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Web service reality is integration

While the promise of Web services may be elaborate e-business applications running on the Internet, the reality of the XML-based technology implementations remains much more mundane, according to Bob Potter, executive vice president of business operations at Iona Technologies, Waltham, Mass.

With a slow economy and restricted IT budgets, he said, Web services continue to thrive as an integration technology. Acknowledging that the EAI emphasis fits Iona's current business model as an integration company, Potter said his company and its competitors are benefiting from the use of Web services to simplify IT infrastructure.

During the boom years of the 1990s, he said, organizations bought more and more middleware products to solve a variety of integration problems; now, they find themselves with limited budgets and a tangle of technologies.

''We're seeing a lot of companies that through limited budgets and cost-saving measures are finally trying to rationalize their infrastructures ... their spaghetti of confusing infrastructures,'' Potter told eADT . ''While times were good, people just kept adding additional integration technologies. What's happening now is that people are saying 'We don't need all this stuff.'''

The Iona executive said this infrastructure simplification includes deploying Web services technologies to create a single middleware layer for all the enterprise systems, as well as replacing aging messaging-oriented middleware.

''Companies are coming to us, and quite frankly they're coming to other companies like us and saying, 'Can you help us with this and save us money?' And they're doing it under the auspices of Web services, which is a stretch,'' Potter said. ''But because it is so widely embraced, and maybe even be over-hyped, companies are now taking the opportunity to simplify what they have.''

Seeking to take advantage of this trend, earlier this month Iona announced an expansion of its existing alliance with Hewlett-Packard to provide enterprise integration products for HP-UX operating systems running on the Intel Itanium processor.

For more information, click on http://www.iona.com and http://www.hp.com.

About the Author

Rich Seeley is Web Editor for Campus Technology.

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