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“Web services have been hyped in many quarters as the answer to all the shortcomings of today's information technology. If you subscribe to this belief then, as the song goes, 'I have some oceanfront property in Arizona that I'd like to sell you,’” quipped Gartner Research Director Cameron Haight in the ebizQ webinar Web Services Management: Making the Enterprise Ready.



But during the presentation, which was part of the Candle-sponsored Infrastructure Management: Strategies and Best Practices series, Haight pointed to the potential benefits of Web services. He outlined how enterprises can work around Web services’ immature standards to realize current and future competitive advantage.

“What is new about Web services (versus earlier “Next Big Things”) is their scope, i.e. inter-enterprise, as well as the fact that applications developed with this technology are based upon truly open standards,” especially SOAP, WSDL and UDDI, Haight noted.

Gartner keeps its definition of Web services simple, he noted: any applications that make use of one of more of those standards.

Haight explained that, in order to obtain the benefits of Web services (such as reuse and interoperability), you need to plan the tools and platforms, including the management platform, as well as the business processes that cross applications.

He defined four platforms for building and operating Web services:

1. The provider platform implements or delivers Web services through an application server or integration broker that can provide SOAP, WSDL or XML translators, workflow and process management functionality, and technology adapters or connectors for integration.

2. The consumer platform is software that connects to, and delivers the value of the service -- with or without an interface and within and beyond an enterprise – via functionality ranging from portals to PDAs.

3. The producer platform uses rules, scripting languages, XML models and unified modifying languages (UMLs) to execute underlying components such as .Net or Enterprise Java Bean components. When matched with rules engines, process management, workflow and scenario profile management tools it will also “enable lesser-skilled developers to work rapidly and professional developers to modify the underlying code when necessary to increase the return on investment.”

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