The IT Strategy Letter
A digest of Doug Kaye's weblogs for the week ending November 11, 2002 (Subscribe)


Web Services Strategies
Web Hosting Strategies
Doug's Media and Speaking Appearances
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Web Services Strategies

Message Queuing--It's a Good Thing. Loosely coupled asynchronous web-services architectures based on message queuing not only offer improved reliability, they also allow you to handle high burst loads with less hardware and software. Here's an example of a web service that receives burst request loads of 150tps (when sampled each second) during the early-afternoon hours. But when front-ended with a messaging system (i.e., a huge buffer) the load can be handled by an application server and database that are only configured to process 50tps steady state. Even at the busiest time of day, this configuration never gets more than 30 seconds behind, which is well within the design criteria for the application. (Of course you could never do this with synchronous RPC-style web services.)

When averaged over 24 hours, the load for this web service is only 25tps (2.1 million transactions per day). If an 8-hour lag in message-queue processing was acceptable (as it is for some applications), a single 25tps application configuration could handle the whole thing.
Posted Monday, November 04, 2002 11:27:22 PM

Finding a Place for UDDI. Phil Wainewright has pulled together some of the best analyst and vendor comments on the current state and future of this often-misunderstood protocol and service.
Posted Tuesday, November 05, 2002 11:35:15 PM

Tightly Bound to Your Web Services Platform. Phil also writes, "People who build web services using tools from the big vendors are tied to deploying on the same vendors' platforms. And I'm not just talking about Microsoft here. Despite touting the openness of the J2EE architecture and their commitment to open systems and standards, neither IBM nor BEA support any platforms apart from their own if you build web services using their tools."
Posted Friday, November 01, 2002 5:53:02 AM

Loose Coupling on Hagel. And while we're linking to Phil, he has also compiled early comments on John Hagel's Out of the Box.
Posted Wednesday, October 30, 2002 8:39:06 AM

Edging Into Web Services. From the McKinsey Quarterly with my comments:

  • The best use of Web services currently lies in applications in which connectivity problems are more complex, efficiency gains are greater in the near term, and alternative ways of connecting companies are limited...for now most companies will prefer to stick to more expensive--but proven and reliable--approaches to integrate key internal systems. Good point. At the edge there are no viable alternatives, hence another reason to start there rather than in-house where at least you've already got the EAI you love and hate.
  • Web services let companies tinker with the application while avoiding changes to the interface...[Managers] should follow three principles--leverage existing technology, implement investments in stages, and plug in new elements of the technology over time. Let's hear it for loose coupling!
  • ...the new technology is essentially an overlay. Careful--McKinsey doesn't make a strong enough case for the need for an all-new way of thinking when using web services. ZapThink warns of "old wine in new bottles."
  • [A company] should be wary of creating hybrids that will limit its options when Web services alternatives become available. Proprietary extensions to fill gaps in the features of Web services, for example, should be implemented as modules with clearly defined interfaces. In this way, it will be easier to replace the proprietary extensions with evolving Web services standards as they become available. Beware of vendors who claim, "It's not just standard--it's better than standard."
Nothing altogether new here, but a good three-page article to forward to your senior management. [Source: CNet's]
Posted Sunday, November 03, 2002 9:25:20 AM

SIs Retool Web Services. The major systems integrators are organized by vertical practice units. Accenture, for example, has an insurance-industry practice among many others. This InfoWorld article finds that the SIs are, "converting years of best practices and intellectual property into prepackaged, tangible assets in an effort to make it easier for its network of integrators and consultants to deliver customized solutions."
Posted Monday, November 04, 2002 12:07:59 PM

Shootout At The Transaction Corral; BTP Versus WS-Transaction. An excellent--and even entertaining--explanation of loosely coupled business-process transactions and a comparison of the IBM/Microsoft/BEA proposal for WS-Transaction and OASIS' BTP. [Source: Mark Potts, Talking Blocks]
Posted Friday, November 08, 2002 12:52:08 AM

Micropayment's Big Potential. Steven Milunovich of Red Herring writes about the latest developments in the on-going saga of micropayments including Ron Rivest's solution named Peppercorn. Check out the PowerPoint deck or the math-heavy PDF.
Posted Tuesday, November 05, 2002 11:32:18 PM

Jiri Ludvik on the Liberty Aliance 1.0 Spec. "End users don't give a monkey about digital identity and Liberty per se. It's the companies who have chance to become identity providers (actually banks according to Gartner), who care about this and who might be ready to pay for the fun." And more tantalizing observations.
Posted Tuesday, November 05, 2002 4:09:00 PM

