Is to head on over to Michael Botis' blog and read this entry on the impact of Web Services on the network. The reason is because Michael is looking at the impact from a global perspective whereas I've primarily concetrated on the affect of services on the local network and infrastructure.

Michael points out that BIG-IP Global Traffic Manager (GTM) can assist in ensuring reliable access to servers across geographically disperse locations. Two scenarios come to mind that take advantage of GTM: global failover and distribution of services. The former is a fairly straightforward use-case, the latter is more complex but takes advantage of GTM's capability to intelligently route data based on a number of parameters, one of which could certainly include geographic location. GTM could therefore be used to direct messages to the appropriate data center, for example a regional processing or call center, in a globally distributed architecture.

By globally distributing transaction processing across data centers you can reduce the number of servers required in any single data center as they will be processing fewer transactions and you can potentially eliminate the need to include complex routing and forwarding logic within business applications.

A regional-based processing architecture has the advantage of improving performance not only from the view of the network, but also from a business perspective. The more quickly transactions are processed by the geographically appropriate data center, the faster the business transactions occurs or the customer's problem is resolved. The latter can be just as, if sometimes not more, important than improving the transactional rates or base network performance.

Imbibing: Water

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