Internationally Regarded Authority on Web services and Microsoft
Senior Developer Specialist...
This week, Stephen Ibaraki, ISP, has an exclusive interview with
Ashwin Karuhatty, senior developer specialist with Microsoft. Ashwin
is an acknowledged and widely regarded authority in Web services.
Ashwin, thank you for taking the time out of your very busy schedule
to do this interview on a topic so important to businesses—Web
services. We will examine the specifics of Web Services, its impact
on traditional business models, current trends in business models
for Web Services, creating a successful long-term Web Services
business model, and its impact on ROI. At the end of the interview,
we will examine Microsoft’s specific solutions to address the areas
Q: Can you provide a history of IT, which resulted in the current
demand for Web services? What were the issues at the different
A: IT started as the place inside a corporation that utilized
computing technology to assist in the activities not directly
associated with the core business competency, such as financial
reports, payroll, etc. As computing power increased and a PC on
every desk became a reality, the role of IT evolved to coordinate
the electronic functions and processes between departments inside a
corporation, and the role of IT began to touch the core business.
The third stage of IT is one where there is a need for technologies
to allow businesses to seamlessly communicate over a network. EDI
(Electronic Data Interchange), CORBA (Common Object Request Broker
Architecture) and DCOM (Distributed Component Object Model) are just
some examples of approaches to answer this need, but those
approaches did not meet the need in the most interoperable and
cost-effective way. Today, Web Services allow systems and
applications to communicate over a network using industry
agreed-upon protocols. This is a breakthrough thing because now
businesses can utilize their existing systems and communicate to
different systems through these interoperable protocols.
Q: Who are the organizations associated with Web services and what
role do they play?
A: There are many organizations that deal with Web services, but
they fall into three major categories: First, the vendors creating
Web services technologies, like Microsoft, and the customers who
validate the work. The second are standards bodies who look at the
specifications and deem them standards, like OASIS (www.oasis-open.org)
and the W3C (www.w3.org). And the third is the Web Services
Interoperability organization (WS-I, www.ws-i.org) who produces
guidelines for using Web services in a way that yields good
Q: What are the current recommendations and standards associated
with Web services, their version numbers, and define their specific
A: May 2000: SOAP 1.1 was submitted to the W3C. Most current SOAP
implementations are built with support for SOAP 1.1. Work on SOAP
version 1.2 is underway in the W3C's XML Protocol working group.
September 2000: UDDI v1.0 founded and released by Microsoft, IBM,
Version 2 of the specifications was published in June 2001 and was
rolled out by the UDDI Business Registry (UBR) in May 2002.
Version 3 specification development was completed July 2002.
October 2000: Extensible Markup Language (XML) 1.0 (Second Edition)
submitted to W3C.
March 2001: Web Services Description Language (WSDL) 1.1 submitted
April 2002: IBM, Microsoft and VeriSign published WS-Security, along
with the IBM, Microsoft co-authored roadmap, "Security: Security in
a Web Services World: A Proposed Architecture and Roadmap."
August 2002: BEA, IBM and Microsoft publish WS-Transaction.
September 2002: Submitted WS-Security to OASIS, along with more than
15 other companies, including BEA Systems, Cisco Systems, Intel
Corporation, IONA, Novell, Oblix, OpenNetwork, RSA Security, SAP,
and Sun Microsystems.
December 2002: IBM and Microsoft, along with BEA Systems, RSA
Security, and VeriSign published a set of security specifications,
including WS-Policy, WS-Trust and WS-SecureConversation.
March 2003: IBM and Microsoft, along with BEA Systems and TIBCO
published a reliable messaging protocol, WS-ReliableMessaging, as
well as a joint white paper, “Reliable Message Delivery in a Web
Services World: A Proposed Architecture and Roadmap.”
May 2003: IBM and Microsoft, along with BEA, Siebel Systems and SAP
publish Business Process Execution Language for Web Services Version
July 2003: BEA, IBM, Microsoft and VeriSign published WS-Federation,
along with the IBM and Microsoft co-authored whitepaper, "Federation
of Identities in a Web Services World."
