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Web Services Harnessing the Power of Web Services and Middleware

    Online News published in DMReview.com
December 10, 2003

A revolution is taking place in application infrastructure and integration. New technologies and concepts - such as Web services, service-oriented architecture (SOA) and the enterprise nervous system (ENS) - are helping to foster a new, more agile and efficient generation of application systems.

Enterprises that can harness the power of these advancements will be armed with the flexibility to better compete in today's fast-paced business environment. But first, they will need to understand and respond to the transformations taking place in the enterprise software industry - including changes in application platform products and their underlying programming models, the evolution of key software infrastructure and middleware technologies, and the strategies and prospects of the vendors delivering them.

Web services technologies and concepts are permeating the IT industry, and Gartner expects that they will be the catalyst for most innovation in the software industry during the next five years. Web services are software components that employ one or more of three technologies - Simple Object Access Protocol (SOAP), Web Services Description Language (WSDL) and Universal Description, Discovery and Integration (UDDI) - to perform distributed computing. They promise to bring substantial improvements in the dynamic interaction among networked applications through the use of standards.

Web services' usefulness lies in their simplicity and utility. They make it possible to render business elements of increasing complexity - initially calculations, but ultimately, relationships and materials - as software. By 2007, they will have totally flooded the canals of inter-enterprise communication. Enterprises that want to use IT to compete effectively should begin developing with Web services today.

Beyond Web services, advancements in a range of other software integration and middleware technologies are becoming critical to business competitiveness. Almost any management initiative that leverages IT to support a new or improved business process will require some attention to the issue of application integration.

Business strategists are paying increasing attention to the importance of time-based competition. Enterprises with fast reaction times have a competitive advantage. Emerging business activity monitoring (BAM) and real-time enterprise (RTE) strategies take the goal of timeliness to its logical conclusion. Their aim is instantaneous awareness and appropriate response to events across an entire virtual enterprise.

BAM and the RTE are business goals that are facilitated by advanced software infrastructures, including SOA, event-driven architecture (EDA) and Web services. Enterprises will be unable to exploit these advancements, however, if their application infrastructures are hampered by a costly and unmanageable mess of inconsistent, uncoordinated interfaces and integration technologies. Instead, success relies on orchestrating the disparate interfaces and middleware technologies - including adapters, communication middleware (such as remote procedure calls, message-oriented middleware and object request brokers), enterprise service buses, programmatic integration servers and integration broker suites - into the advanced integration architecture of the ENS.

An ENS implements a new layer of application-level data and logic, extending the enterprise network and making it as "smart" as the application systems. This constitutes a revolutionary change in the architecture of business applications, and helps foster a new, more agile and efficient generation of application systems.

This Executive Report, "Web Services - Harnessing the Power of Web Services and Middleware," provides comprehensive guidance on the implementation plans and supporting technologies and services that enterprises need to develop successful Web services and application integration strategies. It provides recommendations, planning guidance, trend forecasts, and in-depth analysis of software infrastructure issues that are critical to both IS organizations and business management.

Topics addressed in the chapters of this 250 page Executive Report include:

  • An overview of Web services technologies and trends
  • Case studies of today?s successful Web services implementations
  • The major components and functions of the Web services "provider" and "consumer" technology platforms
  • A review of critical Web services standards initiatives and security issues
  • The impact of Web services on collaborative commerce
  • The strategic use of external service providers for Web services implementations
  • Adopting service-oriented development techniques to improve systems and applications
  • An overview of middleware strategies and technologies, and advice on creating a business case for application integration
  • Key strategic-planning issues associated with the ENS and BAM concepts
  • Important trends and vendors in the market for enterprise software platform products, such as application servers and application platform suites
  • Web-enabling legacy applications, as well as integrating enterprise systems with mobile and wireless platforms
  • A comparison of the features and prospects of Java and .NET
  • Advice on how to select and implement integration broker suites

For a complete index of this report click on http://www.researchandmarkets.com/reports/40821.


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