecture models and their advantages and disadvantages. This allows you to better understand which models are best for your business. This allows you to choose the most appropriate option according to your company's needs.

Definition: What is an SOA?

What does SOA mean? SOA stands for a modular architecture that represents the transition from traditional monolithic architectures to a more flexible design of the entire application.

In an SOA architecture, applications are broken down into individual services, which are connected together and made available as services.

The SOA definition describes the efficient communication and collaboration of various services. This is done through integration via an Enterprise Service Bus. SOA services are based on open-source technologies, enable the use of web services, and include the following services:

  1. Functional services: This type of service is focused on executing specific business processes. They make it possible to provide specific functions within an application. An example of an SOA-based, functional service could be payment processing in an e-commerce system. The latter would be responsible for accepting payments, processing transactions and updating corresponding databases.
  2. enterprise services: Enterprise services implement the functionality provided by functional services. They provide the necessary logic and interfaces to access the functions of the functional services. In this way, they form a bridge between functional services and the applications they use. An example of an enterprise service could be an inventory management service.
  3. application services: Application services are designed to support the development and deployment of applications. They do this by providing the features and services that applications need. These can be authentication services or notification services, for example. Application services therefore provide a layer of abstraction over functional and enterprise services and allow applications to access these services without worrying about the details of their implementation.
  4. infrastructure services: These services support non-functional processes such as security, authentication, and monitoring. They provide the infrastructure and support needed for an efficient and reliable SOA implementation. Infrastructure services may include security services to manage user permissions, for example.

Definition: What are microservices?

Microservices represent an evolution of SOA, in which the definition of a microservice emphasizes the division of a monolithic application into smaller, independently deployable services.

Each microservice performs a single function and is only a part of the entire application. This architecture not only makes scaling and fault isolation easier, but also offers benefits of microservices, such as increased agility and more efficient use of cloud computing resources.

An example of microservices allows deployment in containers, as opposed to traditional deployment on a virtual machine.

Microservices vs. SOA services: Understanding the differences

- Architecture:

Microservices focus on smaller, independent services, while SOAs include larger, more modular services.

- Component sharing:

Microservices barely use common resources, which increases their resilience. SOAs, on the other hand, often rely on resource sharing, which makes their services more closely linked.

- granularity:

Microservices are more granular and perform specific tasks, while SOA services often have a wider focus.

- data storage:

Microservices often have their own data stores. SOA services, on the other hand, use shared data storage.

- Governance:

SOAs require uniform mechanisms, whereas microservices enable more flexible governance.

- Size and scope:

Microservices are particularly suitable for smaller projects, while SOAs are better suited for complex integrations.

- Communication:

SOAs often use an Enterprise Service Bus (ESB), while microservices rely on API gateways for lighter, decentralized communication. API management plays a crucial role in managing the interfaces between individual microservices.

- Coupling and cohesion:

Microservices are loosely coupled and have high cohesion, whereas SOAs are more closely coupled and can be more susceptible to errors.

- Remote services:

SOAs and microservices use different protocols for remote access.

- Deployment:

Microservices are faster and easier to deploy than SOA services.

- Component sharing:

SOAs rely on sharing resources, while microservices make each individual component independent.

Make the right choice

The choice between microservices and SOAs depends on the specific requirements and goals of your company. The following factors may occur in decisionmaking help:

Scalability and flexibility:

Microservices can be more flexible and allow finer scaling compared to SOAs. Organizations that need rapid scaling and adaptability can benefit from the granular nature of microservices architecture. On the other hand, an SOA may be more suitable when it comes to integrating complex enterprise systems that require a high level of interoperability.

Development and operational complexity:

Microservices involve greater development and operational complexity as they include many smaller services that are developed, tested, and deployed independently of one another. SOAs, on the other hand, offer easier management, as they are often aimed at larger, more connected services. Companies should consider their capabilities and resources to manage this complexity.

System integration and interoperability:

When it comes to seamlessly integrating different systems and applications, SOAs can offer advantages due to their standardized interfaces and integration tools. Microservices, on the other hand, can be developed in isolated contexts, which can lead to increased autonomy and independence of individual services.

Team structure and organization:

The choice between SOAs and microservices can also depend on a company's internal team structure and organizational structure: Microservices enable a decentralized team structure in which small teams are responsible for developing and maintaining individual services. SOAs, on the other hand, may require more centralized coordination.

Time-to-market and risk management:

If your company needs to bring new products to market quickly, it can benefit from the agility and flexibility of microservices: The ability to develop, test, and deliver services independently of one another can reduce time-to-market. On the other hand, SOAs may be more suitable if your company is about integrating existing systems. In this case, SOAs provide consistent risk management.


While SOAs to build a comprehensive architecture, they initially have higher expenses can cause, their architecture makes management easier. As a result, they are cheaper to maintain compared to microservices. The latter tend to be more expensive both in the implementation phase and to maintain due to their granular approach and the more complex maintenance of multiple independent services.


The decision between microservices and SOA should be based on your organization's specific needs and goals. While microservices offer increased flexibility and scalability for rapidly growing and changing requirements, an SOA can provide benefits when integrating and managing complex, distributed systems.

With the right architecture, your company can also benefit from more agile and effective development and thus secure a competitive advantage.

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Louis Nell
CEO Knguru Studios
Moin ich bin Louis, kreativer Kopf und Gründer von KNGURU Studios. Wenn wir einmal anfangen über Technik, Startups oder Produktdesign zu quatschen kannst du dir sicher sein, das es so schnell kein halten mehr gibt. Deswegen gibt es auch mittlerweile diesen Blog in dem ich meine Reise als Startup- und Agenturgründer dokumentiere.
Vera Große
UX Management
Hi, ich bin Vera! Meine Verantwortung liegt im Bereich Projektmanagement und Kundenbetreuung. In diesem Blog teilen wir nicht nur unsere Erfahrungen als Startup- und Agenturgründer, sondern auch unsere Begeisterung für kreative Ideen und visionäre Konzepte.Mit Expertise und Leidenschaft arbeiten wir daran, innovative Projekte zum Leben zu erwecken und gleichzeitig unsere eigene Reise zu dokumentieren.

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