Executives Guide to Web Services (SOA, Service-Oriented Architecture) - page 57


SUMMARY

In this chapter we sought to demonstrate that IT strategy and planning is a critical requirement for success in business today, and that the implementation of an enterprise architecture using SOA principles and Web services can be used as a competitive differentiator. To achieve this goal, we introduced enterprise architectures and examined the business realities and challenges that have made them so difficult to maintain. We introduced the SOA and examined how Web services can be used to enable implementation of an enterprise architecture using SOA principles. From a business perspective, we postulated that the resulting enterprise architecture could be used to enable competitive advantage and create business value for organizations. The business benefits of creating an enterprise architecture using SOA principles are many, but primarily fall into the categories of:

  • Reduced IT complexity

  • Lower IT costs

  • Increased business flexibility and agility, and

  • Improved time-to-market

Finally, we examined implementation considerations for a Web serviceenabled SOA, looking at the two primary camps for their implementation: Java 2 Enterprise Edition (J2EE) and Microsoft .Net, reviewing their relative market positions from a business perspective.

In today’s economy no business leader can dispute that organizational flexibility and agility are not just a desirable option, but are critical requirements for business survival. It is our hope that we have demonstrated the importance of enterprise architectures, SOAs, and Web services in creating a flexible and agile IT foundation for the future, upon which business value and competitive advantage can be built.



ENDNOTES

  1. www.arstechnica.com, Ars Technica, October 2002, “DNA Computing: A Primer” by Will Ryu.

  2. www.meta.com, Quote from Web site, By George Paras, META Group Vice President and Director of Enterprise Planning and Architecture Strategy.

  3. www.dmreview.com, DM Review, December 1999, “Enterprise Architecture: The Past and the Future” by John A. Zachman.

  4. Forrester Research, December 2001, “Reducing Integration’s Cost” by Laura Koetzle.

  5. Forrester Research, June 2002, “Which Web Services Vendor?” p. 3, by David Truog.

  6. msdn.microsoft.com/netframework/productinfo/overview, Microsoft, “What Is Microsoft .NET?”, accessed October 20, 2002.

  7. Ibid.

  8. java.sun.com/j2ee/overview.html, Sun Microsystems, “Java 2 Platform, Enterprise Edition (J2EE) Overview,” accessed October 20, 2002.



Chapter 8: The Web Services Vendor Landscape

OVERVIEW

“The biggest gap in the world is the gap between the justice of a cause and the motives of the people pushing it.”
John P. Grier

This chapter provides a high-level snapshot of vendors actively developing a presence in the burgeoning Web services market. Here we map categories of software and hardware vendors to a typical IT architecture and describe, at a high level, how vendors are positioning themselves to compete in the Web services market. It will become apparent that certain software categories, and associated vendors , are in an enviable position to influence the Web services market—given their current position in the IT value chain— while the emergence of Web services will likely imperil others.



VENDOR CATEGORIES

This section leverages a generic systems architecture as a foundation upon which to overlay categories of IT vendors. The resulting illustration, shown in Figure 8.1, demonstrates how a generic systems architecture, beginning with infrastructure at the bottom and ending with front-office and customer applications at the top, maps to the seven categories of tools and application vendors . Vendor categories are shown as horizontal bars that span multiple layers of the systems architecture stack, illustrating the overlap between vendor categories, as well as how each category maps to layers of the systems architecture.

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Figure 8.1: Web services solution provider categories.

Figure 8.1 illustrates the breadth of architecture coverage that each category of solution provider spans along the systems architecture. Clearly, the platform vendors and enterprise application vendors have tremendous influence across the systems architecture stack, as well as platform providers—such as IBM, Sun Microsystems, Hewlett-Packard, Microsoft, and Oracle. Beyond these two categories there are two others that will likely wield tremendous influence over the rapidly emerging Web services landscape: application server vendors (such as IBM, BEA, Oracle, Sun iPlanet) and Enterprise Application Integration (EAI) vendors (such as WebMethods, TIBCO, SeeBeyond, Vitria). Not surprisingly, there are many other vendors vying for control of critical elements of the Web services value chain. The ensuing battle will no doubt result in a Darwinian shakeout as the Web services standards and solutions evolve and mature over the next two to three years .

The systems architecture stack shows the most common elements of an organization’s architecture and is not meant to be an exhaustive representation. The intent is to provide a framework within which to further discuss the Web services vendor landscape and provide a baseline for the following considerations:

  • Category Mapping —What business and IT capabilities does each category enable? How are these capabilities impacted by the emergence of Web services?

  • Vendor Landscape —Which vendors hold a dominant position within each category? How do these vendors intend to leverage the emergence of Web services? Which emerging vendors should be watched?

