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Are Web Services an Investment or an infinite Cost?

22 replies on 2 pages. Most recent reply: Jan 9, 2006 5:10 PM by Greg Lorriman

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Jeff Schneider

Posts: 7
Nickname: jeffs
Registered: Nov, 2002

Re: Are Web Services an Investment or an infinite Cost? Posted: Dec 3, 2005 12:17 PM
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Gregg,
I have a Fortune 100 client with 2,400 systems in production containing approximately 30,000,000 lines of code. Less than 1,000,000 lines are written in Java. They want a better way to integrate the systems and leverage common architectural elements. What do you recommend?
Jeff
http://schneider.blogspot.com

Gregg Wonderly

Posts: 317
Nickname: greggwon
Registered: Apr, 2003

Re: Are Web Services an Investment or an infinite Cost? Posted: Dec 3, 2005 9:54 PM
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> Gregg,
> I have a Fortune 100 client with 2,400 systems in
> production containing approximately 30,000,000 lines of
> code. Less than 1,000,000 lines are written in Java. They
> want a better way to integrate the systems and leverage
> common architectural elements. What do you recommend?

What I would recommend is choosing an integration layer that is made of a technology that excells at distributed computing. The interfaces of those systems is, of course, the driving issue for how easy it will be to integrate them. They've invested in systems which may not be working well together because the interfaces are not up to the business at hand.

I can only speculate with out more hard facts as to what steps would help them move in a direction that would work for them.

Some questions of interest, to me would be things like:

o What's the purpose of the integration? i.e. what do they want to come out of that integration?

o For example, is the intent of the integration to make users more effective, business processes more automated, or are there other underlying cost benefits?

o When do they want to see some benefits from their integration? Now, or down the road?

This is the kind of stuff that I hope you've already help them think about. Knowing the answers to those questions, and some others, would probably make it clear whether they think the integration layer is the application, or part of the toolset.

Jeff Schneider

Posts: 7
Nickname: jeffs
Registered: Nov, 2002

Re: Are Web Services an Investment or an infinite Cost? Posted: Dec 4, 2005 9:53 AM
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Excellent questions. I can assume that 'Web services' are off the table as an option due to the "infinite cost" associated with them?

Gregg Wonderly

Posts: 317
Nickname: greggwon
Registered: Apr, 2003

Re: Are Web Services an Investment or an infinite Cost? Posted: Dec 5, 2005 12:18 AM
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> Excellent questions. I can assume that 'Web services' are
> off the table as an option due to the "infinite cost"
> associated with them?

Well, the question is, is the cost of your software systems creating a return that represents a gain. The title line to this blog is a real question. There is continuous cost involved in web services for the next several years as the standards evolve. You'll get to upgrade, replace, reengineer etc. Whether you use an opensource APP server, or buy something from a vendor, there will be a cost. Those who are already using web services have invested already. If there's a positive return on that investment, maybe that cost is okay for the short term.

The question for me (and this is the topic of this blog), is after you get some return on the easy web services work, does that create such a huge amount of dependency on the APP server, the protocols and the infrastructure that you loose your ability to do things cheap, using less costly technologies? Will you always be looking for the next generation SOAP compression device? Will you always be trying to figure out which message you want to attach a particular document element to because you can't change a service since the clients can't adapt to that change without be updated and going through redeployment.

Jini lets you deploy code dynamically so that you can always adapt and improve your bus, without impacting the client interfaces. The separation of the transport from the actions being transported is a paramount improvement that no other RPC/messaging system provides, except those with mobile code, such as Jini/Java based solutions.

You can inject compression, dispersion, multiplexing, demultiplexing etc. The client doesn't have to care and will likely never "know" that you did.

Slava Imeshev

Posts: 114
Nickname: imeshev
Registered: Sep, 2004

Re: Are Web Services an Investment or an infinite Cost? Posted: Dec 6, 2005 3:39 AM
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> Gregg,
> I have a Fortune 100 client with 2,400 systems in
> production containing approximately 30,000,000 lines of
> code. Less than 1,000,000 lines are written in Java. They
> want a better way to integrate the systems and leverage
> common architectural elements. What do you recommend?

I am not Gregg :), but I'll try. There is a very good and proven to work solution for your client - CORBA. Fast, transactional, multiplatform, universal, secure and stable. CORBA been there forever, and that's where WebServices will never come, IMHO.

I think CORBA is one of the most well kept secrets of nowadays - those using it silently laugh over competitors lured into this WebServices ...ap :)

Regards,

Slava Imeshev

Gregg Wonderly

Posts: 317
Nickname: greggwon
Registered: Apr, 2003

Re: Are Web Services an Investment or an infinite Cost? Posted: Dec 14, 2005 9:01 AM
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Jeff, there was a recent Jini Community Webinar which talks about some of the issues with Jini vs C++. Web services probably has some equally complex issues regarding change. There's probably a larger initial comfort with integrating with web services because it uses seemly simple socket services. But, the data conversion packages and all the associated software that is tacked on, is more complex in size, and dependencies on vendors then web services from my perspective.

You can find the webinar on line at http://www.jini.org/webinar/. It's a great presentation from Alex Krapf who has a lot of experience in this arena. His statement in the presentation was that there were only 2 of his customers who were using Jini, a small percentage of his total customer base.

As he explained, there are many more factors than the technical issues that need to be worked.

Jesse Williamson

Posts: 9
Nickname: chardan
Registered: Dec, 2005

Re: Are Web Services an Investment or an infinite Cost? Posted: Dec 28, 2005 9:24 PM
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I believe that if you can avoid the "but everyone else uses it" situation (which unfortunately is significant), ZeroC's Ice technology is extremely impressive.

http://www.zeroc.com

It has everything I like about CORBA (which is a lot) with a far superior API and excellent, well-developed tools. Give it a try!

Greg Lorriman

Posts: 5
Nickname: ashtray
Registered: Feb, 2004

Re: Are Web Services an Investment or an infinite Cost? Posted: Jan 9, 2006 5:10 PM
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In the old days SOAP/web-services was just a rationalised version of page-scraping. If it had kept the simplicity, and if the net community were not crippled by the need for firewalls, then all would be well.

It seems to me that SOAP is being pushed into doing the jobs of Corba and DCOM, with much of their complexity. The client becomes a server and so one needs a lot of security.

The magic of SOAP is that it has removed from XML-RPC the temptation to complexity, since XML-RPC is doing what SOAP was was meant to be.

Long live XML-RPC!!

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