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Web Services Complemented by Cloud

By CIOReview | Friday, March 17, 2017

There was a time when web services and cloud services were considered synonymous for being interdependent of each other. Although both the services are poles apart, we are undoubtedly in an era where web and cloud services are melded to offer businesses with an all-in-one web and cloud service package. Designed to facilitate machine-to-machine interaction over a network, web services are a software system that use XML to encode all communications. Meanwhile, cloud services are proffered through a cloud provider's servers for data storage, security, and other infrastructure needs, and allow web services to offer users with web-accessible applications.

The Scope of Web Services

Available from an enterprise web server or other web-connected programs, the web services or application services are a mix of programming and data that help developers integrate web applications over the internet. Governed by web service protocols—BEEP, Hessian, JSON-RPC, SOAP, XML-RPC and more—web services facilitate data-sharing within enterprises without the need for direct access to the systems beyond the firewall. Designed to simplify communication between web applications within an enterprise, web services use an API for better connectivity and interaction with the data and services of the other applications. .

A unique peer-to-peer arrangement allows users to access some web services without the need to connect to a central server. The prevalent use of Extensible Markup Language (XML) today has ensured web services are based on standardized data formats for seamless exchange of data. Also, XML serves as the foundation for the Web Services Description Language (WSDL).

A commonly used architecture style for web services is the REST as it consumes minimal bandwidth and resources when compared to SOAP-based web services. RESTful web services are language and platform independent and are equipped with the capabilities to permit diverse data formats—plain text, HTML, XML, and JSON. Businesses today can choose web services as a standalone option instead of relying on their own data centers and servers. A key disadvantage of web service as a standalone offering is that it allows fewer configuration options while managing and securing the infrastructure at high costs.

Cloud Computing Services Today

Available to the users on demand from a service provider’s servers, cloud or remote computing services provide a seamless and scalable access to the server infrastructure and applications. Managed by a provider, cloud services provide enterprises with a back-end for their web applications to function. With a variety of dynamic options available on the cloud, enterprises can avail services such as online data storage and backup solutions, document collaboration services, managed technical support services and more.

Often clubbed together as a single set, proprietary or open source tools, web and cloud services go hand in hand when it comes to assisting enterprise with ease of integration and interoperability between systems. Integration can be a daunting task for businesses with diverse systems and the way forward for them is opting for shared services. Although cloud services are designed to provide scalable access to applications, numerous security concerns crop up when it comes to operating entirely in a cloud environment. Combining web and cloud services allows service providers to offer managed data security to clients. Additionally, shared services provide better consistency when it comes to the functioning and overall performance of web applications.