Web Services Management: For Shared Apps, a Private Eye

By Brian P. Watson  |  Posted 2006-10-06 Email Print this article Print
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

Something's wrong with your Web services—and you probably don't know it yet. That's what can happen when businesses expose applications without deploying tools to manage and monitor their performance.

Something's wrong with your Web services—and you probably don't know it yet. That's what can happen when businesses expose applications without deploying tools to manage and monitor their performance.

Commonly mentioned in the same breath as service-oriented architecture, Web services, simply put, are interoperable software applications extended over a network. Whether they're using Web services to link accounting systems or create new customer service capabilities, users agree that the architecture—and aligning information technology with business processes—can deliver benefits like reduced development times and personnel hours.

After an 18-month state electrical energy crisis ended in September 2001, the California Independent System Operator, or ISO, a non-governmental public entity that manages electrical flow along the Golden State's power grid, faced a crisis of its own.

A new tariff changed the way energy was bid for and provided, meaning the ISO had to revamp three-quarters of its business rules and market applications, such as programs that created auctions for power provision and set prices for electrical service, according to senior application architect Doug Walker.

Walker and Walt Johnson, the ISO's principal for technology strategies, agreed that the regulator needed full visibility into the market at all times. They built a service-oriented architecture in 2003 to set up for Web services that would be used for messages small (like those that tell a generator to ramp up production) or large (like one that updates the flow on the entire grid).

They chose Actional's SOAPstation, a software tool that controls message flows across Web services and governs their security and performance, to test and monitor activity across their services. Even though the ISO is still testing some of its 150 services, Walker says his team can set up four monitoring end-points on each service in a matter of minutes with SOAPstation.

Those are powerful results, according to Walker—before going with Actional, setting up similar testing and governance capabilities, in Walker's words, went something like this: "Take our 150 services, multiply by four [end-points], and then each one of those might take an hour to set up and test."



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Associate Editor

Brian joined Baseline in March 2006. In addition to previous stints at Inter@ctive Week and The Net Economy, he's written for The News-Press in Fort Myers, Fla., as well as The Sunday Tribune in Dublin, Ireland. Brian has a B.A. from Bucknell University and a master's degree from Northwestern University's Medill School of Journalism.

 
 
 
 
 
 

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