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Web services meet chaos theory

Network and data center managers viewing the proliferation of Web services as chaotic will find that Chris Edden, who is helping to develop a new generation of management tools, is in full agreement with them.

''I think I could argue that the advent and explosion of Web services is going to create an environment where you've got to really start looking at all sorts of chaotic models to begin to manage applications,'' said Edden, co-founder of Silas Technologies Inc., (http://www.silasreveille.com/), Winston-Salem, N.C.

He said the previous generation of management tools operated from an engineering model that will not work with Web services.

''As you have this proliferation of these assets called Web services, I think you -- at some point -- exceed the bounds of what we've historically used as a discrete methodology for managing and observing these technologies,'' Edden said.

He described existing tools as ''still fundamentally using a very engineering approach, a very binary discrete approach. But the operation of an application or technology service will be so complex that the ability to discretely observe all the assets and their behaviors begins to exceed a reasonable effort to do so.''

To support his chaos theory of Web services management, he points to a Forrester Research paper, ''Managing Organic IT Infrastructure,'' published in December 2002. In it, Laura Koetzle predicted: ''Without new management tools, the data center will descend into chaos.''

The Forrester paper notes that large vendors such as Hewlett-Packard and smaller ones such as Edden's company are developing new ''organic'' management tools to bring order out of the chaos.

Going beyond what Edden describes as the discrete engineering approach of notifying a network manager that an individual server is overloaded or failing, the organic tools will be smart enough to understand business problems, according to the Forester research report.

Organic tools scheduled to be available in 2004 will be able to make suggestions to a data warehouse administrator, such as ''Move servers in the file/print pool to support overloading database server,'' the Forrester analyst wrote.

About the Author

Rich Seeley is Web Editor for Campus Technology.

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