Ahh, three weeks in Spain. Fun, beautiful, exciting and cheap.
It's not just that a dollar buys about 1.1 Euros, but almost everything
in Spain costs 25%-50% less than in the U.S. So many tapas; so little
I got through the 2,500+ email messages (mostly spam, of course),
and have nearly caught up on web-hosting and web-services reading.
Not much has changed during May, but the volume of stuff
to read and digest hasn't diminished.
I'll be giving two public presentations in San Francisco in June:
Global Internet Performance Conference
June 11, 2002, San Francisco
Development Forum E-Business SIG
June 18, 2002, San Francisco
|From May 18, 2002, you can hear my interview
on the WebTalkGuys Radio Show
RealAudio or WinMedia.
Web Services Strategies
BIG Brains. I attended
a great 90-minute meeting in San Francisco with a panel consisting
of some of our industry's leading gurus:
Here are some interesting quotes that relate to web services. I had to type them
on my Blackberry, since I managed to forget to take along pen and
- Lee Gomes, Wall St. Journal, Moderator
- John Hagel, Author, Net Gain
- Todd Hewlin, The Chasm Group
- Lawrence Lessig, Stanford University
Good stuff. I'll make a point of attending more of the Big-SF
- Hagel thinks many of the typical investment opportunities
don't exist in web services because the major vendors have already
filled many of the niches. However, he still sees substantial
opportunities in what he calls "shared enabling services." (See
his service grid in Your
Next IT Strategy by Hagel and John Seely Brown in Harvard
Business Review. $6 to download the PDF.) Hagel and Brown are
both part of 12 Entrepreneuring,
which incubated Grand
Central Communications, one of those shared enabling service
- Hagel has a new book about web services coming out in October.
It's entitled, "Out of the Box."
- Hagel described how enterprises go through binge/purge cycles
in which they go overboard with a new technology, only to later
reject it. But he thinks web services are here to stay. He's
otimistic because web services have a valuable and pragmatic
business proposition: they'e driven by operating-cost reduction.
He expressed surprise that web services are not first being
deployed (as many recommend) within the enterprise, but rather
at the edge of the enterprise in order to communicate with business
partners. He described how Eastman Chemical spun out its logistics
business (transportation of chemicals) and now offers its capabilities
to others via web services.
- Lessig (an attorney/professor/author) said he was hopeful
about web services because they encourage innovation at the
endpoints of the network. This turned out to be a major theme
(beyond web services), and refers to the idea that the network
should be "plain vanilla" as opposed to trying to innovate within
the infrastructure. He reminded us that in 1984, when AT&T was
broken up, the courts told them, "You just sell pipes, and don't
tell people what they can and can't do with them." Larry is
concerned that AOL/Time Warner and others are restricting innovation
because they control both content and infrastructure. [As an
aside, Lessig also feels that Open Access won't work, "...because
the Baby Bells are so good at screwing their competition."]
I've been meaning to read Larry's latest book, The
Future of Ideas: The Fate of the Commons in a Connected World.
Just ordered a copy.
- Hewlin likes business services as a growth technology.
He thinks there's a lot more room to unbundle particularly clerical
services, similar to what's happened in the past with payroll
- Given that the conversations were about web services and intellectual
property, I asked the panel for their opinions regarding the
effect of patents on standards, and the W3C's
RAND (Reasonable and Non-Discriminatory) policy on patents.
A lively discussion ensued, but to no conclusion.
- Although it started out looking like the Hagel/Hewlin show,
Lessig dominated the second half, particularly with his thoughts
on innovation. "For 200 out of our country's 210 years, we didn't
ban technologies." He used the handgun as a sarcastic but real
example. We've never banned handguns, even though they can be
used for illegal purposes. Yet the technology behind Napster
was essentially destroyed merely because of its potential to
support illegal activities, and even though its owners suggested
they could eliminate 98% of illegal use. The U.S. Supreme Court
used to say, "It's not our job to deal with this." As another
example, after eight years of adjudication, they decided not
to ban VCRs even though VCRs have the potential to be used for
illegal purposes. The court found that doing so would unreasonably
restrict innovation and the legal benefits of VCRs. The current
court is taking a very different approach. Imagine, as Lessig
suggests, if Xerox had developed and tried to sell the photocopier
in the current climate.
Posted Wednesday, May 29, 2002 10:14:30
The Elusive ebXML. Am I the only
one having trouble getting my arms around ebXML? I have the feeling
there's too much process-talk here, but I guess that's what it's
all about. I spent most of a year (1973) working at the United
Nations in New York, and I can almost taste the UN-style bureaucracy
that must be involved with UN/CEFACT's development of these standards.
As much as the ebXML proponents claim they're seeing widespread
adoption, and although IBM's Bob Sutor was involved with the original
development of ebXML, it's my impression that IBM and Microsoft
still aren't committed. In some ways, ebXML and some aspects of
web services seem to be evolving in parallel rather than converging.
For instance, there appear to be four competing business-process
protocols: XLang (Microsoft), WSFL (IBM), BPML (Sun and BEA) and
One thing I've gleaned from these and other articles is that ebXML, having evolved from EDI, appears to be strictly a document-exchange concept. There don't seem to be any facilities for transactions or remote procedure calls. Am I right?