  • Category and Vendor Viability —Are there viability issues that need to be considered for a category or its associated vendors?

The following sections explore these issues for each of the vendor categories below:

  1. Platform Vendors

  2. Enterprise Applications

  3. EAI and Middleware

  4. Application Servers

  5. Development Tools

  6. Directory Services

  7. Network Management and Application Hosting

Based on the speed at which the Web services market is evolving, it is inevitable that by the time this book is released a number of vendors will have merged, been acquired , or even gone out of business.

However, the majority of vendors discussed will still be in business and will be actively seeking to gain market share and mind share as Web services continue to gain momentum. Regardless of which vendors gain and which decline, the systems architecture and associated vendor mapping, provides a framework for evaluating current and future vendors in the Web services market.

Platform Vendors

The platform vendors, exemplified by the likes of IBM, Sun Microsystems, and Hewlett-Packard, typically provide a full range of hardware, operating systems, and infrastructure solutions to the enterprise computing market. Beyond the likes of IBM and Hewlett-Packard, Oracle and Microsoft could also be considered platform vendors—although from a predominantly software perspective—based on the broad reach of their extensive product sets. For this purpose Oracle and Microsoft are included in this category, as well as being considered in other categories.

The platform vendors have a strong market position and significant influence over the IT landscape. As the Web services market evolves, these vendors will undoubtedly be at the forefront. However, these organizations are somewhat mixed in how they are positioned to capitalize on the emergence of the Web services market. For example, consider the following:

  • IBM and Microsoft —have been the leaders , followed by Oracle, in the charge for Web services market and mind share.

  • Sun Microsystems —has been a laggard in its Web services support, both in product terms as well as its definition and support of Web services standards.

  • Hewlett-Packard —has also been slow to adopt Web services standards, possibly due to the time and effort consumed by its acquisition of Compaq Computer.

Vendor Landscape IBM, Microsoft, and Oracle are well positioned in the Web services landscape. They all command the high ground in the computing infrastructure and application portfolio of major organizations, as well as having significant professional services offerings to help their clients begin the adoption of Web services. The platform vendors in this category have three key strengths that they can leverage as the Web services market evolves:

  1. Trust —The platform vendors have delivered complex IT computing infrastructure reliably over the years, and they have the market clout to continue doing so even without a compelling or leading edge Web services story. They are trusted by IT executives, and because of this the laggards in this category may have time to retool their products, services, and capabilities around Web services. They cannot afford to wait long however. Closing the gap on IBM, Microsoft, and Oracle will be no easy task.

  2. Market Share —The platform vendors have significant market share in hardware and software, as well as control over significant IT budgets . They will not easily relinquish their incumbent status.

  3. Product Breadth —The platform vendors have varying degrees of application strength, from IBM with its hardware, software, and services might to Sun Microsystems, relying on hardware, operating systems, and infrastructure solutions. Because these organizations control so much of the IT infrastructure and application portfolio, the platform vendors will likely command a leadership position in much of the emerging Web services market.

Conclusions The industry presence of these IT titans should not be underestimated. While it is clear that IBM and Microsoft should be lauded for their early leadership in Web services, as well as Oracle (to be covered further under enterprise software), the slower and less focused efforts of Hewlett-Packard and Sun can not be discounted, as they have not yet lost the opportunity to influence the Web services market. Web services adoption is still in its early phases, and there is still time for Hewlett-Packard and Sun to refocus their efforts as the Web services market moves from the integration phase to the collaboration phase and beyond.

Enterprise Applications

Enterprise application vendors hold an interesting position with respect to Web services adoption. This category includes software vendors that fall in the following subgroups:

  • ERP Vendors —such as SAP, Oracle, J.D. Edwards, and PeopleSoft.

  • CRM Vendors —such as Siebel Software, SAP, Oracle, and Epicore, SalesLogix

  • Relational Database Vendors —such as Oracle, IBM, Sybase, Microsoft, and Progress Software

  • Other Best-of-Breed Vendors —serving vertical industries or departmental functions, such as supply chain planning and execution (i2 and Manugistics), claims software, and underwriting engines for insurance, HR software, and so on

The application vendors have multiple options for addressing Web services. Much as with the onslaught of client-server architectures in the early 1990s, many of these vendors may choose to rewrite their applications based on modular, service-oriented architectures, leveraging XML, SOAP, WSDL, and UDDI standards. This could be considered a big bang approach and would most likely only be used for specific modules or products that are outdated or acquired assets, and are therefore not architecturally similar to other related modules.