September 2003: BEA, IBM and Microsoft publish WS-Coordination and
WS-AtomicTransaction as part of the WS-Transaction family.
Q: What are Web services—define and describe Web services in detail?
Please describe the different levels of implementation and the
solutions they provide.
A: Web services are the fundamental building blocks in the move to
distributed computing on the Internet. Open standards and the focus
on communication and collaboration among people and applications
have created an environment where Web services are becoming the
platform for application integration and interoperability.
More information can be found at:
- Expose useful functionality with WSDL interfaces and communicate
through a standard XML based protocol, SOAP.
- Use XML as a way of representing messages.
- Provide a way to describe their interfaces in detail via an XML
document called a Web Services Description Language (WSDL) document.
- Can be registered using Universal Discovery Description and
Integration (UDDI) so that potential users can find them easily.
Q: Who are the current adopters of Web services, how are they
planning, implementing and using the services, and how will this
evolve over time?
A: Microsoft and other major vendors are adopting Web services as
well as providing capabilities within their products to implement
Web services-enabled solutions. Adoption is not just limited to
major companies – there are a lot of startups focused on providing
products and solutions directly targeted at the Web services
consumer. Internally, we have implemented a project called Alchemy,
which is a Web services enabled layer on top of all our packaged
applications like Siebel, SAP, etc, which allows flexible
interoperability with systems and leverages our existing investments
in these technologies.
Over time, most implementations will adhere to standards coming out
of the various standards bodies. Today, Microsoft and its industry
partners are delivering on the vision of Web services by enabling
customers to connect systems from multiple vendors and reach out to
partners, customers, and suppliers in new and dynamic ways.
Q: How big is the current market for Web services and how will this
change over time?
A: Today, there is a lot of research done by analysts and companies
alike regarding the growth of Web services and the common answer
across the board is that the market is huge. Every Fortune 100
executive is talking about adopting Web services, if not already
done. Since it is an evolving technology today, the potential market
is very huge. Web services capabilities over the next few years will
become an integral part of every product and customers will come to
expect it. For example, a recent Forrester Research report stated
that the new momentum is obvious. In a September survey of IT execs,
85 percent of respondents planned to deploy Web services this year,
up from 71 percent a year ago.
Q: Please detail the top ten traditional business models and the
impact Web services will have on each of these models.
A: - Financial Services including risk analysis, alerts, payment
processing, fraud analysis
- Supply Chain Management
- Data Warehousing
- Data analytics of all types – including field research for
pharmaceuticals, artificial intelligence applied in numerous market
- Enterprise Application Integration
- Electronic Data Interchange
Web Services change the fundamental methods of traditional business
models by seamlessly bringing together large-scale global
Q: How do you create a successful business model for Web services?
What are the required steps, processes, and actions?
A: Successful business models, irrespective of technology,
incorporate well defined business processes, IT cultures and risk
management. The same applies to creating Web services models as
well. Fundamentally, Web services adapt themselves to the concept of
Software-as-a-Service (see SOA below). Software today is inexpensive
and will become even less expensive in the future – it will probably
be much commoditized and Web services will play a huge part in
shaping that functionality.
Successful change requires an understanding of the drivers of
change, the risks associated with new technology adoption and the
ability of the organization to absorb change. Businesses today have
made huge investments in technology, which might not address the
changing business needs. They need the ability to create
architectures that are flexible and have the ability to adapt and
evolve. Service Oriented Architecture (SOA) is a term which is very
commonly used to define that. SOA allows IT organizations to be more
nimble and gives them the ability to directly impact the bottom line
of a company as opposed to being a support arm. Web services are
helpful building blocks towards achieving a successful SOA.
Q: What specific new ways of thinking about business will come from
the planning and implementation of Web services?
A: Web services offer many benefits, including:
Interoperability — This is the most important benefit of Web
services. Web services typically work outside of private networks,
offering developers a non-proprietary route to their solutions.
