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Survey: More enterprises exposing Web services to Net

A survey of 273 Global 1000 companies by Westbridge Technologies indicates that more companies are either using Web services in production or are planning to in the next 12 months.

More enterprises are exposing their Web services to the Internet as companies continue to expand their use of the technology in production environments.

Of 273 Global 1000 companies surveyed recently by Westbridge Technology, 37% are currently using Web services in production, and 26% plan either to deploy a Web service within six months or to complete a proof of concept. Westbridge is a Web services management and XML firewall provider based in Mountain View, Calif.

Of those using Web services, 70% are using them internally, while 48% are exposing them to the Internet for business-to-business transactions.

"There's always a lot of talk about exposing Web services to the Internet, but we found that a lot of companies are already doing that," said Andy Yang, senior director of marketing for Westbridge. "That's a surprising finding."

Yang attributes the surge to stronger security standards and pressure from the market.

"A lot of companies see the value of these B2B connections, which come at a cheaper price and with fewer resources," Yang said. "That is forcing businesses to look outside the firewall to take advantage of these tools."

Enterprises responding to the survey cite support for service-oriented architecture as the top justification for using Web services. However, there is no particular usage pattern for Web services, Yang said.

"There's no magic bullet for Web services. Companies are using them for a lot of purposes," Yang said.

Thirty percent said they plan to use Web services for SOA, while 29% plan to use them for component-based development and 28% said they would use them for business-to-business traffic. Enterprise application integration, straight-through processing and revenue generation were other reasons given for using Web services.

Service-oriented architecture (SOA), meanwhile, has become a buzzword that apparently is gaining traction. Forty-three percent of respondents said their enterprises are moving toward SOA, while only 14% said they definitely were not.

"Many organizations are moving to a services oriented architecture," Yang said. "A lot of the benefits of Web services can be realized through a services oriented architecture."

.NET and Java continue to dominate Web services development; 43% of XML traffic is generated by .NET and 35% by Java.

As for standards, security specs like WS-Security and SAML are not pervasive yet, the survey indicates. The leading standard among those who responded was XML Encryption (17%), followed by UDDI (15%), WS-Security (10%) and XML Signature (8%). SAML use is at 4% and XACML at 2%.

As for developments in the next 12 months, respondents said they are going to examine XML firewalls, Web services management tools, workflow tools and Web services testing tools.

"Our survey yielded some very encouraging results, validating our long-standing [belief] that a number of very specific management and security features are paramount to organizations' deploying Web services," said Tom Ryan, CEO of Westbridge Technology, in a statement.

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