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IDC takes the gloss off Web services

IDC, in its considerable wisdom, has taken upon itself the role of straight talker and there are few as well-equipped for such a job. It has turned its sights on the over-puffed Web services market which, it says, is a long way from delivering real benefits in the form of applications on tap.

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IDC takes the gloss off Web services
Following on from our denouncement of Web services a week ago, IDC have also seen the light. IDC, in its considerable wisdom, has this week taken upon itself the role of straight talker and, having built its reputation on statistical and trend analysis, there are few as well equipped for such a job. Interestingly this week it has turned its sights on the over-puffed Web services market which, it says, is a long way from delivering real benefits in the form of applications on tap.

There is no dispute that the basic Web services on offer today can offer value. But these are undoubtedly limited by the multitude of problems; security and vendor b******t being the biggest ones. This is further hindered by the reclassification of projects - legacy applications integration for instance is nowadays considered a Web services project.

However, everybody know that the real value of Web services comes from the ability to deliver software as a service. And that is where IDC takes the stage. "Most of the Web services vision is just pure speculation, with no real consideration of what is achievable and it will cost to actually build out the vision for full use on the open Internet," says Rikki Kirzner an IDC research director.

Worryingly, he's absolutely right. Depending on who you talk to, and who you believe, Web services should provide a seamless, secure infrastructure for all kinds of services that can be deployed to anybody that you want to deploy them to. Taking that back a step that means Web services are going to be built around software and deployed on a rules-basis. However, as IDC rightly notes, the tech industry is currently in no position to deliver this kind of offering.

For starters, true Web services deployments are going to require the deployment of software components that can be rehashed and integrated into a multitude of front-ends across a multitude of businesses. That simply isn't possible right now, not cost effectively anyway. IDC notes that major technology hurdles stand in the way of such deployments before anyone could consider rolling out software components from third parties.

Similarly, how many businesses today would be prepared to even consider this route given the way that organizations currently view their software, intellectual property and development assets? Not many is the simple answer. And that's before you even start delving into the current, clear problems with a lack of standards, end to end security and the marketing baloney touted by the vendors. As IDC says, Web services in their true, and much hyped form, will not be available for at least ten years. You've been warned.

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