Every acronym gets its share of abuse. ASPs, for example, could be Active Server Pages, or Application Service Providers. Some would say SOA means State of Anarchy, others would say its a vendor appeal to IT buyers saying, Save Our A... (you get the picture). One post to this blog even suggested that the only real working meaning of SOA is a Start of Authority record, which is information describing what's stored in a domain name system zone.
There's plenty of confusion out there on what exactly SOA, or service-oriented architecture, is, and isn't.
A good overview on the essentials of service-oriented architecture appears in this article. Clive Finkelstein, noted expert on information engineering, provides this insightful definition: "Until now, the term 'service-oriented architecture' (SOA) has been synonymous with 'Web services.' I use SOA more precisely: to invoke Web services using business process management tools and languages."