IBM Eyes Hosted Web Services

Big Blue is working on a solution to help enterprises bill for Web services.

Signaling an increasing maturity of Web services, IBM is working on a WebSphere-based platform for hosting Web services. Meanwhile, other players, including Microsoft Corp. and Computer Associates International Inc., continue to line up to prepare customers and implementers for the onslaught of Web services.

IBM, of Armonk, N.Y., is putting its XML and Web services standards and development tools behind an internal project, dubbed Project Allegro, that will result in a hosted Web services offering, according to Bob Sutor, director of e-business standards strategy at IBM. The service will be available next year under the WebSphere name and will feature technology from IBMs Tivoli systems management and security software, as well as WebSphere commerce, portal and application server technology, Sutor said in an interview with eWEEK Friday.

"We showed a very early version of this last January under what we called the Web services hosting technology," Sutor said. "That was on alphaworks [an IBM software development site]. We plan for what we call Allegro to be available on developerworks. And that will be some type of limited download—a pre-product version of this that should be available by the end of the year. Next year this will be available as something branded under the WebSphere name."

Sutor said the solution essentially will be a method of helping enterprises bill for Web services.

"There are going to be situations where I need to deploy a Web service, where I need to make sure only the right people access the Web service," he said. "Once I deploy this thing, Im going to have to monitor how well it behaves performance-wise. Im going to need to meter the use of this Web service—how many times users invoke it and for how long they invoke it. Once I have this info Im going to have to combine it with some form of electronic contract that spells out how it is Im supposed to bill you for it."