Service-Oriented Architecture (SOA)

Conceptually, service-oriented architecture (SOA) is a distributed software model that supports information sharing between systems. This information sharing is essentially a suite of interoperable services that passes data and information to and from systems that are found in separate business domains or dispersed locations.

SOA differs from other integration approaches in that the business processes and information sources remain functionally autonomous – the owner of the data retains control of the information. In this construct, “loose coupling,” integration interfaces are developed with minimal assumptions between the sending/receiving parties, thus reducing the risk that a change, upgrade, or replacement in one application/module will force a change in another application/module.

SOA is the ideal framework for developing effective justice information sharing systems because it is uniquely suited to accommodate the distributed, heterogeneous nature of the American justice information sharing landscape. SOA tolerates diversity among endpoint systems of record and shifts the focus to providing and gaining access to services in order to get the right information to the right person in the right place at the right time. Read more about SOA.

The following chart depicts a high-level view of a SOA, which is what URL proposes for its clients. The design is, of course, subject to change based upon work with stakeholders through the course of the planning cycle; however, this is a solid starting point based upon our experience and industry standards.

Why does URL consistently implement and recommend SOA to its clients?

The answer:

URL implements SOA-based Web services in the integration phase of an information exchange project. SOA is recognized by the U.S. Department of Justice’s Global Advisory Committee (GAC) as the recommended framework for development of justice information sharing systems. The Global Reference Architecture (GRA), formerly known as the Justice Reference Architecture, is the manifestation of SOA for the justice community. URL leverages GRA service components, such as the Service Specification Packages (SPP) that are customized for justice enterprises, in order to effectively document the conceptual, logical, and physical models of each service.

A major benefit of SOA is that all parts of the architecture can potentially be reused – policies, rules, requirements, standards, and data modules. In fact, Global stakeholders estimate that leveraging the GRA can cut 80 percent of implementation time and costs for state and local justice agencies through reuse of established promising practices in IT architecture and design.

With our clients, we realize the benefits of implementing an exchange architecture that allows all endpoint agencies involved in the information sharing to retain, change, upgrade, or replace their current legacy systems without compromising the integration. Furthermore, with SOA, URL is able to leverage the Global Federated and Identity Privileged Management (GFIPM) standard that provides justice organizations a secure way to access multiple agency information systems with a single logon or common set of credentials. With GFIPM, agencies will have the ability to securely exchange information by identifying and authenticating each user through the establishment of user roles, rights and privileges.