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WebMethods: Web services, Java and .net are no panacea for integration problems

Officials at webMethods and Siebel Systems said that Web services and the Java and .net development platforms used to build them are not a panacea for integration problems, at the webMethods Integration World 2002 conference in San Francisco yesterday.

Web services are for development, said Phillip Merrick, founder, chairman and chief executive officer of webMethods, an integration software vendor.

"There's an attempt to portray standards like J2EE and .net as a panacea," Merrick said. "Standards like J2EE and .net are not really about integration. They're about development." He added, however, that Web services standards such as WSDL and Soap could be deftly applied to integration.

One-size-fits-all solutions recommended by "upstart" companies promoting J2EE, .net and Web services companies do not make sense, said Merrick. "We don't think .net or J2EE alone is going to help you address the really tough, complex heterogeneity issues," Merrick said.

Thomas Siebel, chairman and chief executive officer of CRM vendor Siebel Systems, agreed with Merrick. "It is an absolute certainty that we see Web services emerging as a standard, but again Web services really doesn't represent a panacea that is going to solve the integration problem in the next decade. [Web services] is simply an architecture for building applications," he said.

Siebel added that Web services would be "a Level 0 requirement in corporations and government installations in five years. If you don't embrace and support Web services, you simply won't be able to sell your product."

Officials at webMethods also promoted the company's "Enterprise Dial-tone" and services-oriented architecture themes for simplification of application integration. Enterprise Dial-tone is about plugging in applications and business processes and making it all work together through use of standards.
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