Systems integrator Dimension Data has developed a bundled solution for companies wishing to build, deploy and manage Web services.
The US office of the large integrator has made available a "turnkey" solution -- consisting of all the hardware and software a customer would need for Web services development.
But in Australia, the offering will be slightly different. According to Peter Menadue, national business manager for information portals and e-business at Dimension Data Australia, offering a complete "Web services in a box" solution may clash with the IT infrastructure preferences of several customers.
"Many enterprise customers have defined standard hardware configurations they do not want to stray from," he said. "We don't ever want to be outside of their reach."
Subsequently, it is most likely that Australian customers will only be offered the bundled software components, due for local release in early 2003. The hardware purchase is likely to be left to the discretion of the customer.
The software component of the solution includes an application development platform, a directory server, an application server, a Web server, a database server, and a sample Web services application that can be used as a learning tool.
Dimension Data has also developed a Web Services Framework of its own, sporting utility services for security, monitoring, logging and notification, which can be built into the development process. This framework was built internally to ease deployments for Dimension Data's own Web services development, but the company now feels it is an important value-add for customers.
"We will be providing customers with a tangible way to get started on Web services," Menadue said.
The software solution will be based on Microsoft's .Net Framework. Thus the application development platform is bound to be a version of Microsoft's Visual Studio .Net, the database server is likely to be SQL-based, and so on.
Menadue said Dimension Data is also developing an equivalent "Web services in a box" bundle for the competing Java platform, but it would not be ready until mid-2003.
"We have started with .Net because Microsoft has stirred up a lot of interest locally," Menadue said. "They have built mind-space among users and have a clear roadmap around Web services. That path is also there for Java, but it is not as well-defined."
Menadue said Dimension Data has been engaging in several "seeding activities" for Web services deployment, and has several pilots in place with customers. "There is a lot of noise out there about Web services," he said. "People are doing some of it, but this is the first time a systems integrator is making it a reality for its customers."