The performance of SOAP requests varies depending on the SOAP implementation you use. The factor that has the most impact on SOAP performance is XML parsing. There are three common ways to parse XML: DOM, SAX, and pull parsing. DOM is extremely resource-intensive and performance gets significantly worse as the size of the message gets larger. SAX is quite a bit faster than DOM. Pull parsing is the fastest, assuming that you have a priori knowledge of the schema of the message (i.e., a WSDL description). The other key factor that can affect SOAP performance is resource management. I can't speak for the other SOAP implementors, but at Systinet we've focused a lot of attention on performance, and the next release of WASP for Java (beta release scheduled to go out later this month) now runs faster than RMI, which makes it pretty comparable to ODBC performance.
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