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SOS for SOAs

The deployment of service-oriented architectures (SOAs) has sparked a Web services revolution. Recent surveys indicate that nearly 90 percent of enterprises will employ Web services within the next year, and two-thirds will use them in a significant way.

Web services create reusable, cross-platform, software modules, which expedite the cost-effective development and rollout of new applications and the sharing of information between applications. However, that sharing comes at a cost to the wide area network (WAN).

To ensure continuous operation of mission-critical applications, more bandwidth and higher network performance must be provided to support Web services and their related remote data replication traffic.

In fact, the proliferation of Web services within enterprises will have three major impacts on WANs:

1. Inter-site traffic volume will grow exponentially.

Today, applications are normally executed within a single location. When Web services are used, code execution is distributed at the location of the particular Web service program or applet typically among multiple sites, adding more WAN traffic. And it’s not just the number of packets traversing sites, but the size of those packets. A key Web services standard is eXtensible Markup Language (XML), which is a particularly inefficient protocol, with some estimating that it requires two to 100 times more bits than non-XML binary transfers.

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