Primer. Sean Gallagher (Baseline) has put together one of
the best short summaries. Print the PDF
file to get the whole thing.
- Eric Knorr (ZDNet) has written a few good articles including ebXML:
A B2B Standard on Hold ("Sun is the only big technology
company still pushing ebXML"), and Web
Services Meet Process Management ("Rumor has it that IBM
and Microsoft may be collaborating on a hybrid of XLang and
- In Overview of ebXML Specifications (from September, 2001), Sun's Lori Houston presents just that: a readable intro to the many elements of ebXML. But here's a clue: "Like any standards effort, ebXML is a work in progress."
- Dieter Jenz is perhaps the most prolific ebXML proponent.
His article, "Where
Are We With ebXML? presents a somewhat different introductory
perspective. Dieter, the eternal optimist, says, "Without any
doubt, industry leaders such as IBM, Sun Microsystems and Oracle
- And then there's the ebXML
specifications, also a good site for tracking ebXML progress.
Posted Thursday, May 30, 2002 9:23:50
Application Firewalls. One advantage of using HTTP as the transport for web services is that IP ports 80 and 443 (for SSL) are often already "open" through corporate firewalls. But it's a two-way street, and web services hosted on these ports are, therefore, easy to reach (and hack) from the outside world. One solution is the development and deployment of application-layer firewalls: devices that look deeper into packets in order to determine their legitimacy. Two recent articles:
Posted Thursday, May 30, 2002 7:58:14
- eWeek: "Developers such as RSA Security Inc., Oblix Inc. and even networking manufacturer Cisco Systems Inc. are starting to take a more holistic approach to security with new products that address key Web services security matters."
- Gartner: "By 2004, 30 percent of all buffer overflow attacks will be carried over HTTP tunneling."
over Web Services. "Traditional models, which involve
an entity such as a transaction manager having strict control
over the transaction participants, are clearly not suited for
web services." This white paper by Muhammad F. Kaleem on
webservices.org addresses web services transactions, the BTP protocol,
and Hewlett-Packard's BTP implementation.
Posted Wednesday, May 22, 2002 12:42:46
Web Hosting Strategies
CIO Insight has published an interesting research study on outsourcing. A few highlights:
Posted Thursday, May 30, 2002 9:39:34
- The projected trend for 2002 is to cut back on outsourcing
the functions that have been outsourced most frequently: most
notably the development and hosting of applications and Web
sites, due perhaps to the availability of dot-com veterans and
laid-off IT staff.
- Demand for web-site development outsourcing services is projected
to drop from 42% last year to 30% this year, while demand for
web hosting should decline from 44% to 33%.
- Web-site hosting was employed far more by smaller than larger
companies, 58% to 38%, respectively.
- The use of service-level agreements rose from 66% in 2001
to 81% in 2002, with 86% saying they intend to use SLAs in the
future. Uptime level guarantees also rose, from 49% to 65%.
Internet Acceleration. Peter Christy and John Katsaros of NetsEdge Research Group have launched this new web site to focus on Site Acceleration. Peter and John are the top independent analysts in the content-delivery world, having sold their previous company in the same space to Jupiter Media Metrix. Sign up for the email newsletter they've been publishing for the past 3+ months.
Posted Tuesday, May 21, 2002 8:28:35
App Servers Want to Be Free. "The market has been expecting the commoditisation of the application server space for some time. HP has been giving away its product for some months and now Sun is doing the same with its core capabilities. It can only be a short time before IBM follows suit but it is questionable whether BEA can afford to do the same." [The Register]
Posted Thursday, May 30, 2002 7:59:58
of Exodus. Adam Eisner (The WHIR) thinks Exodus has returned
in a new and improved form under the ownership of Cable and Wireless.
I was still trying to figure out how C&W was integrating the Exodus
brand with those of C&W and Digital Island. Here's the skinny:
"As of April 1, 2002, all hosting and content delivery services
historically offered by Cable & Wireless, Digital Island and Exodus
will be managed by one business division and marketed in the United
States as Exodus, a Cable & Wireless Service, and in the rest
of the world as Cable & Wireless." The sales force has been integrated.
Try calling either a Digital Island or Exodus office. They'll
answer the phone, "Exodus, a Cable and Wireless Service." [Thanks:
Rolyn Acosta, Digital Island, err...Exodus]
Posted Friday, May 24, 2002 5:36:23
Tips for Building a Small E-Commerce Site. If you need to build your first on-line storefront complete with credit-card transaction processing, this article by Liam Eagle is a good place to start.
Posted Friday, May 24, 2002 5:30:47
Hosting Services as Consultants. Rawlson King over at The WHIR thinks web-hosting services need to increase their consulting and other non-commodity offerings in order to compete and survive. If you're a customer, Rawlson's article may give you new insight as to what to look for.
"According to Gartner research, while the grand majority of leading enterprises will continue to outsource their technical infrastructure, many will opt not to select their current external service provider for the job...Outsourced Web hosting will need to become more customized to the requirements of their recipients."
Posted Friday, May 24, 2002 5:24:38
and Contact Info
The IT Strategy Letter is published weekly by Doug Kaye.
The content is identical to Doug's