Web Services in Distributed Information Systems: Availability, Performance and Composition

Web Services in Distributed Information Systems: Availability, Performance and Composition

Xia Zhao (University of Bedfordshire, UK), Tao Wang (University of Bedfordshire, UK), Enjie Liu (University of Bedfordshire, UK) and Gordon J. Clapworthy (University of Bedfordshire, UK)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-4666-0906-8.ch001
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Distributed information systems are growing rapidly in response to the improvement of computer hardware and software and this is matched by the evolution of the technologies involved. This paper focuses mainly on Web Services technology and discusses related technical issues including availability, performance and composition. It also introduces Grid, agents and Semantic Web technologies that can work together with Web Services to serve different business goals.
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Internet applications are developed and hosted by many different organizations, and customers from all over the world access them via the Internet from their desktops, or possibly from hand-held devices, such as a PDA or mobile phone. Originally, Internet applications referred to activities such as web browsing, FTP, and email. More recently, they have also included more advanced applications that are generally referred to as services. These mirror our real-world business activities in the cyber world.

Let us take a ticket-booking system as an example. The processes may include: the initial search for the right ticket, using criteria such as price, timing, etc; the actual booking, which will include some form of payment process which itself may involve authentication processes such as a credit check by the credit-card company; then various forms of after-sales service, such as notifications a few days before travel, etc. In the real world, all the services may be provided by different specialist companies and achieved by human interaction, using their knowledge and intelligence. In the cyber world, these actions are achieved by so-called software services. To avoid continually having to rebuild services, there has been a trend towards using “atomic” services as building blocks from which to construct more complex services.

In open distributed systems, independent components cooperate with each other in order to achieve a goal. Apart from SOC, Grid technology and agent technology are the most widely used technologies for developing distributed systems. In this paper, the authors do not offer a syntactic classification of the technologies, but rather, discuss the problem from a developer’s standpoint.

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