Archive for the ‘Web Services’ Category

Cloud Computing Panel at TiE: Amazon, where are my candies?

Wednesday, April 18th, 2007

I was in the audience for a panel discussion on Cloud Computing hosted by TiE. The panel was moderated by Nimish Gupta of SAP and had people from Amazon WebServices, Google, Opus Capital, and SAP. The interesting thing to watch was how the panel agreed to disagree on the benefits/definition of Cloud Computing. Pavni Diwanji from Google mentioned that it’s the tools on Google Apps and the API which matters to the developers.
Dan Avida, a VC from Opus, seemed to have innate knowledge about EC2 and mentioned that there are interesting opportunities waiting to be tapped for EC2. It may be interesting to look into those areas.
According to Vishal Sikka, CTO of SAP:

Cloud computing is suitable for smaller applications but not for large applications like SAP.

Adam Selipsky who represented Amazon agreed with that statement and said the current shape of Amazon EC2 & S3 is the first cut and is still in limited private beta. He further mentioned that Amazon’s prime focus is on stability of the platform and they haven’t added any major feature on EC2 and S3 in last 12 months.
On a question about competition for EC2, he joked, “There are rumors that the company on my left (referring to Google, as Pavni Diwanji of Google Apps was seated there) is working on something.” He went serious and said that educating developers to jump onto EC2 is the hardest part and he would love to have some competition so that they could spend millions of dollars in educating the customers.
On being asked whether Amazon is just utilizing the over capacity available in their data centers, Adam responded, “Amazon has invested around $2b for Amazon WebServices including EC2 and S3 and are fully committed.”
I took my turn from the audience and mentioned that using S3 as a natively mounted filesytem is a limitation on EC2 and asked about the oft-requested feature to support large databases on EC2. Adam quipped that he does not want to commit on a date but they are working on it. Cool.
On a side note: Adam and his team (couple of his colleagues in the audience) were pitching people to sign-up with their beta program at the venue but did not bring any candies for existing customers like me. Too bad! After the meeting I even sold the idea of using EC2 to a gentleman who was still kicking tires. Where’s my referral fee? 🙂

The sad demise of WSDL

Wednesday, June 22nd, 2005

WSDL is a core part of WebServices standard, but has become more of multi-headed monster. The problem — In order to be generic enough for a refrigerator to find and bind to a WebService advertised by a microwave, the WSDL specification has become incomprehensible and is now touching the 140-page mark.
Probably, the chair leaders and the participants forgot to read the charter. I quote, “Focus must be put on simplicity, modularity and decentralization.”
No wonder, alternatives (SSDL, SMEX-D, NSDL etc.) are springing up and Tim Bray (co-author of the original XML 1.0 spec.) is already calling it quits on WSDL.

WS-SPAGHETTI Watch: WS-Management

Tuesday, October 12th, 2004

Jorgen Thelin reports about WS-Management, a new spec. for managing Web Services.
A group of technology vendors that includes AMD, Dell, Intel, Microsoft and Sun Microsystems, last week published a new Web services specification designed to simplify network administration across a range of devices. Dubbed Web Services Management (WS-M), the spec describes how to use Web services as a remote management access protocol.
WS-M was originally known as WMX (Web services management extensions), and was first demonstrated at the WinHEC 2004 conference in Seattle. The spec could serve as a replacement for older standards, such as Simple Network Management Protocol (SNMP), according to the authoring companies.
What happens to WSDM (Web Services Distributed Management) Spec? IBM, & HP are backing WSDM.
How many more we need? Read the original post on WS-SPAGHETTI.

WS-SPAGHETTI: Uncontrolled proliferation of WebServices Specifications

Sunday, August 8th, 2004

WebServices were supposed to be simple:

  1. Do an HTTP GET request, pass some query parameters,
  2. Retrieve XML instead of the regular HTML.
  3. Process the XML and extract data.

One of the very early implementations of WebService I did, was just that. Send a GET request for news stories for a ticker symbol. Retrieve the RDF document with stories and other data. Massage retrieved data the way you want–cache it, format it, archive it. Straight-forward.
In real world, If the request happens to be more than just query parameters, do an HTTP POST of an XML document. Then SOAP comes into picture–a way to formalize the passing of parameters, generalization of target functions, abstraction of network end-points, transport and marshalling of values. SOAP was good, provided us a means of exposing the remote method calls. Then we had WSDL, a language for describing WebServices.
Then came the boom, much fuelled by rivalries between companies, and the consortium jump started by these companies. SOAP, itself has its own competitors in terms of the XML-RPC protocol.
Here is the reality–For every WS-XXX specification, claiming to enhance the security, reliability of WebServices, there is an equivalent XXX4WS already being proposed by a competing consortia formed by the rivals of the former.

