Web Services Strategies
IBM/Microsoft Duopoly. Eric Knorr covers a lot of ground
in this article on ZDNet Tech Update. As far as news, Eric reports
on the merger of IBM's Web Services Flow Language (WSFL) and Microsoft's
XML Language (XLang) into BPEL4WS (BPEL for short). He also discusses
the new jointly published business-process specs: WS-Coordination
But the meat of Eric's article deals with the current political
state of the web-services protocol process. He asks first why
development work on three overlapping B2B business protocols--ebXML,
the Business Processing Modeling Language (BPML), and the freshly
minted Web Services Choreography Interface (WSCI)--seems to have
been overlooked? "Probably because all three are backed by Sun,"
Eric also speculates on the significance of control of WS-Security
and UDDI having shifted to OASIS as opposed to W3C in the past
six weeks. "Could it be because the W3C has been moving in the
direction of a royalty-free policy while OASIS is not?"
Posted Wednesday, August 14, 2002 2:55:59
Sleeper asks, "[Are] the proposed standards really independent
of a particular product implementation?" and, "Do the proposed
standards support a variety of complex, stateful, asynchronous,
etc., business processes interactions?"
Posted Monday, August 19, 2002 10:49:54
Jason Bloomberg, senior analyst at ZapThink, summarizes his Seven
Principles of Service-Oriented Development in this article
in XML & Web Services Magazine. Jason is one of the
better analyst/writers on web services, although I can't agree
with him on every point. Some annotated excerpts...
The article is a tease for ZapThink's $50-per-page research report: Insight: How Service-Oriented Development Will Transform the Software Industry.
- A Web services architect does not have the luxury of
combining business and presentation logic. [True.]
- Coding for broad applicability supersedes
coding for reusability. [...The] aim is to create code that
is flexible and broadly applicable. [An excellent observation.
Think about it: With web services, it's not the code that needs
to re-used, but the service itself.]
- Scalability handled bottom-up, instead
of top-down...If a system experiences unexpected traffic, it
can automatically find backup services in a registry, obtain
their service descriptions, and bind to the supplemental services
on the fly. [I disagree. Any system that can fail-over
to an alternative service on-the-fly must be, by definition,
designed at a level above the switching point.]
- Instead of taking this top-down approach,
service-oriented development takes a bottom-up approach.
[More of the above. I disagree. One still needs to determine
the required components first, and that's top-down.]
- Platform dependence gives way to platform
irrelevance...[Referring to the old component-based approach...]
The components are soccer players who kick a ball to each other,
and the platform is the field. Needless to say, two players
will find it difficult to interact if they are on different
fields. [One of my favorites.]
Posted Monday, August 19, 2002 11:53:10
BTP Primer. Released in June by OASIS, this is an excellent introduction to transactions in a loosely coupled SOA. Even if you don't already know what the ACID properties of a transaction are all about, you'll understand why they're inappropriate for most web services, and you'll learn the buzzwords of the Business Transaction Protocol. (31-page PDF, or HTML version.)
Posted Sunday, August 18, 2002 6:52:24
Phil Becker on Passport.
Last week I reported on the Federal Trade Commission's Microsoft Consent Decree (a worthwhile read in its own right). Although there has been much criticism of the decree as being no more than a "sorry, we won't do it again" slap on the wrist, Phil Becker has identified a number of interesting lessons to be learned.
Posted Sunday, August 18, 2002 10:38:32
- The level of concern people have about controlling their identity information has been repeatedly underestimated by many in the industry as the focus on technology.
- If you aggregate enough of it in a centralized system, the government will eventually take a role in dictating how you must secure and protect it.
- The Microsoft consent decree marks the first time that government has moved to regulate the specific implementation of a company's security surrounding identity information.
- A fascinating part of this FTC decree is the implied demand for total transparency in internal procedures when handling identity data.
Stencil Group on UDDI. Brent Sleeper has written another
superb paper. (The hits just keep on comin'!) The first section,
Introduction: The Evolution of UDDI, is a must-read. For
those (myself included) who have been critical of the UDDI charter
in the past, Brent explains how, through version 3.0, UDDI has
evolved to keep up with the ever-changing web-services landscape.
If you start to nod off in the middle section (Brent had to cover
some tech details), wake up for Scenario 2 on page 12 of the PDF
Posted Thursday, August 15, 2002 12:26:38
Loosely-Coupled Consequences. Follow this interesting
weblog-based thread. It starts with a thoughtful posting by Phil
Wainewright in which he looks at BookWatch
Plus, which combines web services from Amazon, Google and
BookWatch to find the books most frequently mentioned on weblogs
around the Internet. It then lists the most popular sites for
those books. (Take the time to grok it.)