In the case of ERP vendors, their products are broad-based, multimodule applications that provide functionality spanning all operations and departments of an organization. The ERP players have multiple options, many of which are in progress already, including the following:

  • Rebuild —the entire suite as a Web services architecture and recoup the cost by collecting subscription fees on smaller, componentized application modules (the existing modules provided without requiring the rest of the ERP suite).

  • Componentize —portions of modules, or entire modules for high volume applications where more revenue can be collected from subscription fees.

  • Encapsulate —collaboration components of the ERP suite where it makes sense. For example, where an ERP function, submodule, or module is used by many internal users, many external users via an extranet, or both.

  • Offer Integration Servers —with EAI-like functionality to take control of integration challenges from within their own application suite, which helps them maintain account and architectural control of their customer’s IT portfolio.

The question is, “What are the business reasons for building Web services interfaces into ERP systems?” The answers are readily apparent, according to Kapil Apshankar in Enterprise Resources Planning and Web Services , “Ease of Integration and Reduction in Costs through the Hosted Application Model.” [1] The enterprise application vendors control a large portion of the IT budget, especially the likes of SAP and Oracle with their broad ERP suites. As organizations move into the integration phase of the Web services adoption model, it is likely that the enterprise application vendors will be among the first to provide Web services-based interfaces for their applications.

Vendor Landscape A battle is looming between the enterprise software vendors and the enterprise application integration (EAI) vendors based on two broad forces. Firstly, the enterprise application vendors, realizing that they created the need for EAI solutions with their proprietary interfaces and complex software functionality, have begun offering their own application integration modules. Secondly, as Web services standards are embraced and incorporated into enterprise applications, organizations can refocus their own IT efforts on the more challenging requirement of Web serviceenabling homegrown legacy systems.

SAP, PeopleSoft, Oracle, and Siebel are among the leading enterprise application vendors repositioning themselves for the Web services market:

  • SAP —with its dominant market presence has made significant progress in opening up its architecture for Web services. It has adopted J2EE for development and scripting along with its proprietary ABAP language, and has also released a version of its own integration server in an attempt to ease the burden of connecting SAP to other business applications. The recent release of SAP’s own Web Application Server also encroaches on the application server and EAI market.

  • PeopleSoft —is offering its own integration broker called AppConnect with XML and SOAP support, providing open messaging, data transformation, and content-routing functions. This is clearly a downward move to add EAI-like functionality to its offering, and much like Oracle, SAP, Siebel, and others, they are clearly threatening the EAI market.

  • Oracle —has entered the Web services market with Oracle Dynamic Services, J2EE tools, and an application server architecture that rivals the functionality of BEA WebLogic and IBM’s WebSphere. Oracle has been actively participating in standards groups, and appears to be a serious player in the Web services space.

  • Siebel —has announced its own Web services support with the introduction of their Universal Application Network, a hub-based architectural solution relying on XML and SOAP, as well as other core Web services standards.

Conclusions What does all of this activity mean? The enterprise application vendors mean business and are positioning themselves in the Web services value chain in an effort to gain greater control of the enterprise technology footprint. Thus, they are beginning to offer their own integration solutions, leveraging Web services to create a standards-based, open integration platform, rather than having this imposed on them by the EAI competitors , the application server vendors, or the platform vendors such as Microsoft, IBM.

Additionally, the enterprise application vendors are already beginning exploratory forays with Web services to provide standards-based integration between the array of modules that they offer within their application portfolios. These integration solutions are as much a threat to the EAI community as the actual solutions that they will eventually roll out to the market.

The battle is just shaping up, and as Web services move beyond the integration phase into the collaboration phase, the enterprise application vendors are preparing Web services solutions that insulate their application footprint from encroachment by other vendors. These efforts will assure their continued relevance to the core business processes of large organizations. Furthermore, these future solutions will likely provide the connectivity and collaboration tools for development and execution of complex inter-enterprise business processes with customers, partners , and suppliers.

EAI and Middleware

At a high level the Enterprise Application Integration (EAI) and middleware category contains vendors whose primary focus is providing the tools used to coordinate disparate enterprise applications, enabling the rationalization and consolidation of information across an array of heterogeneous systems. With the emergence of Web services, these vendors are faced with a dilemma. On the one hand, they are forced to embrace Web services or be perceived as proprietary solutions. On the other hand, Web services by their very nature will diminish the need for EAI solutions. This really is a case of “Damned if you do, damned if you don’t!”

Perhaps the real opportunity for EAI vendors is to be found in their deep understanding of back-end application integration environments. This deep understanding might be leveraged as a means to reposition themselves as Web services-enabled integration backbone providers, playing an important role in the initial phases of Web services adoption.