  1. Messaging and Transaction Coordination BPEL4WS, BTP, WSCI, WS-CAF, WS-CDL, WSCL, WS-AtomicTransaction, WS-Coordination, WS-BusinessActivity, BPML, WSFL, XLANG, ebBPSS.
  2. Reliable Messaging ebMS, WS-ReliableMessaging, HTTPR, WS-Reliability
  3. WebServices Addressing WS-Eventing, WS-Addressing, WS-Routing, WS-Discovery

That’s not the definitive list, there are many other specifications, which I don’t know where to bucket, unless I pore through the specifications, use cases and relevance related to the base SOAP & WSDL specifications.
What we want is simplicity–WSDL to expose the service interface and their end-points, SOAP to exchange the payload and a protocol for doing 2-phase commit operations on the services. Bingo–95% of the applications using WebServices for SOA implementations would be covered. Rest of the 5% will customize anyway.
On the similar lines–Adam Bosworth’s latest entry.

BPEL: Composing WebServices

Friday, July 23rd, 2004

Business Process Execution Language (BPEL) is an XML-based standard for composing WebServices to create processes. In the stack of WebServices standards it sits on top of WSDL, SOAP and XML Schema. WSDL documents of a WebService defines the execution and behavior–parameters, types, returns, error conditions, invocation etc. BPEL interconnects two or more WSDLs. BPEL as a standard defines the notation and semantics of composing two or more individual services in order to create a process.
Why a standard for composing WebService? Why not write a program in Java, C# to integrate two WebServices ?
The answer is loose-coupling–the same reason why we have WSDL for fine-grained services. Its abstraction. The loose-coupling allows for run time typing and invocation from the WSDL to the fine-grained service. Same holds true for modelling the integration of services using BPEL. BPEL proposes the notations as to how the individual services could be executed.
On a different note–While BPEL is being developed under OASIS, parallel efforts are underway:

  • WSCI. Developed at W3C (Authored by HP, SUN, BEA, SAP, etc.)
  • WSCL. Submitted by HP to W3C
  • WSFL. Proposed by IBM (pdf)
  • BPML
  • .Hosted at (Members–BEA, IBM, Fujistu, SAP, etc.)

  • BPSS. Hosted at

Grid Adoption on the rise?

Thursday, July 15th, 2004

Read on if you believe the analysts…
Grid Computing Adoption Rises by 75% in Six Months; Huge Growth in Business Intelligence Mirrors Grid Computing Rise in Adoption.


Wednesday, July 7th, 2004

The Enterprise Grid Alliance was launched, with a strong focus on “Grid for the Enterprise”. Now, The GGF is focusing on the enterprise as well. The Twelfth Global Grid Forum has a plenary program with the theme of “Grids Deployed in the Enterprise”.
Now, It’s Grid Computing’s turn to go into war of words, standards, proposals for the same technology. Seen this before? Anybody?

One more Grid computing Consortium

Sunday, April 25th, 2004

At OracleWorld in Fall 2003 Oracle proposed a commercial grid consosrtium with an enterprise focus. Well, we already have GGF.
Why another one?
Quoted in the press–Chuck Rozwat, Oracle EVP for server technologies, told OracleWorld attendees that the company is “interested in forming a commercial Grid consortium so that, together with other members of the industry, we can define standards that make up the APIs and functions for the commercial Grid computing infrastructure.
The alliance was formally launched on 20th April, 2004.
On Board is:EMC, Fujitsu Siemens Computers, HP, Intel, NEC, Network Appliance, Oracle and Sun Microsystems. Other founding members include AMD, Ascential Software, Cassatt, Citrix, Data Synapse, Enigmatec, Force 10 Networks, Novell, Optena, Paremus and Topspin.

OASIS Web Services Security Specification Approved as an OASIS Standard

Friday, April 16th, 2004

The Web Services Security specification set includes: Web Services Security: SOAP Message Security 1.0 (WS-Security 2004), Web Services Security UsernameToken Profile 1.0, Web Services Security X.509 Certificate Token Profile, and two relevant XML Schemas. The WSS TC is also creating additional token profiles for use with the core SOAP Message Security 1.0 specification, including the Web Services Security: SAML Token Profile, now in an advanced state of preparation.
Read more at OASIS Web Security TC website