Some CIOs dream of kicking out their integration vendors and replacing their messaging infrastructures with free, standard Web services. That would eliminate the usual problems of incompatibility across different platforms, expensive software and vendor lock-in. But limitations still exist in the standards and the transport pipe that Web services use to communicate: the Web, or, more specifically, the HTTP transport protocol. Think about all the times you\u2019ve attempted to access a website or send an e-mail and failed\u2014without any notification or explanation. That\u2019s the problem. Partly because Web services standards have not yet been fully developed to ensure secure, reliable transactions and partly because the Web itself is inherently unreliable, CIOs have to look beyond Web services to guarantee that their service object workflows inside and outside the company will not break down. Vendors are filling the gaps in Web services standards with products that provide a stable messaging infrastructure and manage the services in an integration layer. Though the market is still fragmented into niches, it\u2019s rapidly consolidating. And just as in enterprise software, vendors are assembling expensive integration suites that are not always easy to buy by the chunk\u2014which can make initial investments expensive and difficult to justify. But for the foreseeable future, investments in proprietary middleware are necessary to build a reliable integration layer.