This week's book giveaway is in the OCMJEA forum. We're giving away four copies of OCM Java EE 6 Enterprise Architect Exam Guide and have Paul Allen & Joseph Bambara on-line! See this thread for details.
You can use Software Pipelines with or without a SOA application, and either should perform well. Pipelines does use service-oriented concepts, but as you will see the concepts are much broader than XML/SOAP protocols -- you can package any piece of software as a service "component" and then scale it out from there with the pipelines framework and infrastructure. Think of it as a way to implement flexible scalability, within a single multi-core server or across a network of servers -- without the need to build that scalability into your business process components. Once a component is developed and tested, you can deploy it in the pipelines infrastructure and scale as required.