Service-Oriented Architecture vs. Client-Server Architecture

Instructor: Lyna Griffin

Lyna has tutored undergraduate Information Management Systems and Database Development. She has a Bachelor's degree in Electrical Engineering and a Masters degree in Information Technology.

In this lesson, we will discuss the terms Service-Oriented Architecture and Client-Server Architecture and examine their characteristics and differences.

Computing Architecture

Traditional computing architectural arrangements have progressed from resource orientation to service-oriented architecture. But what does all this mean? Components of the network are arranged according to the resources they offer, defining servers and clients into distinct roles. With service-oriented architecture, there is the collection of different services available to anyone, for use to achieve a particular task or goal.

What is Service-Oriented Architecture (SOA)?

Service-oriented architecture is the approach in which components on the network are arranged according to the services they offer. In this case, a service is defined as an independent program which forms building blocks that allow users to manipulate data and information in their own way, seamlessly. The service is the medium by which the user's needs are met. This service is offered through a negotiated contract via a communication protocol. Services are usually independent of technologies, vendors or products. Therefore, services are made available across independent or different networks.

What is Client-Server Architecture (CSA)?

With client-server architecture, clients and servers have distinct roles where data and processing are distributed among the components. The architecture is network-based with components on the network (nodes) configured as clients or servers. Servers function as nodes which supply or manage resources such as files, printers, networks, applications, and processing power on that given network. Clients are PCs or workstations which request these resources from servers within their network and which run user applications. Clients are managed by the servers.

Client-Server vs Server-Oriented Architecture

Application Logic

Application logic refers to the workflow between components within a system. In client-server architecture, the client node is the requester. Most of the application logic is situated on the client-side with the server node acting as the requesting provider. There are, therefore, clearly distinct functions among the components. With service-oriented architecture, the presentation layer is different. Services may be requested or received irrespective of the role that node occupies within the network. Therefore, a node requesting a service can also serve as a service provider. Services are also on offer to anyone who needs them.

Application processing

Client-server architecture dictates that the servers be online and accessible within the network for the clients to successfully process their requests. Most of the processing is done on the client side and is sustained until the client logs out. With Service-oriented architecture, services traverse multiple and independent networks. They are highly distributed applications with explicit functional boundaries. Each service provides complete functionality, independent of the host's network.

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