Vendors Prep for XML Growth
The report, "Service Delivery and XML: The Path to Carrier SOA," outlines the strengthening trend of using XML in carrier networks and gives an overview of some vendors' XML offerings.
An SOA is built of reusable Web services that run enterprise operations -- a more modular approach to enterprise software, you might say. XML is being used to tie SOAs together at the application layer -- making sure applications get the right level of security and the proper type of connectivity, for instance.
"XML networking enables the network to understand, in finer-grained, content-level detail, the meaning of application-to-application communications," Services Software Insider analyst Caroline Chappell writes in the report.
In this way, XML can handle functions that used to be the purview of enterprise middleware, or of the applications themselves. And this opens the possibility of putting these operations under the control of the carrier network, rather than the enterprise network.
Equipment vendors are hip to the idea. Cisco Systems Inc. (Nasdaq: CSCO) is chasing that angle with its application-oriented network (AON) concept, launched last year. Meanwhile, XML has become a hot enough area to generate some acquisitions, with Intel Corp. (Nasdaq: INTC) grabbing XML startup Sarvega last August and IBM Corp. (NYSE: IBM) scooping up DataPower in October. (See Cisco Speaks Applications, Intel Absorbs XML Startup, and IBM Plugs Into DataPower.)
For vendors, the XML game is just starting. Some players like DataPower have been around for a while, but most XML products are new, and many of them weren't originally meant for carriers, Chappell notes. This means the field is open for smaller players -- and for new ones yet to come -- despite the big noises being made by giants like Cisco and IBM.
Carriers, meanwhile, are still in the exploratory stage of deciding how the XML trend could turn into new business for them. Since the carrier network will transport all this XML traffic between applications, it would seem natural for carriers to perform some of these XML duties in their own networks. (See XML Networking's Carrier Appeal.) Still, as Chappell outlines in the report, it's debatable just how seriously carriers are pursuing hosted XML services.
The report, "Services Delivery and XML," includes short profiles of Cisco, IBM, Intel, Forum Systems Inc. , Layer 7 Technologies Inc. , Reactivity Inc. , and Solace Systems Inc.
— Craig Matsumoto, Senior Editor, Light Reading