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Leverage Control Loops and Intelligence for Web-based Services

Many large-scale IT applications are mission critical and cannot afford to be subject to serious defects, poor performance, or considerable downtime. Getting automated data about real-time performance issues on these applications can help developers optimize applications without blowing the timeline. Learn how to build and leverage intelligent feedback and end-to-end control into the Web services development lifecycle.

revious articles in this series discussed ways of making development of Web services more efficient and the applications themselves highly manageable once deployed. But there is more that developers can do to facilitate a successful migration and commitment to the Web services business model.

Building and leveraging intelligent feedback and control mechanisms can help create an end-to-end view of the Web services development and management lifecycle. This means incorporating processes that provide timely indicators about the operation and performance of the Web services. A hallmark of this approach is that it also enables IT administrators to integrate business-performance analysis into the deployment process. By doing so, developers can make a significant contribution to the ongoing alignment of IT operations with business goals.

Calling on a New Breed of IT Developer
Web services are a standardized technology for building applications that connect with internal and external users. Still, it remains a serious challenge for developers to deliver cost-effective, efficient services that make internal users and external partners highly productive, and which please customers. Network availability and access, security, performance, and functionality are prominent design concerns. It is simply not enough to design secure, highly available services. Over time, services will have to be adapted to reflect changing business requirements and goals.

For example, consider a company that intends to provide detailed product information, including pricing data (which changes based on market fluctuations) vendor supplies, and commodity prices. The Web service must be made to cope with multiple-vendor Web sites, handle network outages, and respond to the user in a timely manner even when certain components are sluggish or unavailable.

This application requires a high degree of resiliency, such that every possible error and performance bottleneck is managed, and that is a very difficult design challenge. To succeed, development and deployment personnel need to work closely together to understand manageability issues. Constraints on staff and budgets can make this difficult, but a little applied creativity makes it possible to test and manage deployed applications even as you create new services, or extend and enhance existing applications.

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