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Web services management and the data center of the future

How does Web services management impact the data center of the future?
There are two aspects to Web services management: Management Of Web Services (MOWS) and Management Using Web Services (MUWS). As the service-oriented architecture (SOA) paradigm gains ground, more and more applications hosted in data centers (or otherwise) are Web services based and hence they need to be managed. MOWS includes monitoring/control, QoS/SLAs, security and lifecycle management of Web services.

MUWS on the other hand, is the application of SOA principles to the management domain in general. We all know the benefits of loosely coupled systems in distributed computing. Self description through WSDL and associated discovery capabilities, ability to abstract a wide range of backend technologies (J2EE, COM/.Net, CORBA, Mainframe, etc.,) and standards based protocol (SOAP) are making this technology attractive in abstracting business logic. These characteristics are also beneficial in abstracting management information and interactions. As business processes cross enterprise boundaries, manageability of these processes also needs to be distributed. This can be achieved through applications of SOA principles to management.

The following are some of the key applications of MUWS:
  • Management of virtualized resources in a data center (using GRID technologies or otherwise).
    • Web services are integral to the virtualization fabric. For example, GRID standards rely heavily of Web services and hence management of these Web services is also integral.
  • Ability to tie business priorities to underlying application services and physical data center resources.
    • This allows for resource optimization within the data center, by dynamically flexing resource allocation to match business priorities. To accomplish this, an effective integration of management information (model and data) across three layers is required. The three layers are Resources, Application Services and Business Processes. Existing and new management information from these three layers is encapsulated via a set of 'management Web services'. This allows for assessment of the target environment. The adaptive behavior is then achieved by monitoring business metrics/business level SLA's and triggering appropriate advice/actions. Automated actions involve orchestration of management actions via a Web services based command and control channel. This level of Enterprise Management Integration, through Web services, is comprhensive and goes beyond traditional Enterprise Application Integration. Together with the resource layer virtualization, it forms the basis for a new dynamic operating environment.
  • Ability to manage distributed business processes.
    • Appropriate management interfaces for various participants of a distributed business process, ensure that the entire business process is manageable. Many such processes are hosted in today's data centers and are based on Web services standards (e.g., BPEL, ebXML). Supply chain processes, b2b interactions are examples of such business processes. Data center management now needs to be extended to provide greater visibility to these processes and priorities. Lines of Business managers in charge of business processes would like to get a better handle on their business.

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