Service-oriented architecture has been a hot topic in both IT and business circles for the past several years. In 2006, 82 percent of companies planned to use SOA to drive increased flexibility in application development, according to InformationWeek.

To many, SOA means deconstructing applications into discrete and reusable services, an abstraction that inevitably extends to the data within application services. The principle of SOA is that applications become simpler to build as the services themselves are standardized. The classic SOA paradigm is to align IT functionality with key business processes, regardless of the underlying applications or systems.

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