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Application and Integration Services
Web Services: Architecture and Tools : What Web services are and how they are used : When to use a Web service : Flexibility and integration
Flexibility and integration
The ubiquity of these standards supports application distribution and integration on a wide scale, from local client/server to global n-tier, with minimal additional work on infrastructure to increase the scale. In addition, the application language and execution environment of a Web service is often completely different from the environment of the client application that is using it. Thus, while execution for some Web service applications might be less efficient in real time than an equivalent proprietary solution, the proprietary solution is likely to be far less flexible and interoperable than the Web service solution. Thus, where development time and flexibility is more critical than computational performance, Web services can offer greater efficiency and economy overall. On the other hand, a Web service might also represent the highest performance option available, especially where no proprietary solution currently exists.
Note: The least appropriate application for a Web service is one that depends on maximum data throughput over the wire in a given period of time or one that exists in a homogenous environment behind the firewall.
Web service flexibility also facilitates the automation and integration of processes between various business partners, such as manufacturers, suppliers, and banks. Once a business relationship exists among these partners, the external integration of their applications using Web services can actually increase the efficiency (that is, performance) of complex business processes, regardless of the performance of the individual partner applications.