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Thursday, October 06, 2005

The Growing Maturity Of Web Services

(Via IT Architect) IT architects trying to deploy a Web services-based SOA find that Web services lack security, assured delivery mechanisms, and the necessary underpinnings to implement complex business processes. These are changing as Web services start to grow up. While the standards for guaranteed delivery are still being defined, the industry has at least come to a consensus on how to proceed. Mechanisms for publishing and subscribing are only now being standardized, and standards aren't yet set for orchestrating Web services to define unified business logic independently of data access logic. SOAs that transcend organizational and departmental boundaries will create new network perimeters to secure XML services, authenticate users, and enforce policy-based security architectures. At the same time, the routing infrastructure will likely need to be made Web services-aware to prevent certain long-lived transactions-namely those that subscribe to information services-from overwhelming the data network. Such an enhanced routing network will also be better positioned to ensure QoS for other critical Web services
Paralleling the rise of SOAs has been the rise of Web services. Yet while Web services may be standards-based and less expensive to license and implement than Message-Oriented Middleware (MOM) solutions such as IBM's WebSphere MQ and Sonic Software's SonicMQ, they're also known to suffer from significant performance problems not experienced by MOM-based solutions. Web services still rely on the text-based XML protocol, which means a natural language parser is needed to decipher and transform SOAP-based messages-a processor-intensive task. Various standard bodies are working to bridge this gap.. Prior to XML and Web services, requests were issued through messaging software that required data to be inserted into all requested fields. Many transactions do not require every field, however, forcing developers to insert null characters and unnecessarily expanding the message size. With XML, the data can be described, allowing it to only provide the required information in a request. This ability to label parts of the XML message has reduced the number of cycles needed to process those "truncated" transactions from two or three seconds down to a tenth of a second in known implementations. Enterprises who have deployed Web services report dramatic changes not only for IT, but in the very way the business works. The most commonly cited benefit is reduced IT costs & faster application development.Strategically, companies have also been able to streamline their business processes through Web services and SOA.

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