Beyond the big walled gardens...

Summary:Ok, ok, Business Process Execution Language (BPEL) may have "issues," asmy skeptical co-blogger has just pointed out. It mayeven be quite a while before it enables business analysts to simply draw up new IT-enabled business processes on the fly with cool visual tools.

Ok, ok, Business Process Execution Language (BPEL) may have "issues," asmy skeptical co-blogger has just pointed out. It mayeven be quite a while before it enables business analysts to simply draw up new IT-enabled business processes on the fly with cool visual tools.

But we may be taking important steps in that direction nevertheless.As Cape Clear CEO Annrai O'Toole argues in CRN, the SOA-Web services movement has gathered clear momentum as new products emerge based on advances in transport and interoperability as well asreliable messaging, better security and BPEL. "BPEL is a big catalyst for everything else that's going on," he contends. "With BPEL, you get the ability to create long-running transactions, so you can assemble services to create a bigger services chunk to expose. That's where the action is now: aggregating Web services."

He doesn't think we are merely experiencing an incremental, evolutionary change. "I would argue that it's a revolution in terms of the impact this stuff will ultimately have on the software business," O'Toolesays.

That could be bad news for integration tool vendors: "They either get on the BPEL boat or they get cannibalized. It's kind of one of those laws of nature. You can't have hundreds of tiny vendors all doing workflow in slightly different ways. We see a big shakeout coming."

The "revolution" probably won't be welcomed by bigpackaged application vendors either:"All those kinds of vendors have retained their franchise because they've had a walled-in garden. Web services are breaking down many of those walls. The ability to customize those business processes is not locked up inside the wall. I think customers are interested in BPEL because it gives them back a bit of agility. For a long time to come, we're still going to have those big walled gardens but they'll be wrapped up and insulated. More of the customization and things that people want to get done quickly will get done outside the wall. It's not about building core technology or functionality, it's about the ability to customize very quickly."

Topics: Enterprise Software

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