The IT Strategy Letter
A digest of Doug Kaye's weblogs for the week ending February 3, 2003 (Subscribe)


Web Services Strategies
Web Hosting Strategies
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Web Services Strategies

SMBmeta: A Web Service for Small Businesses? Dan Bricklin and Don Bulens were following the buzz surrounding web services, and asked themselves, "How does this apply to small businesses?" I explore Dan's answer to that question, SMBmeta, in my latest column for The Web Host Industry Review. Phil Wainewright also posted a story, as did David Weinberger and Scott Loftesness.
Posted Friday, January 24, 2003 8:01:03 PM  

Micropayments for Web Services? Russ Jones of Glenbrook Partners (and with a lot of first-hand experience) takes aim at micropayments. "To say we're skeptical about micropayments would be an understatement."

But to date, most micropayment systems have been used with the delivery of content (not services) over the World Wide Web. They've been based on the assumption that consumers would pay small amounts--from fractions of a penny to perhaps a few dollars--for the right to view and optionally download web-based information or software. The challenge, of course, is that it can cost more to collect such amounts than is worthwhile. Most solutions have been based on the aggregation of multiple small accounts, which in turn requires that the micropayment vendor be associated with enough volume and sources of content that aggregation is economically feasible. No micropayment aggregator has come close to achieving this critical mass.

The economics change, however, when micropayments are used for services rather than for content. It's one thing to charge a few pennies to view a document, particularly when consumers may only view one or two documents per month. But in the business-to-business world of web services--where requestors are more likely to use those services more frequently--the aggregated revenues per requestor will be greater. Micropayments may finally succeed for web services where they failed for content.
[Source: Loosely Coupled--The Missing Pieces of Web Services]
Posted Wednesday, January 22, 2003 6:59:29 AM  

The Standards Battle. Some interesting quotes in this good Line56 story from last week's COMNET conference in Washington, D.C.

  • Oracle's Ted Farrell when asked why his company pursues a separate standard for business process (WSCI) when IBM, Microsoft and BEA have agreed on BPEL? "We'll do what is best for our customers," says Farrell, "and support standards that are open to companies large and small alike."
  • Neil Charney on why Microsoft's new x-docs use XSLT instead of the preferred XML Query, which Microsoft also participates in. "It is BEA's belief that XML Query is a better solution for most problems than XSLT and easier for customers to learn."
Posted Thursday, January 30, 2003 10:42:21 AM  

Application Firewalls. Beth Blakely's article introduces the issues surrounding application-level firewalls for web services, and explains how they're different from the network firewalls we're all used to. Referring to a report by Gartner analysts John Pescatore, Matthew Easley, and Richard Stiennon, she also looks at who will likely be the long-term provider of these devices. Will it be the speciality startups such as AKheron, Flamenco Networks, Forum Systems, Reactivity, Vordel, and Westbridge Technology? According to Blakely, "Gartner predicts that as organizations evaluate security requirements, more will implement more than one kind of firewall, spurring demand for integrated centralized administration," such as provided by Check Point Software Technologies.
[Source: TechRepublic. Free, but registration required]
Posted Monday, January 27, 2003 5:46:43 AM  

A Faster Web-Services Protocol? These claims sound like those for cold fusion--the energy source, not the software. Were any of my readers at last week's IEEE Symposium on Applications and the Internet in Orlando, where this was presented? What's the real story here?
Posted Friday, January 31, 2003 11:39:24 AM   

Quiz: Is Your Project at Risk for Disaster? I like this 10-question interactive quiz hosted at Baseline. These are very similar to what I ask when performing first-round project-risk assessments.
Posted Thursday, January 30, 2003 1:13:29 PM  

Web Hosting Strategies

Aftershocks of Slammer Worm Continue. Matrix NetSystems posted a fascinating analysis of network-wide packet loss, latency, and availability during last week's attack on unpatched SQL Servers.

If you're responsible for answering questions about a web site's performance, I recommend subscribing to Matrix's free Event Advisory service. Even if you don't have such responsibility, it's usually an interesting read.

[Source: Matrix NetSystems]
Posted Saturday, January 25, 2003 8:53:29 PM  

SSAC Shuts Down. In early January, "the Strategic Sourcing Advisory Council, formerly the MSP Association, announced that it was ceasing operations....There was much hype about the management service providers (MSP), and the reality didn't turn out as lucrative as many service providers, investors and vendors had hoped...The mistake of some prognosticators was that they assumed this was a new paradigm that would take over a majority of IT management, when the more reasonable assumption was that it would be used selectively and as a supplement to IT."

[Source: NetworkWorld Fusion]
Posted Wednesday, January 22, 2003 6:35:48 PM  

Everyone's Internet Buys Hosting Tech. "Internet service provider Everyone's Internet said on Wednesday that it has struck a deal to acquire the assets of Web hosting industry trade publication Hosting Tech magazine, which last week announced that it would cease publication."
[Source: The Web Host Industry Review]

This saves a good magazine, but I wonder how many of the good writers (and they had some very good ones) will remain with the magazine.
Posted Wednesday, January 22, 2003 5:45:24 PM   

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