Web services management benefits from Flamenco’s VAN roots
WSM’s self-service portal puts Web service management power in users’ hands
End points are only required on one end of the connection, but when used on both, they provide the bonus of a secure, reliable transport protocol that supports guaranteed once-only message delivery, stream compression, and synchronous and asynchronous communication. End points can be federated and support message routing, too.
In addition to monitoring end points and transactions, the portal is the center for establishing relationships with other parties, including members of the network as well as complete outsiders who are invited in.
Once a relationship is established and end points configured, the parties involved can easily set up as many connections as needed for various services or options. Security is determined on a connection-by-connection basis: no security; whole message security, where the proxies exchange messages via an encrypted channel; or WS-Security for the entire exchange. Each connection can set up specific alerting arrangements for transaction failures.
Users view status information for all their end points and the partner connections to those end points through the portal. Drilling down into the end point information brings up graphs of the transaction activity, including detailed reports for each transaction. The reporting tab generates reports on transactions for a given time period. The reporting tool covers the basics, but unfortunately doesn’t offer sophisticated comparison or graphing capabilities.
Flexibility in Its Blood
WSM is easy to use. The Web-based interface presents the service metaphor clearly. Creating a Web services network is intuitive and requires minimal effort if you have a basic familiarity with Web services. Automatic creation of customized end points for client download makes connecting from the client side straightforward and reduces administrator burden considerably.
A cursory review of WSM’s features and architecture wouldn’t distinguish it greatly from a number of other WSI products. But WSM’s heritage as a VAN means it’s got flexibility in its blood. This will come in especially handy for enterprises that expect significant future growth and want their Web services to expand with demand. National Student Clearinghouse (NSC), for example, used WSM to create a Web services interface to its system for verifying student records. NSC currently services thousands of higher education institutions, but envisions selling verification services to HR departments across the country, a market that could eventually reach the hundreds of thousands.
WSM’s self-provisioning features, combined with users’ ability to set up their own relationships and manage and monitor connections within those relationships, sets WSM apart. It is a natural choice for companies that hope to offer Web services to thousands of partners.