Phase 1 (1999-2001): In June 2001, Gartner, Inc. documented a timeline for the adoption of Web services from 2001 to 2005. They suggested that 2001 would see many Web services development tools delivered. With Web services development tools from Microsoft, IBM, Sun, Software AG and many others, this expected proliferation of Web services tools was realized. We will refer to this period (1999-2001) as Phase 1 of Web services evolution. Phase 1 has been the major focus of Web services to this point.
Phase 2 (2002- 2004): Gartner, Inc. suggested that 2002 would see business Web services start to appear in large numbers, also with business-to-consumer (B2C) access to mass consumer-oriented Web services. One such example of B2C Web services is "My Services" from Microsoft (code-named "Hailstorm"). These were scheduled to be released in 2002 as My Services Servers in association with Microsoft .NET.
For 2003, UDDI Registry adoption is projected to grow, with private registries emerging to support private exchanges. Public registries will also emerge to support public exchanges, with government usage of Web services also accelerating sharply. Some of these registries may offer free access to Web services, but most are expected to be released on a fee- paying basis.
According to Gartner, Inc., 2004 will see the adolescence of Web-services-based business models, with private registries still dominating. New revenue-generation models and channel opportunities will become commonplace. Gartner, Inc. predicts that by 2004, 40 percent of financial services transactions will leverage Web services models, with 35 percent of online government services delivered as Web services.
Phase 3 (2005 and beyond): 2005 will see public UDDI registries gain attention as public B2B exchanges begin to reemerge after a relative hiatus in 2001 to 2002 during the dot-com downturn. Dynamic Web services will also gain more attention.
For Web services to deliver fast, seamless integration of business partners on an enterprise scale during Phase 2, a number of issues will need to be addressed. These include: quality of service (QoS), network reliability, transaction recovery, real-time messaging, security and billing mechanisms. Some of these issues are discussed in the following paragraphs.
Web services networks between service providers and service requestors must handle end-point authentication between partners and must provide security, data encryption and non-repudiation of transactions. Web services network vendors will also need to offer both synchronous and asynchronous messaging; the latter enables a client service requestor to carry out other tasks while waiting for a response from a service provider. Network-quality monitoring, error management and data-compression schemes will help improve network scalability and reliability.
Web service network vendors are emerging to address these issues, such as Grand Central, Flamenco Networks and Kenamea. Grand Central uses a centralized hub topology, while Flamenco uses a server proxy for a multipoint network approach. Both focus on transactional stability, with network monitoring on a server-to-server basis. Kenamea specializes in "last mile" network delivery to a broad range of device types, such as supply chains.
Web services authentication and security vendors such as Netegrity, Oblix and OpenNetwork have been developing products to manage authorization credentials for disparate Web services environments, but one of the most significant security products is Microsoft Passport. This moves security for Web services from the responsibility of each machine to a security layer that spans the Internet. Once an end user has been authenticated to Passport, a user ID is allocated. This single ID identifies that person throughout the Internet. With this user ID, other service providers can find information about the user, based only on the specific details that the user has authorized others to see and use. The overriding principle of Microsoft Passport is that the user is always in control. The user has sole authority to make as much, or as little, information as he or she chooses available to others. There are more than 165 million users of Hotmail and MSDN who can already use Passport.
This year, Microsoft has added Kerberos support to Passport. This is a network- authentication protocol that adds strong, secret-key cryptography. With Kerberos support, Passport will offer interoperability with other Kerberos- compliant protocols, all delivering strong authorization security. With interoperability as an objective, OASIS is defining the security assertion markup language (SAML).
However, now that My Services is offered as a separate server product from Microsoft, the original Microsoft design approach that was described earlier for Passport is changing.
My next column will continue this discussion with the evolution of Web services from 2005 and beyond.
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