Michael Mimoso, writing at Search Networking.com suggests that 2005 may be the year that XML finally begins to tax networks and servers:

Enterprise affection for XML Web services may have C-level hearts fluttering over the immediate efficiency and productivity gains, but the other shoe is about to drop in this relationship.

Users and experts expect 2005 to be the year companies realize en masse how taxing XML is on enterprise networks, sparking a spending spree on XML acceleration products and optimized appliances that offload this burden. Meanwhile, standards bodies like the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C) work in the shadows on the ratification of a single binary XML standard that could bring an about-face to the commitment companies have to the ASCI text encoding that is currently the foundation of XML 1.0.

I don’t have any numbers to back this up, but I think Mimoso is on to something. I have been keeping an eye on companies like DataPower, which makes “XML-Aware Network Infrastructure.” Companies like DataPower tend to focus on both XML performance and security with their hardware, and my impression is that, up until now, many of the hardware purchases have been motivated by security concerns. It will be interesting to see if a performance problem also begins to drive specialized hardware purchasing.