The EAI and middleware vendors are diverse ranging from middleware and messaging backbone providers, to EAI and integration server vendors, and finally to extraction, transformation, and load (ETL) tool vendors. The products provided by these vendors became especially important during the e-Business wave as it became clear that back-office and legacy systems needed to be integrated with corporate Web sites to enable Web-based customer support and real-time transaction processing (such as, order processing and inventory management). EAI tools were heavily utilized to integrate disparate back-end systems into a single integrated view of the enterprise, as well as to provide seamless access to multiple back-end data sources for real-time transaction support and data visibility.

The number of integration server vendors is staggering, and they are all vying for a position in the emerging Web services market. In positioning themselves for Web services, these vendors are starting from a similar point in the IT value chain: helping organizations integrate complex enterprise and legacy applications to support modern application solutions leveraging application servers and Web servers, such as portals and other Web-based applications. Generally, the integration vendors are addressing Web services by providing capabilities for:

  • XML-Based Enterprise Application Integration —Continuing the enterprise integration focus but using XML as the integration method as opposed to proprietary data access and translation techniques

  • Encapsulating Legacy Systems —Implementing Web services using existing legacy and enterprise applications to expose business functionality or create services leveraging existing system processes

  • Providing a Run-Time Environment —Assembling and operating Web services once they have been composed , exposed, published, assembled , and bound

The challenge facing the EAI and middleware vendors will be the viability of the revenue model that they are pursuing. To date EAI vendors have provided expensive solutions, based on point-to-point system interface architectures. As Web services are leveraged to simplify internal integration needs, the value and viable price point for EAI solutions will be challenged, pushing license prices down and cutting into revenue streams.

Yet, EAI vendors have little choice but to provide the tools and adapters to facilitate back-end integration using Web services. In the short term , there will likely be a hectic scramble as EAI vendors seek to achieve some level of Web services compliance and support. Many vendors are already moving down this path . However, there will likely be a consolidation of EAI and integration server vendors as the usage of Web services grows and the associated need for integration software diminishes.

Vendor Landscape Because Web services will initially be deployed as an internal integration solution, EAI and integration server vendors will initially experience growth associated with their forays into Web services.

This early growth, however, will likely wane as organizations realize that writing XML and SOAP interfaces is relatively simple, and that exposing legacy applications as Web services does not require expensive EAI licenses, costly development and maintenance costs, and dedicated IT integration staff. In the long term, EAI vendors will have to look for new sources of value in the IT value chain as integration ceases to be a primary factor facing IT executives in delivering information value to the business.

Business process management and workflow will be a looming battle between the application server vendors and the EAI/integration server vendors. This capability is an edge functionality that fits nicely in both domains, and in fact should rightfully cut across both. For this reason, business processes are likely to require information from legacy applications as well as more modern ERP and CRM applications, and therefore the vendors have as much information content contribution to the workflow of business processes as the front-end application server vendors.

Vendors to Watch There are many EAI vendors to track as Web services adoption progresses, and as the standards evolve. The following is a list of the major vendors to watch (in alphabetical order):

  • CrossWorlds (IBM)

  • Mercator

  • SeeBeyond

  • TIBCO

  • Vitria

  • WebMethods— see below for vendor spotlight

As mentioned, WebMethods is a leading vendor in the EAI category, and as such is examined further below.

Vendor Spotlight: WebMethods WebMethods is a heavyweight in the enterprise application integration market. WebMethods has strong market share, robust functionality in the integration server market, and a who’s who customer list in many industry verticals. With the typical palette of EAI functionality, WebMethods provides a solid integration foundation for companies seeking solutions for back-end system integration, while looking ahead to Web services and maintaining their options to begin using them when they are ready. WebMethods functionality includes:

  • Web Services Support —for XML, SOAP, and WSDL

  • Integration Server —with standard adapters to multiple legacy and ERP platforms

  • Message Broker —for synchronous and asynchronous messaging, providing transaction integrity across the diversity of back-end systems, hardware and OS platforms, and application solutions

  • Workflow Support —to accommodate business rules and business process management on top of its integration server and messaging backbone

WebMethods provides a solid foundation for application integration as well as a starting point for Web services. Based on its support for the evolving Web services standards as well as its strong enterprise application integration functionality, WebMethods will continue to be a strong player in the Web services market.

Conclusions Broadly, the EAI vendors all support XML and have indicated their intent to support SOAP and WSDL. Suffice it to say that the leaders of the EAI movement will be aggressive in their Web services positioning. As we have mentioned, most initial forays into Web services will begin with internal integration projects, exposing legacy systems with XML and SOAP interfaces. The EAI vendors understand application integration, and they should be given strong consideration as organizations begin exploring their Web services options and their business objectives. One thing is clear: EAI solutions are not cheap, and as organizations gain Web services capabilities, simple integration challenges will be solved leveraging in-house skills, negating the need for expensive EAI solutions.

