The IT Strategy Letter
Doug Kaye, RDS Strategies LLC
July 17, 2003 (Subscribe)

Thoughts on today's hottest topics in information technology. In this edition:

Federation of Identities in a Web-Services World. IBM and Microsoft have published a white paper outlining their vision of how digital identities could be federated. The end result is a specification called WS-Federation that will be added to the other WS specs already published. [Source: Scott Loftesness]
Posted Wednesday, July 09, 2003 6:52:11 AM

McKinsey: The Truth About XML. "Contrary to popular perceptions, XML can actually cost more than the systems many companies already have in place, and it isn't clear that most of them need the extra capabilities that XML offers." [McKinsey premium membership required to read much more. :-(]
Posted Tuesday, July 08, 2003 12:45:27 AM

Gartner's Latest Survey on Web Services. Seventy-five percent of respondents cited integration, security, personalization (portals) and Web content management as the most common goals of their Web services projects. External integration with partners, order fulfillment, and payment and billing challenges were the next most common objectives cited. [Source:]
Posted Tuesday, July 08, 2003 12:10:08 AM

Debunking SAML Myths and Misunderstandings. As Don Park wrote, "if you are confused about SAML, read Frank Cohen's article. It is understandably pro-SAML, but it is a good source of handy answers to cover your ass with."
Posted Tuesday, July 08, 2003 9:07:37 PM

Jim Gray on Storage. Thanks to Phil Windley and Tim Bray for linking to this great interview with storage guru, Jim Gray. Read the others' highlights, or better yet--read the whole interview. My favorite quotes include:

  • Two groups start; one group uses an easy-to-use system, and another uses a not-so-easy-to-use system. The first group gets done first, and the competition is over. The winners move forward and the other guys go home. That situation is now happening in the Web services space. People who have better tools win.
  • The processors are going to migrate to where the transducers are. Thus, every display will be intelligent; every NIC will be intelligent; and, of course, every disk will be intelligent...Soon they will have an IP interface and will be running Web servers and databases and file systems. Gradually, all the processors will migrate to the transducers: displays, network interfaces, cameras, disks, and other devices. This will happen over the next decade. It is a radically different architecture...It's IP. The interface is probably...some derivative of SOAP; you send requests to it and get back responses in a pretty high-level protocol. The IP stack does security and naming and discovery.
Posted Wednesday, July 16, 2003 5:02:37 PM

Now Hear This! IT Conversations: New Ideas Through Your Headphones!

IT Conversations are recorded (audio) interviews with the gurus of information technology. They're a new production of RDS Strategies LLC, and we hope you'll enjoy them. Stream IT Conversations to your desktop or laptop, or download them into your MP3 player and listen to them while you drive, workout, or sit on the beach with that piña colada.

The following IT Conversations are new since the last edition of the IT Strategy Letter:

audioEAI and Web Services. Andy Astor, VP of web services, webMethods, and director of WS-I answers the questions:

  • How have web services changed enterprise-application integration?
  • Will the EAI vendors survive the switch to open web-services standards?
  • What's the relationship of WS-I to W3C and OASIS?
[stream--download--discuss, 4.8 mb, 21 minutes, recorded 7/3/03]
Posted Sunday, July 13, 2003 4:56:40 PM

audioIdentity-Based Encryption. Imagine being able to send encrypted email to anyone using only their email address as a public key. No need to obtain and verify a public key in advance. PKI has failed as an email-encryption tool. Only a few of us use PGP. IBE could change all that. Dan Boneh (co-founder) and Sathvik Krishnamurthy (president and CEO) of Voltage Security explain this new technology.
[stream--download--discuss, 4.5 mb, 20 minutes, recorded 7/10/03]
Posted Saturday, July 12, 2003 9:58:39 PM

audioCory Doctorow on The DMCA and IT. From the Electronic Frontier Foundation, Cory explains why the Digital Millennium Copyright Act makes reverse engineering illegal in the U.S., and why that's a bad thing for IT. Do recent changes in copyright law mean you need to police our employees for infringement? How about your customers? Are you responsible for traffic from anonymous users on your WiFi LANs? And what about those new data-retention regulations? (What's a poor CIO to do?)
[stream--download--discuss, 6.9mb, 30 minutes, recorded 7/2/03]
Posted Wednesday, July 09, 2003 10:31:56 PM

Loosely Coupled--Now Available as a PDF (at a 63% Discount)


  • Entire book: US$14.95
  • Major parts (4 total): US$5.95 each
  • Individual chapters (21 total): US$1.95 each

As an alternative to the hardcopy edition, you can now download my latest book in PDF format at a substantial discount using PayPal or BitPass. From the time you purchase the eBook version, you have 7 days during which you can download the content up to 10 times. The PDF files can be printed, but the text cannot be copied or modified. Review of the Week:

"If you read only one book on Web services, this is it."

