Web Services in the Enterprise (Frank Kenney): Not about having services but about controlling them. Theme emerging from conference so far: important thing is to ensure that what is provisioned is supported. Show customers (partners, end users) that management layer is in place. Kenney discusses ESBs, APS and middleware, as well as vendor strategy, in considering the management of web services. (Wonder what Radovan Janecek at Systinet would say about the ESB point.)
I’m going to diverge from Frank’s talk for a second and bring it back into an IT Services Management framework. ITIL would say that there are several processes that connect to a hypothetical web service: service level management, configuration management, and availability management are key. Unfortunately a lot of ITIL implementations begin with a focus on incident/inquiry management and (if you’re lucky) problem and change management. This is good, but it’s still a reactive situation. If you’re managing proactively, you’re monitoring your services so that you can actively gauge when you’re meeting your service levels, not reacting when someone tells you you’re out of compliance, at which point it’s too late.
The issue is that there are tradeoffs in how you monitor the services. Frank covers that, but also has some interesting insights about the market as a whole: considering 12 major vendors in the market, there’s less than $50 million in 2004 revenue across all of them and fewer than 100 production customers. Also consider that many of the firms are on their second or third rounds of funding, and consider their exit strategy — likely acquisitions — before you buy.