Solving Information Integration Challenges in a Service-Oriented Enterprise
As enterprises grow and evolve, they create and store their assets in a wide array of disparate systems and sources ranging from mainframes to relational databases, file systems to directories. However, in order for companies to realize the value of the information stored in these systems, they must integrate and connect the disparate silos of information in the enterprise. As such, today’s enterprises face an immediate challenge of connecting relevant systems in a manner that is flexible, cost effective, manageable, and reliable. Web Services and Service-Oriented Architectures (SOAs) offer compelling solutions for solving integration challenges in a standards-based, loosely coupled, business-oriented manner. However, Web Services address merely the interfaces between systems, applications, and data sources, and offers little, on its own, to solve information integration challenges. As a result, many users that have integration projects require access to data sources that are disparate and heterogeneous. Companies thus require a…

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ZapThinkTank 2003: Web Services and SOA Implementation Roadmap
Financial services and insurance firms today are struggling with the best way to implement IT infrastructures that enable business agility. Service-oriented architectures based on Web Services provide cost-effective approaches to achieving companies’ agility goals. This session provides companies of all sizes and industries an approach to implementing Service-oriented architectures in a way that provides return-on-investment (ROI) at each step along the path toward agile IT infrastructures. We will discuss the steps and phases by which these companies can move from today’s brittle infrastructures to loosely-coupled, coarse-grained, asynchronous SOAs. The session covers concepts in point-to-point Web Services implementations for integration, securing, managing, and adding process layers to these services, implementing registries and management for loose coupling, moving to asynchronous invocations for greater reliability, and concepts in virtualization, grid computing, and more. We’ll provide the big picture for SOA adoption as well as the details on how to actually go about…

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ZapThinkTank 2003: Web Services and SOA Drill-down for Financial Services and Insurance
In the second seminar we’ll focus on real implementation details, examples, and advice for financial services and insurance companies looking to get started with their SOA initiatives. We’ll talk about the network infrastructure, legacy enablement, and moving beyond simple applications of Web Services to getting started with SOA pilot projects. We’ll also cover working with professional services firms, including how to select one that can meet your needs, how to specify your requirements, and what to look for when selecting a consultant. Key roadblocks and challenges you will face in implementing Web Services and SOA projects, and ways to surmount those challenges. How to build acceptance for an SOA pilot project How to assemble an SOA project team How to build successful SOA projects by implementing key emerging best practices and techniques. How to select a consulting partner for your SOA initiative What are the critical components of SOA infrastructure…

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Whatever Happened to XML Schemas?
Early in the growth of XML as a data format, even before the widespread adoption of Web Services, one of the most popular and heated debates was on how best to represent the structure and syntax of data in an XML document. Commonly known as XML schemas, a wide range of proposals emerged for how to best indicate which elements were required in an XML document, as well as the nature, repetition, and hierarchy of those elements. The goal of these formats was simple: provide an easy way of defining the requirements of an XML document, and then validating those documents against those requirements so that two unrelated parties can reliably exchange and process XML documents. Most of the XML schema proposals hinged on the general assessment that the traditional way of detailing schema, the Document Type Definition (DTD), was too arcane, limiting, and cumbersome to use. After much…

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Turbo Charging Information Integration for Service-Oriented Enterprises
An integrated data infrastructure is key to Web-enable access to operational data. XML, Java, federated queries, transformation and other technologies all play a role in these strategic information management efforts, but there’s been no clear path for IT to follow. Until now! This presentation was from a free online seminar given by industry expert Ron Schmelzer, Analyst, ZapThink LLC, and Raining Data’s TigerLogic XML data management server team. The presentation shows how to learn how to take the pain out of enterprise information integration by rethinking the way you aggregate, store and manage data. This presentation will introduce you to you XML-enabled mid-tier operational data servers — the latest concept in information management that can powerfully impact the scalability and performance of enterprise data architectures when accessing enterprise data, in addition to lowering development and support costs for maintaining healthy infrastructures. You will learn how to cost-effectively use XML-based operational…

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ZapThink Recognizes Forward-Thinking Vendors as "ZapThought Leaders" of XML, Web Services, and Service Orientation
ZapThink Recognizes Forward-Thinking Vendors as “ZapThought Leaders” of XML, Web Services, and Service Orientation ZapThought Leadership program headlines major expansion of ZapThink’s services WALTHAM, MA, September 2, 2003 — Actional Corporation, Ascential Software (NASDAQ: ASCL), Digital Evolution, Flamenco Networks, Infravio, Netegrity (NASDAQ: NETE), Raining Data (NASDAQ: RDTA), Reactivity, Sonic Software, Swingtide, and Westbridge Technology are among the software vendors recognized as “ZapThought Leaders” by ZapThink LLC, the leading industry analyst firm with research focused on XML, Web Services, and Service-Oriented Architectures (SOAs). “To be recognized as a ZapThought Leader, a vendor must be dedicated to helping their customers understand how to use XML, Web Services and SOAs to meet their business needs,” said Jason Bloomberg, Senior Analyst, ZapThink. “We are pleased to recognize so many outstanding vendors as ZapThought Leaders, ” said Ron Schmelzer, Senior Analyst, ZapThink. “The fact that these vendors are committed to helping their…

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Semantic Integration: Loosely Coupling the Meaning of Data
ZapThink recently had a number of interesting conversations with vendors and end users representing a wide array of interests, implementations, and solution categories. Despite the differences in their approaches, they all expressed the same profound belief that it was “data” (the information we intend to understand and use), rather than “applications” (the systems that process that information) that are the lifeblood of any organization. In many ways, they are right – information forms the basic foundation and reason for being for IT. However, these two concepts – data and applications- are inextricably linked. Data by themselves are often inaccessible and unintelligible without the applications that process them, and applications serve no usable purpose without data. As such, as we continue to delve into the transformative role that Web Services and Service-Oriented Architectures (SOAs) are playing in the enterprise, the question of how the nature of data will evolve continues to…

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Asynchrony and Web Services
Communications between distributed systems fall into two basic categories: synchronous and asynchronous. Synchronous communications consist of round-trip messages in which the sender waits for a reply. Submitting a Web page form and waiting for a confirmation page is a familiar example of a synchronous operation. In contrast, with an asynchronous message, the sender can submit a request, and then go about its work. If a reply does come, then the original sender can pick it up when it wants. Email works asynchronously, for example. When two computers talk to each other, the exchange is often a synchronous form of communication known as a remote procedure call, or RPC. With an RPC, one computer actually executes a program on the other computer as if it were a local application. Now, many of today’s applications of Web Services are for RPCs, and Web Services are reasonably well suited for this…

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