Application Servers

Application servers play a critical role in the systems architecture, separating the Graphical User Interface (GUI) and presentation services of business applications from the business logic and the database functions. The application server is frequently viewed as part of a generic three-tier application architecture consisting of a GUI, an application (business logic) server, and a database or data server. This three-tier application architecture can be further broken down into an n- tier distributed architecture, where performance at each of the tiers can be monitored and enhanced depending on peak system loads, transaction volumes , and other performance-related issues.

The application server market is replete with competitors that fall into two broad platform paradigms :

  1. Java 2 Enterprise Edition ( J2EE) —One camp is the J2EE camp, in which most of the existing application server vendors support J2EE development.

  2. Microsoft .Net —The other camp is the .Net camp, which falls under the Microsoft umbrella.

Application servers are ideally positioned in the modern IT application architecture as they are the foundation for most modern application architectures deployed today. The application server market is one of the few technology areas projected to grow over the coming year. However, Web services are an influencer of this trend, not a driver.

Vendor Landscape Because of their central position in the application architecture of organizations, application servers are a critical hub of activity for Web services. Given the robust functionality of these products, they are a natural place to focus many of the services required of Web services applications. The application components and business logic of a Web services application will reside on the application servers, much like distributed applications of today. However, given the highly distributed nature of Web services, it is likely that applications will be assembled from Web services components residing in many different physical and logical locations, rather than being deployed in a single instance of an application server. This is a likely scenario based on projections of how Web services will be written and published to registries for distributed access. The implication of this is that future applications will be executed on virtual servers, comprised of a number of distributed application servers each involved in running the services that constitute an application.

Vendors to Watch The following are application server vendors to watch over the coming months and years as they reposition themselves for Web services. Some have the revenue streams and large customer bases to carry them until there is sufficient adoption of Web services. For the smaller vendors, however, they may find it rough going as the application server business consolidates to the few strongest players, namely IBM WebSphere and BEA WebLogic. Oracle is a new entrant to the application server business and may well be a contender in this category (in alphabetical order):

  • BEA Systems— see below for vendor spotlight

  • IBM— see next page for vendor spotlight

  • IONA

  • Microsoft

  • Oracle

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    SilverStream (acquired by Novell in mid-2002)

  • Sun iPlanet

As previously mentioned, BEA and IBM are currently the market leadersfor application servers, with WebSphere and WebLogic respectively. These two vendors bear closer scrutiny, and are examined further below.

Vendor Spotlight: BEA Systems BEA has been a pioneer of the application server market with its BEA WebLogic application server platform. BEA began with messaging middleware and rapidly moved up the application food chain with its WebLogic application server product. WebLogic is a fully featured J2EE application server and development environment. BEA not only ships the application server, but also provides an integration server, a portal solution, and a development environment for implementation of complex applications and business logic without needing to know the intricacies of Java’s more complex features. The following is a summary of BEA’s position:

  • Full J2EE application server environment

  • Operating system-neutral application server makes it popular with startups and other customers who prefer choice of hardware and OS platform

  • WebLogic Workshop (formerly known by the codename “Cajun”) shields developers from the complexities of Java development

  • Business process management capabilities for workflow, integrating processes, systems, and human users

  • Robust support for complex business transactions, which helps differentiate it from its typical application server competition

BEA is in a highly competitive market, with formidable competition from IBM, Microsoft, Oracle, and a host of other smaller application server vendors. In the coming year, BEA will likely find itself in a twofront battle: on one front against the large platform vendors and enterprise software vendors, and on the other front from the EAI competitors who are rapidly adding capabilities to their integration servers. Still, BEA is in a strong position to compete for control of the Web services value chain.

Vendor Spotlight: IBM WebSphere The IBM WebSphere application server suite provides extensive capabilities, to which IBM continues to add functionality. Recent announcements include the addition of an integration module allowing content management and transformation, as well as EDI support allowing companies to manage partner interaction in an application server environment. WebSphere provides a rich set of tools and functionality that supports Web services development, publishing, and deployment on the WebSphere application server. The IBM WebSphere application server suite’s capabilities include:

  • Cross platform support covering the full range of IBM’s mainframes and servers, including their mainframes, AS/400, RS6000 as well as Windows/Intel servers

  • Deep development support for Java-based applications, having been a major driver and flag bearer of the J2EE movement

  • Application development tools for Web site design, portal development, personalization support, content management and delivery

