Confusing SOA and Microservices as the Same or Similar?

Although both SOA and microservices are architecture styles (an architecture style is a formal notation to explain how a software application is assembled and its implications),these two variations have a lot of differences:


  • Its approach is to connect existing applications via a single instance, the ESB, via disparate protocols.
  • The connection and message delivery between the endpoints must be orchestratedwithin the ESB.
  • The service that is exposed in the ESB should be written in a specific language and follow mostly SOAP protocol (with or without WS* stack) or REST, via HTTP protocol.
  • Costly when you have a huge payload to exchange between the parties, due to the phases of marshaling and unmarshaling.
  • Vertically scalable.
  • ESB as a single point of failure.
  • Harder to deploy in comparison to MSA (microservices style architecture) due to dependencies of the application endpoint and ESB mediation itself.
  • Services are registered in advance of the execution and consumption of their contract by other services.


  • Its approach is to create a single, self-sufficient application that can run in an isolated environment with its own database.
  • The connections between the services are choreographed – this way the microservice can respond to a specific event received.
  • The microservice can be written in any programming language available for the creation of services (Java, Python, JavaScript, .NET, etc).
  • Follows only REST conventions. Can use binary protocols such as Google Protobuf and Twitter Finagle.
  • Corresponds to a functional feature of our current monolith system.
  • Fault-tolerant.
  • Horizontally scalable.
  • Easy to deploy with CD/CI in place.
  • Microservices register themselves in an entity called an API Gateway and are automatically discovered by other microservices.


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