Can Mashups as a Service reach critical MaaS?

Can Mashups as a Service reach critical MaaS?

Summary: The convergence between Web 2.0 mashups and SOA is arriving, but are enterprises ready?

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TOPICS: Enterprise 2.0
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Will the combined hurricane forces of Web 2.0 mashups and SOA rip away the chains of tyrannical software vendors? And, are enterprises ready to take the plunge into the Web 2.0 and SOA stew?

Last week, fellow ZDNet blogger and mashup maven David Berlind posted this interesting perspective on the convergence of service-oriented architecture and the mashup phenomenon.

In mashups, applications are unleashed and integrated in new and interesting ways with other types of applications. That's also the guiding philosophy in SOA, in which applications are broken down into granularized service components that can be mixed and matched with other services as business needs demand. And, theoretically, could be assembled on the fly by the business folks, versus sending work orders to the IT department. And, theoretically, such services can come from outside the walls of the enterprise.

Dion Hinchcliffe, one of the leading proponents of the Web 2.0-SOA convergence, is also cited in David's piece. Dion predicts that 80 percent of enterprise applications will eventually be provided by outside services, and puts it this way in a recent post:

"People providing software over the Internet are starting to understand the law of unintended uses. Great Web sites... open up their functionality and data to anyone who wants to use their services as their own. This allows people to reuse, and re-reuse a thousand times over, another service's functionality in their own software for whatever reasons they want, in ways that couldn't be predicted. The future of software is going to be combining the services in the global service landscape into new, innovative applications. Writing software from scratch will continue to go away because it's just too easy to wire things together now.

Dion has also speculated that Web 2.0 may, for all intents and purposes, be a global-scale SOA that is quickly evolving. "Low barriers to reuse, frictionless integration, widespread reuse -- these are the mantras of Web 2.0," he said.  These are also  the mantras to SOA.

So, we'll call this trend 'Mashups as a Service' (MaaS). But, alas, there are issues.

David points out, for example, that all the new and innovative services created in the mashup blender have the potential to run amok, with few guarantees as to their uptime, security, or performance.

This is not music to the ears of enterprises, which prefer to keep tight and accountable control of resources. Currently, most SOA efforts are internal, and few organizations have achieved what can be considered fully functioning SOAs anyway. Enterprises are still building their first generation of Web services, and are still getting their arms around the issues of governance, versioning, orchestration, reducing spaghetti networks, security, and service-level agreements for SOA components. 

Once these issues are addressed -- and they will be, one by one -- externally published services may increasingly become vital parts of the enterprise. As I've pointed out in previous posts, enterprises large and small are evolving into loosely coupled businesses in their own right. But the confidence level is not quite there yet. Witness the "public" UDDI registries that recently were shut down, which pointed to a lot of outdated or abandoned services. 

In his blog post, David points out that end-users from the banking and government sectors have questions about "the management of user IDs across domains (when a mashup involves multiple APIs each of which relies on its own identity management technology) as well as the reliability of public components. ...enterprise architects want to know what Google and Yahoo are doing to ensure the uptime of the relevant APIs." David notes that the latter concern is a particularly relevant question given the outages being suffered by Salesforce.com.

There's no doubt that there will be continuing growth among enterprises relying on external services as part of a Web 2.0 ecosphere. But each enterprise will also continue to function as its own self-contained ecosphere of services as well. Business users and developers will be able to assemble applications either from their own repositories, or look to on-demand services available from an outside vendor or partner.  When that happens, that will be the mother of all mashups.

Topic: Enterprise 2.0

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7 comments
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  • Enterprises are never ready for anything

    I know of too many large companies hat have Windows 95 running on users' desktop machines. I know of too many large companies running ancient versions of Unix. I know of too many companies with COBOL running large chunks of their business. What makes you think these companies are going to be doing anything with mashups? Once again, a ZDNet writer has been blinded by the dazzling light of technology, while ignoring the dull flourescents of reality.

    J.Ja
    Justin James
    • 20-60-20

      Yes, I even know of a company still running its business on DOS computers. (And yes, making money.) There tends to be a forward-looking group of enterprises that will look at new ways to deploy solutions, perhaps 20%, and another 20% that tend to lag, and are probably a decade behind the times. Then, there's that great middle that are willing to try some new things here and there, but prefer to wait and see how a technology plays out. They also have plenty of legacy assets in their portfolios, since these systems jump keep on running.
      joemckendrick
    • 20-60-20

      Yes, I even know of a company still running its business on DOS computers. (And yes, making money.) There tends to be a forward-looking group of enterprises that will look at new ways to deploy solutions, perhaps 20%, and another 20% that tend to lag, and are probably a decade behind the times. Then, there's that great middle that are willing to try some new things here and there, but prefer to wait and see how a technology plays out. They also have plenty of legacy assets in their portfolios, since these systems just keep on running.
      joemckendrick
  • Web 2.0: Death of Big Corp

    I don't think the effect on business has really started to sink in yet.

    Company size is really a function of how easy it is to coordinate activity between departments within a company as opposed to between the company and suppliers.

    The Lan made it possible to build big business because it was easy to coordinate internally

    As Web 2.0 will make it just as easy to coordinate externally. But here is the rub. It is easy to change an external supplier for a different/ better one. It is very very hard to change an internal department.

    Web2.0 gives competitive advantage to the specialised company, big corp becomes a liability.
    The innovators dilemma write large.

    If you are interested here is a presentation I gave on the business side of web2.0 a couple of weeks ago
    http://www.talis.com/resources/TRD4_the_next_wave.pps
    justinleavesley
    • Death of big corp

      Agreed. Mash-ups mean that individuals will be able to go best of breed not best of suite - look at Yahoo widgets. This all favours a model of small specialised companies or even individuals!
      james.love9
  • Enterprises want to own software, not services

    Besides the issues of version control hell with all of these "mashups", there is the problem that most big companies want to "own" something, especially if it gives them a competitive advantage.

    So what is there to own in a mashup, especially if done in an ecosystem like SalesForce? Every org will be able to mash-up quickly and match the other guy.

    I still do not see the mash-up/Web 2.0 market really providing what the business marketplace needs: solutions that give them an advantage, unless you don't consider technology to be a part of your competitive advantage.

    Bleeding-edge techies and the middle-level managers who think they don't need the techies are the only ones getting real excited about this right now. I think that fervor will end soon.
    Paul C.
  • Adding Web 2.0 Pixie Dust Doesn't Eliminate The Need For Management

    Enterprises demand reliable services. Simply adding the magic Web 2.0 pixie dust won't make that need go away.

    The MaaS vendors that get this and provide real SLAs and service guarantees will be the ones that win the battle for the enterprise.

    Some of my company's customers use our application performance management tools to provide service-level reports to Web services customers, which they find extremely helpful as a sales tool.
    honwong