  • Provides EAI-like capabilities for back-end integration and content transformation and delivery

  • Allows the use of business rules and workflow management capabilities to support complex applications, user intervention processes, business process management

  • Provides messaging and transaction management products to facilitate secure and reliable synchronous and asynchronous messaging across a business enterprise

In short, IBM has a formidable collection of capabilities within the WebSphere application server environment, as well as the surrounding IBM products for messaging, application development, and even a newly released Integrated Development Environment (IDE) called Eclipse, an open source tool for Web services development. IBM, next to Microsoft, has the deepest application server product depth, the strongest total application development and deployment capabilities, and the best supporting cast of complementary software products to help enterprises begin the transition to Web services using the WebSphere application server environment.

Conclusions The application server market is being challenged on two fronts. These vendors are stuck between the platform vendors and enterprise application vendors on one front, and the EAI vendors on the other. The move by enterprise application vendors such as Oracle and SAP into the application server space will inevitably challenge the dominant positions that IBM and BEA have historically maintained . Having said that, the application server vendors are in a strong position in the application architecture. As long as they continue to add support for Web services and strengthen their development tools, integration capabilities, and their transaction support, they will be in a position to compete for Web services market and mind share.

Development Tools

Web services development tool vendors are rapidly emerging. There is a mix of existing development tool vendors in this landscape, such as IBM, Bowstreet, Microsoft, SilverStream Software, and Sun Microsystems, as well as a number of newcomers. Web services development tools fall into two broad categories:

  1. Web Services Development —Web services development vendors offer tools and visual development environments that allow software developers to create new Web services from scratch as well as create Web services from existing applications. Typical vendor tools include Integrated Development Environments (IDE), application development toolkits, and runtime environments.

  2. Web Services Orchestration or Assembly —These vendors provide the tools for assembling complex Web services from multiple sources into business workflows. Assembling Web services into a coherent business application requires system interfaces and data transformation capabilities to locate and bind a number of Web services into meaningful business processes. These tools are typically based on visual workflow tools and business rules engines, as well as data transformation and data mapping tools required to knit different Web services modules into more complex services. These vendors are leading edge in that they will rely on emerging Web services workflow standards, which are still very much in flux. The Web Services Flow Language (WSFL) and XLANG have recently been merged into the Business Process Execution Language for Web Services (BPEL4WS). The Web services orchestration vendors are ahead of the adoption curve and the standards for these complex capabilities, but nonetheless are forging onward in anticipation of the appropriate standards and security issues being resolved.

Vendor Landscape Given the cross-software category capabilities and momentum of large vendors, such as IBM, Microsoft, and Sun, the niche tool vendors have very little control of the Web services market. Furthermore, the Web services adoption model begins with the use of XML and SOAP for integration, and the leadership of those processes may well be driven by the EAI vendors, based on their existing knowledge of large enterprises and their deep knowledge of application integration. They are deeply entrenched, and already have the ability to expose back-end systems processes as Web services.

There will inevitably be considerable merger and acquisition (M&A) activity in the development tools arena as the platform vendors, enterprise application vendors, EAI and application server vendors all round out their portfolio of offerings by acquiring startups. Also, Microsoft with .NET and C#, as well as the massive J2EE movement headed up by IBM, BEA Systems, Oracle and Sun among others, will ensure that they are significant players in the Web services development tools environment.

Vendors to Watch The following are development tool vendors to watch over the coming months and years as they reposition themselves for Web services. This category falls into two distinct groups: large cross-category vendors and small niche players. Moreso than other categories, the smaller development vendors will increasingly struggle to compete against the likes of IBM, BEA, and Microsoft, resulting in consolidation of this category through both acquisitions and business failures. The following lists identify a number of the most visible players in both segments (in alphabetical order):

Large Cross-Category Vendors:

  • BEA Systems

  • IBM

  • Microsoft

  • Novell (with acquisition of SilverStream)

  • Oracle

  • Sun Microsystems

Smaller Niche Vendors:

  • AltoWeb

  • Avinon

  • Blue Titan

  • Bowstreet

  • Cape Clear

  • Cysive

  • Killdara

  • Systinet

Conclusions As the collaboration phase of the Web services adoption model becomes a mainstream focus for organizations, the Web services development tools vendors may be able to exert more influence over the composition of complex, long-running Web services that span corporate firewalls and multiple organizations. But for now, in the big picture of the IT value chain and the Web services value chain, the large software vendors will most likely command the high ground of Web services development.

