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Designing the Infrastructure for
Service-Oriented Architecture and Extensible Markup Language

A Cisco Systems White Paper

The shift from traditional application design to service-oriented architecture (SOA) principles using Extensible Markup Language (XML) and Web services promises increased IT agility and reduced technology costs. However, without effective production-caliber infrastructure, the benefits available from SOA and Web services will not be achieved.

Many early adopters that started with a simple Web service and a corresponding consumer group are now implementing composite or sequenced applications where multiple Web services are used to build an application. Others have found that the success of their initial deployment has created a huge demand to address the needs of new partners and consumers of Web services. Still others have found that the myriad identities required by disparate services create significant identity and access enforcement challenges.

As application systems are developed using SOA principles and implemented using XML and Web services, the increasing sophistication of these applications stresses the supporting infrastructure. Network traffic increases to support distributed application components; integration with identity and access management systems is required to identify and secure loosely coupled services and other elements; and monitoring, auditing, and control systems are needed to understand and manage dynamically changing application systems.

This document describes the requirements for an XML infrastructure that is designed to help ensure that the opportunities and benefits of SOA and Web services can be achieved. For the purposes of this document, infrastructure represents the supporting capabilities in the network that allow semi-autonomous, loosely coupled elements to operate together in a meaningful way.

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