Tuesday, January 08, 2008

Service Oriented Architecture

Coming challenges

This year technologies took an important role improving business efficiency and also bringing innovations to society. Here are some highlights that had an impact and which are likely to offer new opportunities in the coming year.

Published on December 25, 2007

Service Oriented Architecture

This is a business-centric IT architectural approach that supports integrating business as linked, repeatable tasks or services.

Many software vendors this year put more focus on this technology as the way for software development in the future.

It helps users build composite applications that draw upon functionality from multiple sources within and beyond the enterprise to support horizontal business processes.

The key is independent services with defined interfaces that can be called on to perform their tasks in a standard way, without the service having foreknowledge of the calling application and without the application having or needing knowledge of how the service actually performs its tasks. It's an evolution of distributed computing and modular programming.

It can therefore deliver business agility and IT flexibility by making systems far more responsive to business needs, simpler to develop, and easier to maintain and therefore manage.

Implementing an architecture based upon service orientation helps organisations plan ahead for change, rather than responding reactively. Users will not be worried about upgrades, maintenance and testing as they can consume the service, and pay on pay-per-use basis under the Software as a Service (SaaS) model.

Software as a Service

Software as a Service (SaaS) is a software application delivery model where a software vendor develops a web-native software application and hosts and operates the application for use by its customers over the Internet. The model allows customers to pay, not for owning the software itself, but for using it.

SaaS is generally associated with business software and is typically thought of as a low-cost way for businesses to obtain the same benefits of commercially licensed, internally operated software without the associated complexity and high initial cost.

Many types of software are well suited to the SaaS model, where customers may have little interest or capability in software deployment. Application areas such as customer relations management, video conferencing, personnel, accounting and e-mail are examples of initial markets showing SaaS success.

SaaS is regarded as a new alternative for businesses to use the software as it offers a low cost for IT investment by avoiding the overheads associated with implementing conventional software while providing more efficiency when they come to use the software in enterprises.

Social networking

Millions of people are now experiencing a new way of communication and social participation through online communities. Microsoft's Window Live Messenger was the first mover in Thailand but now there are three main social networking communities -- Windows Live Space, Facebook and Hi5.Com.

As the first mover, with its easy-to-use customisable features, there are around 1.4 million are Windows Live Space users in Thailand from 6.7 million Windows Live users.

The Windows Live Space population in Thailand represents the largest social networking activity in the region and ninth in the world. Globally, Windows Live users are around one-third of the total online population. That is about 285 million Windows Live users from the nearly 1 billion Internet users around the world.

Meanwhile, Hi5 is a social networking site with a strong base in Central America. Some people call it a MySpace clone. Hi5 has been gaining ground worldwide and now boasts 50 million users. The beauty of Hi5 is a clean, easy-to-use interface and third-party widgets to help customise user pages, but Hi5 has no real unique identity beyond being a MySpace clone.

Facebook is one of the fastest-growing social-network websites. Originally started on a college campus, it expanded to other campuses, flowed into high schools, and eventually opened to the public in September last year.

The strength of Facebook is its tight-knit and often regionally based networks. The recent addition of third-party Facebook applications also gives it a strong foundation for the future.

Chip technology

Two large giant chip-makers, Intel and AMD, this year launched new chip technologies. Intel has unveiled its first faster and cooler 45-nanometre chips while AMD launched a platform codenamed Spider.

The new 45-nm chip developed by Intel has already hit the market and is expected to bring a big change to the industry as it's the first time that a combination of metal gates and the high-k gate dielectric leads to transistors have allowed computers to have very low current leakage and record high performance.

The chip takes less energy to switch on and off, reducing active switching power by approximately 30 per cent. It reduces power consumption from around 65 watts in desktops and 35 watts in laptops to around 25 watts. The new chip will also bring the next level of application development.

The AMD Spider platform consists of a Phenom quad-core processor, an AMD 7-series chipset and an ATI Radeon HD3800 series video card.

AMD said the new platform would allow computer users to experience high-performance computing as it delivers accelerated computing for the Ultimate Visual Experience. The platform can deliver upgradeability and customisation for scalable enthusiast performance, leading-edge performance and bandwidth to deliver next-generation HD experiences, and industry-leading platform performance-per-watt for flexibility and headroom.

This platform also comes with energy-efficient design and performance-per-watt, helping computer consume less energy.

The Nation

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