Web Services: Is it CORBA Redux? Gordon Van Huizen of Sonic Software takes the offensive to warn about improper web service implementations. "...RPC web services [have] flaws that could turn web services into this decade's CORBA...Things like scheduled downtime, system failures and network outages are the reality. RPC-style web services can't cope with such intermittent behavior. [Source: Brent Sleeper]
Posted Sunday, November 03, 2002 9:44:10 AM

Web Hosting Strategies

Web Hosting 101. "This class might not be offered at many colleges, but if it were, Doug Kaye's book would be required reading." I'm interviewed (complete with headshot) in the November issue of HostingTech magazine. Harcopy only for now, although subscriptions are free. The article may be on line when the December issue comes out.

It's a strange interview. My wife pointed out that it sounds like I just walked away from a career in theatre and film, and started a web-hosting company on a whim. There's nothing about the intervening 27 years in IT including 19 as a CEO. Still, as they say, perhaps there's no such thing as bad press.
Posted Friday, November 01, 2002 12:18:27 PM

Exodus on the Rocks. It looks like the UK's Cable & Wireless is about to jettison its US web-hosting and content-delivery acquisitions, Exodus and Digital Island. It's not clear whether they'll be sold or just shut down. Here's a timeline from my weblog archives:

  • On August 22, 2001, I suggested that the resignation of three of Exodus' board members meant more than what might appear.
  • In September, Andrew Schroepfer of Tier 1 Research predicted that the telcos would take over the hosting business.
  • In October, I reported that many of my clients were leaving Exodus out of fears of the impact of financial instability. Even Sun was reported to be pulling out.
  • In November, I finally agreed with Tier 1 and projected it would take two years for realistic pricing to return to data-center colocation and hosting, but only for those that could hang in for that long. (And we're only half way there.)
  • A few days later, C&W announced it was in "advanced talks' to purchase the assets of Exodus.
  • Things were quiet for a while, and in May, Adam Eisner of The Web Host Industry Review thought things looked pretty good for Exodus.
Posted Sunday, November 10, 2002 1:35:42 PM

How To Protect Your Company When Your Service Provider Goes Broke. And while we're on the subject, a short but must-read article by two experienced bankruptcy attorneys. "There it is on the front page of the business section: One of your suppliers just filed for bankruptcy. Your phone rings off the hook. Your CEO asks, 'What happens now?'...If your supplier declares bankruptcy, you lose the right to terminate the agreement unilaterally, which will interfere with your ability to find another supplier, and your supplier can terminate the agreement on little notice without providing you any termination assistance." [Source: Outsourcing Center]
Posted Tuesday, November 05, 2002 11:05:30 AM

Life in the Steady-State Hosting Universe. Shirley Siluk Gregory writes, "For all the attention that has been focused on the consolidation of the Web hosting industry, the other side of the equation--industry expansion--deserves just as much focus...for every Web host absorbed into another company last year, there's plenty of anecdotal evidence to suggest at least one new hosting venture sprang up anew to target a similar audience." [Source: The Web Host Industry Review]
Posted Friday, November 08, 2002 3:45:45 PM

Competition in SSL Certificate Market Becoming Lively. "Over the last three years Geotrust have, primarily through competitive pricing, garnered 10% of the market, and have become the role model competitor to Verisign in the way that Thawte had been before Verisign bought it." [Source: Netcraft]
Posted Saturday, November 02, 2002 4:32:09 AM

Doug's Appearances

Building a Web Services Foundation: Web Services Strategies for IT Managers
December 10, 11:00 - 11:45am, Hotel Nikko, San Francisco

This session will drill down on the business and technical reasons that are driving leading companies around the world to move away from a vendor-specific legacy infrastructure and embrace a standards-based Web Services architecture.

National studies of top IT managers indicate that when it comes to assessing potential roadblocks to adopting Web Services, bandwidth concerns are second only to security-related misgivings. This session will provide the tools for accurately modeling the impact that moving to a Web Services solution will have on your existing infrastructure. Armed with this knowledge, you'll be ready to formulate a strategic approach to developing and managing infrastructure resources that can successfully support a scalable and dependable Web Services framework.

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"...essential reading for anyone seeking to deploy this technology."

--John Hagel, III,
management consultant
and author of
"Out of the Box"


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