Dimension Data reveals Web services play

Systems integrator Dimension Data Holdings has developed a framework for building, deploying, and managing Web services that it hopes will help fuel adoption of the standards-based application model.

Billed as a "turnkey" solution, Dimension Data's pre-configured platform comprises both hardware and software that is designed to get enterprises moving on Web services development, said Craig Miller, CTO of Dimension Data's North American division, in Reston, Va.

"There's a barrier to entry for customers trying to do Web services themselves," said Miller. "What we did is to develop a framework to deploy in our services engagements, so that customers have the toolkit and processes around them to getting started."

The framework will also be used internally by Data Dimension to develop Web services-based applications that can in turn be introduced into its customer sites, Miller said.

Miller said the package features "strict adherence" to open standards and componentization and emphasizes real-time management of Web services.

"We think it's an evolution in the way we do integration," said Miller, who predicted that over time conventional EAI platforms from vendors such as webMethods Inc., Tibco Software Inc., and SeeBeyond Technology Corp. will morph into Web services-based frameworks.

For systems integrators, coming up with their own story to tell around Web services is a necessity as acceptance of the open standards interfaces will simplify basic application integration and erode the low-level coding work that historically been bread and butter for integrators, according to many industry analysts.

Integrators such as Electronic Data Systems Corp., Accenture Ltd., and IBM Corp.'s Global Services unit are already looking to move up the applications stack with value-added services such as business process management. They'll have to do the same with their Web services offerings, industry observers predict.

Fully bundled, Dimension Data's platform consists of a single server; a commercial application platform software that features a directory, application server, Web server and a database server; and a sample Web services application that can be used as a learning tool.

The cornerstone Web Services Framework piece of the solution sports four utility services for security, monitoring, logging and notification, which can be built into the development process, Miller said.

The pieces of the platform are available separately, Miller added.

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