NEW ORLEANS—The future of XML-based Web services is one of high security and high availability, according to Microsoft Corp. executives.
Speaking to developers at its TechEd 2002 conference here on Thursday, Paul Flessner, senior vice president of .Net Enterprise Servers, and Pat Helland, a senior architect in the Redmond, Wash., companys enterprise server division, said there were three main areas of computing going forward: application models, unified data and security, or what Microsoft calls Trustworthy Computing.
Speaking of application models, Helland referred to concepts known as "fiefdoms" and "emissaries," which essentially say users should expose as much data as they need to and no more. A fiefdom is an independent service that trusts nothing from outside and must get verification for any communication. Emissaries display data and prepare requests for fiefdoms. They only use read-only and per-user data, and the amount of access is a sliding scale.
Using XML as the unifying technology, Microsoft envisions service centers in the future that will house loads of redundant data for users, delivering availability, scalability and reliability, Helland said.
"There will be giant data centers and little data centers all over the network capable of achieving high availability," he said.
Flessner and Helland said the evolution of XML technology would boost productivity, but that standards alone will not be enough. Innovation is key, Flessner said.
He said technologies such as enterprise application integration have been "painful" ways of integrating applications and systems. In that vein, the first key Web services will be "wrappers" that take existing applications and wrap them with a layer of XML Web services.
In addition, more must be done to integrate structured and unstructured data, so Microsoft made its unified data strategy a firm initiative, even moving to unify the programming model across storage systems with support for XML Web services in SQL Server 2000 and Exchange 2000 Server.
"Once its in structured data storage, software can be built to help you manage your information," said Helland.
In the future, as hardware costs continue to drop and broadband capabilities increase, service centers would be housed with racks and racks of "bricks," or pluggable systems, that store data, he said. The centers will be where Web services and their databases reside and will be "designed for massive scale-out and geographic distribution," Helland said. "This is about technology, not a business model."