Web services is key to legacy integration for 9 out of ten companies

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Some 90 per cent of large organisations are set to externalise legacy applications via web services by 2007 , according to research firm Meta Group.

In an analysis of vendors whose products enable access to and integration of legacy data streams via interception of the streams using a thin-client approach, Meta concluded that more than 9 out of ten large organisations will utilise host access products that externalise legacy applications via Web services by 2007.

"We expect host access products to continue playing an important role for large organisations externalising legacy applications," said Mark Vanston, programme director with META Group's Enterprise Data Centre Strategies service. "Web-to-Host access solutions can reduce the cost of legacy integration, enabling organisations to leverage existing assets and capitalise on new IT opportunities."

Legacy externalisation efforts will continue to be dominated by tactical, point-like application integration products with new presentation interfaces, but demand for highly scalable e-commerce solutions primarily driven by Web services that leverage transactional legacy mainframe systems will propel screen-based data integration in the next two years.

But while most vendors have had success selling traditional emulation products, user uptake of Web-to-Host products has been slow, despite heavy promotion. Organisations now face the difficult task of transitioning away from traditional emulation products, toward a Web services model. This is likely to favour established vendors as buyers will opt for brand names. Vendors that want to compete will have to demonstrate product breadth in terms of integration and functionality, combined with an established financial footing that enables further product development

Meta picks out IBM as the clear leader in this field, arguing that many of the rival vendors have good solid technology, but lack the financial resources and breadth of product portfolio to compete.

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