Phil Windley continues the discussion, quoting Tim O'Reilly, "Innovation will come from APIs that support 'unintended consequences'," and points out himself that, "the same is true of creating good services, making data available in ways that enable future use, and documenting the resulting APIs so that others can use them. Cool things will happen."
Posted Wednesday, August 14, 2002 11:51:13
the451 on Grand Central. A particularly provocative article by Rachel Chalmers on SearchWebServices. It's a reality check on Grand Central's business model and execution. Along the way, she sheds light on other segments and players including Flamenco Networks, Talking Blocks, Blue Titan and AmberPoint. [Update August 15, 2002 4:30pm: Don't miss Phil Wainewright's comments.]
and Flamenco Networks. Nick Patience, also of the 451, updated the firm's coverage of Flamenco as well.
Posted Wednesday, August 14, 2002 11:38:56
Web Hosting Strategies
and Neurosurgeons. I hope you enjoy my latest column for
The Web Host Industry Review. It's all about MSPs' proactive
versus reactive services, and the organizational problems I call
escalation bleed and charter blur.
Posted Tuesday, August 20, 2002 4:16:39
Winning in the Hosting Industry?
[An excerpt from the latest Netcraft
survey at www.netcraft.com/survey/.]
Presently, the mainstream coverage of the hosting industry is
full of doom and gloom. In the last couple of weeks, Digex
and Divine have each reported
$50M in quarterly losses, and many of the largest companies
in the industry such as Worldcom,
Global Crossing, and
XO, have set a course of huge
losses, bankruptcy and SEC investigation.
Given the widespread coverage of these events, people could be forgiven for
thinking that it was not possible to operate a hosting company at a profit,
or even to grow revenue in the present environment. Yet, amidst the carnage,
some companies with more carefully chosen business models have been able grow
at rates which would normally be regarded as impressive, but seem outstanding
in the current climate.
Taking the hosting companies identified by the Web Server Survey
and restricting the analysis to those that have no known financial
problems and were already large at the start of the year, shows
that eight companies companies have achieved roughly 30% growth
[rackspace is 29 and a
fraction] since the start of the year, and seem set for 50% year
on year growth measured by responding ip addresses.
Hosting Companies with fastest increase in responding IP
January - August 2002
| Hosting Company
|| January 2002
|| August 2002
Leading the table by a wide margin is rackshack.net
which offers exceptionally cheap pricing. Rackshack also has an ISP business
ev1.net, which may make its cost of ownership
of bandwidth lower than for pure dedicated server vendors.
It is noteworthy that all of the fastest growing companies are all majoring in dedicated servers, although
also have a large shared business.
Dedicated servers have proved the most successful segment of the industry, though the largest shared hosters,
are also showing good growth, but at a rate below the companies in the table.
Also, noteworthy from Sun's perspective, is that few of the companies continue
to offer Cobalt, which was not long ago a defacto standard in
the dedicated server industry. Hosters now prefer servers from
IBM, Compaq, or no name boxes, with third party control panels.
Notably, Rackshack dropped Cobalt near the start of the year,
not long after placing the largest ever order for Cobalt servers
in December. Posted Tuesday, August
20, 2002 10:44:36 PM
I've joined this company's team of Expert Advisors. They may look
like just another hosting and MSP broker, but they're much more.
Based on their proprietary SPY Index, Ramp^Rate has an impressive
process to help clients find the best vendor.
Posted Friday, August 16, 2002 8:36:08
Services Reality Check: A Roundtable Discussion
Internet World Fall 2002
Jacob K. Javits Convention Center, New York City
October 2, 2002
Hear from a variety of web-service vendors and their customers as they
discuss how web services will change the way we do business forever. Discuss
the benefits of online services including fast ROI, low TCO, no software
implementation or maintenance costs, updates and upgrades in real-time,
increase in employee productivity and the pros and cons of Web service
Moderator: Doug Kaye, RDS
Panelists: Annrai O'Toole, Executive Chairman, Cape Clear; Patrick Grady,
CEO, Talaris; Craig Donato, President and CEO, Grand Central.
The slides from my 6/18/02 presentation, Web Hosting Strategies,
and a writeup/review are available in PDF format.
and Me. I'm among the featured bloggers in this issue of WorldCom
Magazine. Could it be the last? Doh! Too bad I threw my copy in the trash.
It may become a collector's item.
and Contact Info
The IT Strategy Letter is published weekly by Doug Kaye.
The content is identical to Doug's