SOA is one of those magical buzzwords used to market almost anything to enterprise customers. But what exactly is it? I think its a high level set of principles and practices for building an architecture and not an architecture itself. The internet is full of other descriptions of what SOA really means. One interesting way to think about SOA is as a set of vantage points or views. Each view from the perspective of a particular class of stakeholders. Jeff Schneider talks about this in a blog post titled "Balanced Views of SOA". This way of thinking at first was a little strange to me, but the more I think about it the more it makes sense. A follow-up post titled "A Proposed Taxonomy for Thinking about SOA" by Anne Thomas Manes extends this line of thinking.