Directory Services

Remember calling the help desk for password resets? Remember filling out individual paper forms and sending them to various departments in order to gain access to corporate systems? Directory solutions, also referred to as registries, seek to overcome the challenges associated with proprietary management of identity and access control used by individual applications. Directories provide the ability to share identity information across application and business boundaries, allowing the creation of an organization-wide directory that can be used to more effectively maintain the following:

  • Identity management

  • User and resource provisioning

  • Personalization and user profiling

  • Authentication and security

  • Reuse of identities across applications for customer satisfaction and cross-selling of products and services

The directory vendors represent a mix of platform vendors, development tools vendors, software infrastructure vendors, and others. While directory vendors are more infrastructure and platform-like than other elements of the Web services landscape, they are an important enabler for support of UDDI registries. For example, Novell Corporation has already released a UDDIcompliant version of its e-Directory product. Directory-based plays have interesting opportunities available to them based on the eventual use of UDDI in the Web services adoption model. Directory vendors such as Novell, Sun Microsystems (via iPlanet), Microsoft (Active Directory), IBM, and Netscape (also iPlanet) are actively promoting directories as part of their Web services positioning.

As directories are increasingly deployed as a key facet of IT architectures, organizations will begin to leverage these assets as publishing clearing houses for internal content other than identity information. As UDDI standards evolve, directories will be used as the publishing mechanism for internal Web services. Eventually, when UDDI is augmented with emerging security standards and related technologies for Web services, public directories will increasingly be used to search for, locate, and provide Web services across the Web.

Vendor Landscape From a Web services perspective, it is clear that UDDI registries are a sweet spot for directory vendors. Although we have discussed directory-centric strategies separate from the other vendor categories, they really are part of the platform vendor space and are increasingly being provided by application server vendors such as IBM, BEA, iPlanet, Oracle, and others. While the UDDI standards are not yet evolved enough to drive significant Web services adoption, this is a future play based on the evolution of the security standards and eventual maturation of UDDI. Novell, for example, will bundle its directory with the SilverStream Web services platform. IBM will add directory capabilities to its WebSphere platform, and Sun offers directory services as part of its iPlanet application server. Again, directories have been isolated here to highlight their importance relative to the evolution of UDDI registries, and should not be considered as totally distinct from the platform vendor category.

Vendors to Watch The following is a list of the major directory vendors to watch (in alphabetical order):

  • IBM

  • Microsoft

  • Novell— see below for vendor spotlight

  • Oracle

  • Systinet

  • Sun

Novell has been one of the early pioneers in development of directorybased solutions with its e-Directory product. Novell and the e-Directory product are discussed further below.

Vendor Spotlight: Novell e-Directory Novell has a long history of providing software infrastructure products, from its once market-leading NetWare Network Operating System (NOS) to more recent software products, most notably e-Directory. According to market research, Novell’s e-Directory product is among the industry’s best Lightweight Directory Access Protocol (LDAP) directory servers available today. Based on this market-leading directory presence, Novell has begun to aggressively position e-Directory as a UDDI registry. When combined with Novell’s acquisition of SilverStream Software’s Extend product, Novell now has the application server and development tools to be a serious contender for the emerging Web services market.

The SilverStream acquisition added the following software components to Novell’s existing product portfolio:

  • J2EE application server

  • Visual IDE for rapid application development (or integrated services environment, ISE, as SilverStream called it), that exports a run-time application that will run on IBM’s WebSphere application server or on BEA’s WebLogic application server

  • Light EAI module for tapping into back-end legacy environments and exposing them as Web services or as enterprise Java beans

  • Application toolset for portal development, content management, data transformation, and integration to legacy systems

When these capabilities are added to Novell’s directory strategy, as well as its metadirectory product, DirXML, Novell has to be considered as a serious player in the emerging Web services space. Only time will tell whether Novell has the staying power to leverage its directory product leadership as a competitive advantage in the Web services market. As Novell’s historical NOS leadership continues to be eroded by Microsoft and Sun Microsystems, among others, Novell will have to rely more heavily on newer software products in its portfolio, including BorderManager, iChain, ZENworks, and products added through its silverstream acquisition.

Novell’s ongoing viability will depend much on its ability to reposition itself for the Web services market. Conspicuously absent from many of the early Web services standards efforts, Novell recently submitted a specification for use of LDAP directories with the UDDI standard. Adoption of UDDI standards have been slow, giving Novell time to develop a strong Web services strategy to position itself in the UDDI registry space.

Conclusions From a strategic perspective, directories should be considered as part of a service-oriented architecture. Adding a directory server is an incremental approach toward centrally managing and identifying information for all enterprise applications, as opposed to maintaining silos of identity information within each individual application. Because a directory strategy provides the identity provisioning functionality for an organization’s application and messaging systems, it is a natural extension to add UDDI registry functionality to directory solutions.

