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An End to Web Services Confusion on the Horizon



Web services has a confusing set of overlapping management standards, most prominently WSDM and WS-Management. Efforts are under way to reduce the overlap between these standards.

In March, HP, IBM, Intel and Microsoft released a white paper that describes their efforts to simplify the standards by which Web services are managed. The DMTF and OASIS, organizations to which these vendors belong, are responsible for the WS-Management and WSDM standards, respectively, but neither standards organization is involved in the vendors' effort.

It is highly likely that this work will result in better and simpler standards, improving future Web services management products. The timing for the combined standard and resulting products is not known, but the cooperative efforts of these industry heavyweights and their close working relationship with standards bodies bodes well for the success of the standards process.

Web services are notoriously complex. Toss in the overlap between the two big management standards governing them, and the confusion grows.

Cooperation among some industry heavyweights, however, promises to go a long way toward simplifying the next generation of Web services management standards. Hewlett-Packard, IBM, Intel and Microsoft are attempting to smooth out the conflicts between OASIS' (Organization for the Advancement of Structured Information Standards) WSDM (Web Services Distributed Management) and DMTF's (Distributed Management Task Force) WS-Management, by working to combine these standards. Responding to customers' appeals for simplification, the four vendors released a joint white paper in March that calls for a single interoperable standard.

But the path to this new world order for Web services management won't be trouble-free: The DMTF and OASIS have recently released new versions of the standards to be converged, and until a single standard is approved, these versions must be supported by the four vendors. In addition, there are six lesser-known standards--WS-Transfer, WS-Enumeration, WS-Eventing, WS-MetadataExchange, WS-ResourceFramework and WS-Notification--that must be covered by the future converged one.

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