To address these issues, Verizon built IT Workbench, an infrastructure layer that houses the Web services directory but also adds management capabilities. For example, if one development team built an address-validation service that it wanted to expose to other applications, it could download a lightweight agent onto its server that would register the Web service and its capacity and define an SLA inside IT Workbench.
After services have been registered, developers can go to the central directory to find ones with their specific requirements. For example, they can search for a service with the capacity to support 100,000 transactions per day with less than a two-second response time and a commitment to be available 99.8 percent of the time from 8 a.m. to 12 p.m. Accounting and billing are also in place, so the service provider can charge for usage -- another incentive to use SOA.
"It started with onesies and twosies," Zafar says. "But when it hit 10,000 transactions per month, [SOA] suddenly took off with exponential growth. Now it's used in almost 10 million transactions per day."
What's more, any reluctance to expose code has virtually disappeared. According to Zafar, developers are now competing to get others to use their services, as a way of gaining recognition within the company. The most-used services are listed on the IT Workbench portal with the author's name and photo.
"Before, people would say, 'This is my code, use your own,' " Zafar says. "Now they're reaching out to each other over the weekends, saying, 'Why don't you use this service I built,' so they can be more popular on the IT Workbench portal. In fact," he adds, "developers are trying to push applications as Web services that are not suitable because they have few or no logical consumers. It's an interesting social phenomenon that I never anticipated."