To date, UDDI registry adoption has been slow. The real need for Web services registries will not become apparent until organizations begin to develop a portfolio of Web services. As the number of available Web services increases , the complexity of services management will become overwhelming, spurring the rapid adoption of UDDI registries. This category will likely see tremendous growth once widespread adoption of Web services begins. However, we anticipate a lag during the next year and accelerated adoption moving into 2004.

Network Management and Application Hosting

The final group of vendors to be discussed is the network management and application-hosting vendors. These are a diverse set of vendors that provide an important function in the emerging Web services arena: They provide a secure and trusted runtime environment for operating Web services on behalf of the service requestors. The list of vendors is small but growing, and includes some venerable organizations as well as startups.

The fundamental requirement here is a secure virtual location to operate -Web services built from multiple service providers, on behalf of service requestors, via service brokers —think back to the provider, requester, broker network introduced in Chapter 7.

Vendor Landscape The incumbents here include vendors such as GE Global Exchange Services, and EDI services bureaus that specialize in managing high volumes of transactions for large customers over secure, private networks. These vendors have trusted relationships with an extensive customer base, and have a proven track record of managing corporate data and transactions on behalf of their clients.

More recent entrants include Flamenco Networks, Grand Central Communications, Viacore, and Kenamea. These vendors provide hosted services that connect to their customer systems and provide hub-like exchange services based on Web services standards. These vendors provide Web services provisioning, security, and authentication, as well as more sophisticated functionality, such as data transformation and process workflow. As more complex Web services are assembled from multiple service brokers and service providers, again depending on the level of maturation of Web services standards, these vendors will become more powerful in the overall Web services value chain.

Conclusions While there are venerable companies in this category, the startups will have some advantage by not carrying forward legacy EDI infrastructure. On the other hand, the incumbents have deep experience in managing high volume transactions successfully for their large, Global 1000 clients. Positioning for the eventual Web services market is going to rely on development of many Web services standards, and some of these vendors may be in the mode of, “If we build it, they will come.” If Web services do not mature in the ways these new hosting organizations expect, or if organizations are slow in adopting Web services in the volumes required to support all of these new ventures , then they will likely find that they do not have economically viable business models.

Remember the Application Services Providers (ASP)? Hosting is a challenging business if based on a rapidly emerging technology with volatile standards. The Web services adoption model suggests that until the collaboration phase is reached by a large number of early adopters, and the underlying Web services standards are in place, these vendors will have very low-volume businesses for the next few years.

Emerging Category

Beyond the seven core categories discussed in the previous sections, an eighth emerging category of “Web Services Backbones and Content Hubs” bears mention here. This category provides hybrid solutions that blend the functionality of EAI, content aggregation, transformation and distribution with directory-driven personalization, and multi-channel, multi-format distribution. These vendors fall outside the traditional EAI category as they specialize in hub-based content and transaction management rather than pure application integration. They seek to combine the best of a number of different categories in a single capability.

Vendors in this emerging category include Forum Systems, Kenamea, KnowNow, and StreamServe, among others. It is likely that additional vendors will appear in this category as organizations realize that the aggregation, transformation, and distribution of information to multi-channel receivers can be used to preserve the traditional business transaction channels of trading partners, regardless of their size and interface capabilities.

For example, StreamServe provides solutions built on XML-based transformation, bringing to its customers:

  • Connectivity —to industry-leading ERP and back-end enterprise systems

  • Content Aggregation, Transformation, and Distribution —based on a personalization engine (LDAP directory-based) that allows “ recipientdriven personalization,” or the receivers of content to determine the ways they want to receive it

  • Multi-Channel and Multi-Format Distribution —using EDI, XML/SOAP, Email, SMS to mobile devices, HTTP, fax, and print

  • Business Rules Engine —that allows complex processes to be modeled and orchestrated based on processing content transformations and distribution rules

  • Web Services Support —for XML, SOAP, WSDL, as well as planned support for Web services workflow management with BPEL4WS

Conclusions This category represents a hybrid solution that uses an XML processing engine at the core of a hub and spoke-based architecture. Vendors in this category seek to deliver solutions that preserve the existing business transaction channels while providing leading edge Web services support. Although this emerging category will likely provide important capability for the transition from the integration phase to the collaboration phase of the Web services adoption, it is likely the EAI vendors will aggressively pursue capability in this category in an effort to further their Web services ambitions and position for growth beyond the integration phase.

[1] Web Services Architect, April 17 2002, Enterprise Resources Planning and Web Services , “Ease of Integration and Reduction in Costs through the Hosted Application Model” by Kapil Apshankar, p. 2.