--Andrew Astor, Director, WS-I and VP Web Services, webMethods
(Read more reviews.)

Speaking of books on web services...

Book Review: Web Services--A Manager's Guide. Last month I suggested someone write a comparative review of this new book by Anne Thomas Manes and my latest book. Last week, I had the opportunity to meet Anne face-to-face and to get a copy of her book. Rather than wait, here's my own comparison.

"A Manager's Guide," as the title suggests, is a pragmatic guide for managing a current web-services project. If you want to know what works today, right down to the specific products from individual vendors, Anne's book is the one to buy. .NET versus Java? Which J2EE platform or UDDI-registry server? The current state of the basic protocols: SOAP, WSDL, UDDI? You'll find the answers in one place. As with my book, there are no code fragments or XML listings. It's for managers, not programmers. But this book is the one to buy for your tactical requirements.

"Loosely Coupled," on the other hand, takes a more strategic view, and in a sense picks up where Anne's book leaves off. I don't explain any of the protocols. In fact I rarely mention them by name. I assume (a) you'll learn about them somewhere else (such as from Anne's book), and (b) they're likely to change anyway. Anne has a 30-page chapter on "Advanced Web-Services Standards," which is where my book kicks in. I look more deeply at the missing pieces of web services: transactions, security, reliable asynchronous messaging, orchestration and choreography, QoS, contracts and other business issues, infrastructure, and the big one: industry-specific semantics. I explain the problems and the solutions, not the specific vendors and products.

Both books cover the fundamental concepts of web services such as service-oriented architectures. Anne, however, sees and approaches web services as being fundamentally about application integration, which clearly is the sweet spot today. I look at the issues regarding inter-organizational loosely coupled web services, taking a longer-term and more strategic view. If you're thrust into managing a web-services project, need to ramp-up quickly, select vendors and products, and be able to communicate with your developers, buy Anne's book. If you need to develop a long-term web-services strategy for your organization, buy mine. In other words: buy them both. I think you'll like the combination.
Posted Wednesday, July 16, 2003 8:31:16 AM

Tim O'Reilly on Web-Services Books. "While Web services books haven't been a huge success yet, I believe...that the move to 'the Internet operating system' (the world in which the network is the computer) is one of the biggest changes we've all faced. So there's going to be a huge upsurge of retraining to deal with that area." [Source: PC Pro]
Posted Tuesday, July 15, 2003 7:38:49 PM

Presentations, Conferences, and Webcasts

SDForum--Web-Services SIG. (Presentation) September 9, 2003, San Francisco. Where is today's sweet spot of web-services technologies? I'll explore the technologies that aren't yet ready for prime time: security, transactions, reliable asynchronous messaging, orchestration and choreography, QoS, contracts and other business issues, infrastructure, and the big one: industry-specific semantics. Then I'll explain why this may not be the time to embark on complex projects, and show you how to determine optimum project start dates.


Digital ID World. (Conference) October 15-17, 2003, Denver, Colorado. I'm moderating a panel entitled, Web Services and Digital ID: Where Are We? Panel members include Tony Scott (CTO, General Motors), Mark O'Neill (CTO, Vordel), John McDowall (CTO, Grand Central Communications), and Jamie Lewis (CEO, The Burton Group).


Web Services Decisions. (Conference) November 3-5, 2003, Atlanta, Georgia. I'll be presenting The Missing Pieces of Web Services after lunch on Monday, November 3.


Loosely Coupled: Interoperability for Business Agility. (Webcast) Recorded 4/30/03 with John McDowall, CTO of Grand Central Communications.


Web Services Project Strategies. (Webcast) Recorded 4/21/03 with Brent Sheets at

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The IT Strategy Letter is published weekly by RDS Strategies LLC. Much -- but not all -- of the content is published earlier in Doug Kaye's weblogs.


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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"


Read More Reviews of Loosely Coupled