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Gartner: Get Web Services Pilots Rolling in 2003

A lot of attention around Web services has been hype, and many necessary standards are not in place. Nonetheless, analysts at Gartner said this week that even cautious companies need to begin Web services pilot programs in 2003.

Microsoft, Sun, IBM, BEA and others all have Web services frameworks and products in various stages of development. Most are built on the use of XML and SOAP to transfer data across traditional technology boundaries. The vendors generally trot out grand schemes of companies exchanging data across corporate firewalls, and running bits of applications that are a conglomeration of services available for hire on the Web. Early adoption of the technologies has tended to be most common inside the firewall, in projects that traditionally would have been considered enterprise application integration, however.

Still, Gartner researchers contend that some activity is taking place along the grander end of the spectrum.

"Web services is fulfilling its potential as low-risk, high-utility data integration catalysts, but it is also emerging in unusual, visionary projects," Whit Andrews, Gartner research director, said in a statement. That said, Andrews added, "Few enterprises should base a costly, strategic overhaul of mission-critical applications for 2004 or earlier on Web services."

But even cautious companies that plan to exploit Web services should begin experimenting now and deploy pilots "no later than 2003," Andrews said.

Gartner calls out two other trends with Web services. One is that enterprise Web services projects so far have not required extensive security. The projects have either layered on basic security capabilities or have been generally unattractive to attackers. Also, Web services projects tend to have few developers on them by design. Gartner recommends that no projects have more than eight developers, and notes that it is finding that a typical internal project teams is about three developers.

About the Author

Scott Bekker is editor in chief of Redmond Channel Partner magazine.

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