Services developed are likely, therefore, to have a longer
life-span, offering better return on investment of the developed
service. Web services also allow developers to use various
programming languages and due to the use of standards-based
communications methods, Web services are virtually
Usability — Web services allow the business logic of many different
systems to be exposed over the Web. User’s applications have the
freedom to use the Web services that they need without re-inventing
the wheel for each client.
Reusability — Web services provide not only exploitation of the
component-based model of application development, but the closest
thing possible to zero-coding deployment of such services. It is
very easy to reuse Web service components as appropriate in other
services and to deploy legacy code as a Web service.
Deployability — Web services are deployed over standard Internet
technologies. Also due to the use of existing specifications and
standards coming out of WS-I, most of the functionality surrounding
security, reliable messaging and transactions will be built-in.
Scalability – Web Services leverages the Internet as a communication
channel which provides the benefit of distributed applications.
There are efficient methods to achieve scalability by using
Asynchronous Message Delivery, Process Orchestration, etc.
Q: What are the current impediments to the planning and
implementation of Web services this year, next year, and three, and
five years into the future? Can you be specific in what these
impediments are and how they will be resolved?
A: Microsoft is committed to an open, efficient process to garner
feedback across industry partners. Through this open and efficient
process, we aim to drive adoption and achieve interoperability in a
way that results in technology with a high level of engineering
Our mutual experience with the introduction of previous Web services
specifications indicates that the process of publishing a
specification and creating opportunities for feedback and
substantial implementation experience prior to submitting to a
standards body typically results in a higher quality specification
(for example, SOAP and WS-Security followed this path) and
ultimately delivers capabilities to customers faster. Microsoft and
other industry partners work very closely with the other co-authors
and the industry to actively garner feedback on the technology
through feedback and interoperability workshops.
Q: What steps are necessary and how would you plan, create and
implement a long-term business model for Web services—one that will
have a positive ROI?
A: According to research analyst firm Gartner, enterprises that have
already or will soon start using Web services will be in an
excellent position in 2007 to realize cost savings, productivity
enhancements, new business processes and other benefits. Enterprises
that wait until Web services standards, technologies, semantics and
business models become stable, increasingly will find themselves at
a competitive disadvantage.
My suggestion to companies is to start implementing Web services
today – the pieces and products are in place to build and deploy
good business models. Going forward, there is also a strong
commitment from major vendors to support and implement Web services.
To make the best use of existing investments as well as adapt to
changing business needs, Web services and SOA provide an excellent
platform. The ROI might take a little longer to be realized, but it
will all be worth it.
Q: What are Microsoft’s solutions and how will they evolve over
A: Microsoft is strongly committed to Web services and related
technologies. Microsoft® .NET is a set of software technologies for
connecting information, people, systems, and devices. This new
generation of technology is based on Web services—small
building-block applications that can connect to each other as well
as to other, larger applications over the Internet.
Additionally, Microsoft is a founding member of WS-I (http://www.ws-i.org),
which is defining the interoperability standards for Web services
across platforms and operating systems. We have a second release of
the WS-* specs implementation called Web Service Enhancements (WSE)
WSE allows Microsoft to build on Web services investments with
Visual Studio and the .NET framework and provides the next phase of
Web services capabilities. Most of our products going forward will
have the ability to seamlessly interact with Web services – today,
Office System products, BizTalk Server, Microsoft Operations Manager
all have the ability to interact or manage Web services.
We are coming up with a new set of technologies, codenamed “Indigo”
- for building and running connected systems. Indigo is a set of
technologies for connecting people, information, systems, and
devices. Advanced Web services support facilitates secure, reliable,
and transacted connections as well as heterogeneous
interoperability. Indigo’s powerful messaging capabilities and
programming model that extends existing communications capabilities
simplifies the development of services. For more information visit:
Q: Can you provide case studies that illustrate the Microsoft
A: We have many customers using the Microsoft solution to build Web
Services and here are a few of them:
Stephen’s closing: We appreciate the time you have taken in sharing
your vast knowledge and experiences with our audience—thank you.