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'Service-Oriented Architecture's What's Needed for Building Advanced Web Services' Says Report
'Service-Oriented Architecture's What's Needed for Building Advanced Web Services' Says Report

(June 16, 2003) - Although smart companies are using Web services to improve the way they do business, firms have even more to gain by changing the way they think about their infrastructure. According to a new Forrester Research, Inc. report, CIOs who adopt service-oriented architecture are positioning their firms for better business agility through more advanced Web services and a tenfold improvement in integration costs. The Forrester report, "Mastering The Web Services Tier," outlines the five key technologies in an XML network - the intelligent infrastructure behind a service-oriented architecture - and describes the future of these technologies.

"Every company needs a cheaper and easier way to give their customers and suppliers the information and services they need," said Ted Schadler, principal analyst at Forrester. "It's what the Internet promised but failed to immediately deliver. While basic Web service technology has helped tremendously, firms need more. What they need is a full stack of infrastructure to make it easy to build secure, reliable services that a customer can easily use."

A service-based architecture is a discipline that advocates a no-barriers approach to securely and reliably sharing data in any software application or platform. Although the architecture itself can't be bought, firms can build domain-specific XML networks based on service-oriented infrastructure and shared network services. Why is this approach better? It offers more security and reliability, more flexibility and control, and more reusability.

Today's service-oriented infrastructure landscape looks like a plate of spaghetti. Although more than 25 vendors are tackling the problem, none offer a complete solution - and their solutions are incompatible, overlapping, and often conflicting. According to Forrester, technology buyers have two choices when building XML networks, both of which start with a strategic commitment to an application server:

1) Build the missing functionality in-house, or
2) Buy technology from specialists to quickly plug the gaps.

For firms pursuing option two, Forrester has identified 16 specialists based on their expertise, funding, and customer base and describes their greatest competency within the service-oriented infrastructure stack.

Since no vendor offering is a complete or compatible service-oriented solution, Forrester predicts that by 2006:

  • Service-oriented infrastructure will consolidate down to a few platforms offered by the application platform vendors: BEA, IBM, Microsoft, Oracle, and Sun. But today, firms should look to specialists like Systinet, The Mind Electric, and Cape Clear.
  • Systems management vendors will eventually provide most shared network services, but today firms can deploy products from startups like Blue Titan.
  • Network vendors will ultimately deliver dedicated XML accelerators, but today only startups like DataPower and Sarvega offer XML accelerator appliances to handle XML processing and message-based security.
    About SOA News Desk
    SOA World Magazine News Desk trawls the world of distributed computing and SOA-related developments for the latest word on technologies, standards, products, and services and brings key information to you in a timely and convenient summary form.

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    Reader Feedback: Page 1 of 1

    Recently I found this book:
    Service and Component Based Development (about Select Perspective www.selectbs.com). This gives a very good insight in the process for Service based development in relation to a Service Bases Architecture. Another good source for SOA is www.cbdiforum.com. For some reason Europe has been much more active in adopting SOA.

    The Mind Electric Creates Strategic Advisory Board; Appoints Rocky Stewart and John Sherrod as Executive Advisors

    As the former CTO of BEA's Integration Division and as someone who has been studying this space for the past several years, I agree that no one vendor will provide the entire stack for a SOA solution. I also agree that the companies (Systinet, The Mind Electric, etc) discussed in the report will play a key role in companies successfully deploying SOA based architectures. I must disagree that there are only two choices a buyer has and both start with a commitment to application servers. The Mind Electric (www.themindelectric.com), for example, provides a much easier to deploy, programming model agnostic approach that allows a buyer to use J2EE, .Net, or simply plain Java objects without losing any of the services or benefits of an application server. Interestingly, The Mind Electric reports having more SOA customers than all the rest (including the platform players) combined, so they must be doing something right.

    This news isn't anything new -- ZapThink has been writing about the importance of SOAs and their impact on businesses for over 2 years now.

    What's most disconcerting about the Forrester report is that it assumes that there could be possibly one vendor that would offer the "full stack" of SOA solutions. Truth be told, it would be difficult, if not impossible, for one vendor to offer a complete architectural stack. Just as no company is using a single-vendor n-tier stack, no company will use a single-vendor SOA stack.

    R. Reed

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