Service-Oriented Architecture (SOA) is a way of designing, developing, deploying, and managing enterprise systems where business needs and technical solutions are closely aligned. SOA offers a number of potential benefits, such as cost-efficiency and agility. However, adopting SOA is not without considerable challenges. For example, the most common way to implement a SOA-based system is with Web services, but the standards that define Web services are evolving rapidly and many of the Web services tools are still somewhat immature. There is also the question of how to leverage existing legacy assets within a SOA context. Perhaps most importantly, there are serious challenges related to the testing of SOA-based systems that must be addressed before the SOA paradigm will enjoy broad-based success.

The nature of SOA-based applications calls for testing strategies and a toolset that includes different approaches to testing. Traditional testing strategies that were used before may not be adequate to test these SOA-based systems anymore. Even though they may not be sufficient, there are some open source and commercial tools to aid some part of testing SOA-based applications. However, there are no evaluation criteria in place to assess these tools and find out if they provide the facilities that are needed to fully test SOA-based applications.

The SOAT series of events explore issues related to the testing of SOA-based applications. SOAT research builds upon recent work initiated by CMU/SEI on migrating legacy systems to a SOA environment using the Service-Oriented Migration and Reuse Technique (SMART). Of particular interest for SOAT is to discuss the changes needed in all aspects of testing for SOA. For example, test case management, testing tool requirements and evaluation criteria, and the applicability of traditional testing techniques to new problems (e.g., governance) in this new application domain. The topic of security testing in a SOA context is exceptionally timely.