Innovation in assembly

Posted: March 28, 2012 in INB347 Web 2.0
Tags: , , , , ,

Innovation in assembly, one of the core component patterns in the shift to web 2.0 is all about offering platforms as online services.  There is a slow but certain transition from desktop computer and hardware components delivering applications to online resources powering applications through an external vendor.  An online service or software as a service (SaaS) is the idea of offering application platforms to an end user from a service provider over a network, in most cases the internet (Search Cloud Computing, March 2006).

       

Figure 1.
Anton Blotskiy, Softheme. February 16th, 2011

The root of this movement is through the use of open standards and free licensed sources which foresees the transformation from strict desktop platforms delivered from a vendor and powered by hardware, to online services. This means eventually the need for hardware power and expensive licensed software such as Microsoft Office and virus software will no longer be in demand.

Innovations of third party applications sourced from vendors are being made available through the concept of an application programming interface (API) and dynamic web services.  This is the idea of moving from static unchangeable web pages with standard Simple Object Access Protocol (SOAP) designs with basic request and response protocols, to web services, or API’s (Nicholas Quaine, 2001).

From this movement to web 2.0 with API’s comes database driven, stateless and dynamic web services using Representational State Transfer (REST) Communications architecture. API’s allow for multiple REST style web services to be interchangeable and programmable to communicate with each other using a standard of code-based language such as XML (Russell Kay, 2007), thus becoming an application service.

A related example of this movement is Amazon’s S3 (Simple Storage Service) which allows for developers to source their resources from Amazon’s hardware infrastructure, and provide a web platform to their customer. The users of the S3 platform pay a certain monthly fee (“pay as you go”) for storage, or what they call a “Bucket” and are free to use the space for whatever they desire to provide third party applications to an end user. This can include a source of media files, backup storage or web developed applications as part of a business or for a customer.

Figure 2. Amazon Simple Storage Service Developer Guide (API Version 2006-03-01)

To elaborate on the concept and give an example of the above picture, Amazon provide the open space data storage, database engine and backbone resources to a customer to build an API based platform. The third party provider then delivers its API platform to the end user using cloud computing services.

All parties benefit from the innovative movement in its architectural structure, all Amazon, The third party vendor and the end user.  API’s open the door for everyday developers to express their skills in creating something new out of existing services. For example the Apple App store. Developers take an existing application and transform it into a useful application, for example taking Twitter and using it specifically for an external use such as Cricket Australia’s website, which as a section that takes posts from Cricketer’s twitter accounts and displays them in a live feed on the web site’s page.

A specific example to the topic discussed is how Amazon builds a level of trust with the users of its S3 architecture and opens the door for easy innovation of third party API’s.  The third party developers benefit from using cheap, existing resources to develop their web services to the end user rather than building their own infrastructure. The end user benefits from the ease of use through API developed applications. Finally Amazon benefit from both the trust built with its reliable services to users paying money, and oversees how its services are used for future growth.

Such innovative technologies can also have their drawbacks however.  There are clear disadvantages of third party vendors hosting their applications on an external source rather than their own infrastructure, creating huge risks and potential disaster.

Amazon for example state in their service level agreement (SLA) that they have an uptime of 99.9% per month. This equates to 40 odd minutes of down time (Amazon S3 Service Level Agreement, 2007).  This down time can cause major disruptions for third party vendors that may require intense resources at the point of an outage. Although Amazon offers a compromise if this service level agreement isn’t met, offering credits in accordance to extra down time, this could be the difference between a successful API and the failure of one, potentially putting a business at risk.

Another interesting note to point out about the service level agreement is the fact that there is only one requirement Amazon strives to achieve and that’s uptime.  The only agreement stated in amazon’s SLA is that 99.9 percent uptime must be met per month, any other figure below this and the user will be funded with credits (Amazon S3 Service Level Agreement, 2007).  In the SLA statement, Amazon strictly state it will take no responsibility for any negative impact on users due to any technology not sourced by Amazon itself.

It is clear that innovation in assembly is pushing the web into a new era of less and less software and hardware components.  It is clear to see that in the near future, user’s at home will not have the need to purchase expensive licensed software to install on their PC.  Rather every user will have an online desktop, powered by resources from an external vendor.  The need for personal computers will become obsolete as the push for innovative online services becomes greater, more reliable, faster and easier to develop and use.

References:

  1. Software as a Service, Search Cloud Computing. March 2006. http://searchcloudcomputing.techtarget.com/definition/Software-as-a-Service,
  2.  Figure 1. Anton Blotskiy, Marketing Consultant, Softheme  February 16th, 2011. Is SaaS Office Safe? http://blog.softheme.com/is-saas-office-safe/
  3.  SOAP Basics, Nicholas Quaine, 2001. http://www.soapuser.com/basics1.html
  4.  Russell Kay, August 6, 2007. http://www.computerworld.com/s/article/297424/Representational_State_Transfer_REST_
  5. Browser-Based Uploads Using POST, Amazon Simple Storage Service Developer Guide. API Version 2006-03-01. http://docs.amazonwebservices.com/AmazonS3/latest/dev/UsingHTTPPOST.html
  6. Amazon S3 Service Level Agreement. Effective Date: October 1, 2007. http://aws.amazon.com/s3-sla/
Advertisements
Comments
  1. RyanP says:

    I think you’re absolutely right when you say that Amazon’s S3 experiencing downtime would be problematic for all concerned. I’m sure you’re aware that one of the main reasons companies produce APIs is to build trust, to demonstrate that they are willing to make part of their product free. If that API is down, all services that leverage off it would go down too. From a user perspective, that could seriously damage the user/provider relationship, which could lead to a loss in the user base as they move to more reliable services. That said, I’m sure that 99.9% uptime is substantially better than average.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s