Optimize Magazine > Technology Innovation << Web Services At A Crossroads >> March 2006
CMP Media / Optimize - Business Strategy & Execution for CIOsCMP MediaOptimize
Optimize Magazine DisciplinesExpertsGap AnalysisDiscussionsWhite PapersExecutive Events Information Week Optimize Magazine
Optimize Magazine
Optimize Magazine
Web Services At A Crossroads
Implemention strategies for Web services are splitting into two camps: building enterprise SOAs and exploiting Web technologies. Which is right for you?
Illustration By
Getty Images
By Daryl Plummer
March 2006, Issue 53
 Story contents

Generally speaking, Web services are still defined as Web applications that use open standards to interact with one another dynamically across heterogeneous systems. But the manner in which organizations approach and prioritize them is changing.

Users fall into two camps. One group advocates using Web services to build complex internal systems known as enterprise service-oriented architectures (SOAs). The other seeks to use emerging Web technologies in tandem with Web services to create flexible external applications. Their divergent approaches each require different organizational skill sets.

The split began in 2003, when companies such as BEA Systems, IBM, Microsoft, and Sun Microsystems questioned whether mission-critical systems were possible with Web services as originally defined. Over the next two years, the Web took on new significance as Google's use of advanced techniques and Web services began to get widespread notice.

When it comes to building SOAs, I can't get over how much effort is wasted trying to force Web services to deliver enterprise-level capabilities they were never intended to handle. For example, managers at a well-known airline once asked me how to make their Web services provide an enterprise-level distributed-transaction environment, given the shortcomings of the Web services standards. "Did you consider using a real distributed transaction environment instead of Web services?" I asked. The looks on their faces indicated they hadn't.

Increasingly, standards developers are working to make Web services more reliable and available. Their efforts are helpful, but only in a limited way. First, only 20% of all enterprise systems built today require the kind of robustness that standards-based Web services provide. Additionally, fewer than 30% of IT groups have the resources to implement all the standards that truly enterprise-capable Web services will require. Worse, most of the standards are nowhere near ready to be used consistently by mainstream IT. So why develop them? Because a push to develop enterprise-level SOAs is a priority.

Providing automated programs in actionable, bite-sized services is a necessary step for SOA implementations. Initially, enterprise users have done this to distinguish themselves from rivals. But they'll find that their clients' portals already use Simple Object Access Protocol (SOAP) to help move information—like shipment status, enterprise-specific pricing, or promotions—from one partner's systems to another with low barriers to integration. These business processes will require that Web services be as robust as any enterprise application.

Evolving Web-services standards will allow security and performance to improve as well, and SOA-focused Web-services proponents will leverage these standards for greater scalability.

Optimize Magazine
Optimize Magazine Marketplace (Sponsored Links)
On the CIO Agenda with IBM
With business growth back on the agenda, the role of the CIO is changing from manager of technology to C-suite collaborator in enabling innovation that matters for the business. Read an executive summary and register to download the full IBM paper.
Symantec Backup Solutions
Desktop to Data Center Protection. Explore the Official Symantec Site.
SEC & HIPAA IM Compliance
Satisfy regulatory and compliance requirements for instant messaging.
Secure & Easy Console Management with Digi CM
The Digi CM console server provides secure, intelligent & easy access to network devices with a serial console port. With Digi CM, you can securely monitor & control servers, routers, switches & other devices even when your network is down.
Free Identity Management White Paper.
Learn how BMC's Identity Management Services can help secure your enterprise and give authorized users the access they need to critical information, so they can deliver more consistent services. Register now for 'The Black Book on Corporate Security'

Buy a Link Now

Top ten search terms from the TechWeb TechEncyclopedia
How does your pay rate? Check the InformationWeek Salary Survey
Mobilized Solutions Guide: Find and compare solutions for your business
Top Requested White Paper Categories from TechWeb White paper Library
Top ten search terms from the TechWeb TechEncyclopedia

Optimize Magazine Optimize Magazine Optimize Magazine Optimize Magazine Optimize Magazine
Optimize Magazine Optimize Magazine
Optimize Magazine