LAS VEGAS— The SCO Group Inc. wants a piece of the Web-services pie. To make the cut, its officials are working to build the same business case for Web services as established players such as Microsoft Corp. and IBM Corp.
There are three powerful forces combining to change the computing landscape—ubiquitous network connectivity; the mass adoption of communication standards; and the convergence of operating systems—Scott Lemon, chief architect for SCOs SCOx Web services initiative, said here on Tuesday morning
Lemon told attendees during his keynote speech on the second day of the SCO Forum 2003 event that operating systems provide a powerful level of abstraction beyond processors and hardware. “There has also been a massive consolidation of operating systems, with just a few dominant players now, from Windows to Unix and the Mac OS and Linux, both of which are variants of Unix,” he said.
Operating systems are also becoming increasingly homogenous, languages have become more cross-platform, and higher-level abstractions have emerged above the operating system.
“This allows for the creation of a new substrate that exists above the operating system and … where you can rapidly create applications. … SCOx is a foundation on which next-generation solutions will be built,” he said.
The SCOx Application Substrate (SAS) is a foundation for building next-generation business solutions as well as combining SCOs own Web services software components and products with partner technologies to create new capabilities for SCO Unix and other operating systems, Lemon said. SAS fully embraces Web services standards, Lemon said, and will provide a set of manual and automated tools to simplify the assembly of applications. It will also be completely interoperable with the other environments from Sun, IBM, Microsoft and other developers. “We really want to alter the way people are developing to our platform,” he said.
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Web Services and SCO
In his own SCO Forum address, Andy Nagle, product manager for SCOx, said this new Web services initiative will help customers more fully exploit Internet technologies and help them grow their business in new ways; it will also provide developers the tools they need.
Web services would also solve the problems of diverse IT infrastructures and the difficulty of adding new technologies to grow their business.
“There are four components to SCOx: SCOx Business Solutions for hosted horizontal and vertical applications; SCOx Enabled Partner Solutions, which will extend legacy applications to the Web and the integration of applications via Web services; SCOX Web services, which can be used to create composite applications tailored to individual customers; and the SCOx Application Substrate.
“SCOx will extend our platform, and we dont think there is anybody out there doing the level of integration that we are,” Nagle said.
Web services are important, since they allow applications to share data and invoke capabilities from other applications. Web services would ease partner-to-partner interaction, simplify application integration, and leverage existing application investments and creates new revenue streams, Nagle said.
Rajiv Gupta, the CTO of Confluent Software, gave an address titled, “Web Services: Promise and Peril.” He said the Web services market is already huge today, even though many analysts are saying the market would only come into its own in 2006.
“The integration market today is about $31 billion in size, and all of this is a target for Web services,” Gupta said. On the “promise” side of Web services are new channel opportunities, such as eBay and Amazon; new revenue opportunities; and the cost savings involved, all of which allow businesses to become more efficient.
Web services reduce integration costs by up to 10 times and lower the total cost of business while making applications available to a broader audience, Gupta said.
On the “peril” side are issues around deploying Web services, and the need to control how and who was connecting with and accessing the services offered. Standards are also continually evolving and changing, he said.
“The choice is yours. You can stay where you are or you can start to exploit this technology gradually. Web services are a little like a kitchen knife: very useful, but you have to be careful when using it,” he concluded.