This current series of columns covers major business process management software vendors and their products, used to automatically generate executable XML-based business process management code from process diagrams using business process management languages. In previous months I covered Microsoft BizTalk Server 2004 and IBM WebSphere Business Integration Server Foundation. This month we will look at Oracle and SAP business process management products.

Oracle BPEL Server

Oracle offers the Oracle BPEL Process Manager to automatically generate executable Business Process Execution Language (BPEL) code from process models.1 Based on the J2EE environment, it includes a drag-and-drop visual process designer with support for Web services, Java Message Service (JMS) and Java Connector Architecture (JCA). It includes UDDI and Web Services Inspection Language (WSIL) browser support.

The Oracle BPEL Process Manager offers support for BPEL with state and content management: it stores the state of long-running transactions for asynchronous message processing. Support is provided for parallel processing, exception management, events, notifications and version control. It automatically maintains full audit trail information, with both a graphical and textual representation of process status and history.

The BPEL Process Manager can be clustered for fault-tolerance and failover and for increasing transaction volumes. For example, a single BPEL process instance can be created on one server, automatically relocated to another server if a server failure occurs (including during the execution of a process) and then completed on a third server based on distribution of load.

The Oracle BPEL Process Manager runs on all of the major application servers, including Oracle Application Server, IBM WebSphere, BEA WebLogic and JBoss. Supported production deployment platforms include Windows, Linux, Solaris and IBM z/OS. It can utilize Oracle, Microsoft SQL Server, IBM DB2 and other DBMS products.

SAP NetWeaver

SAP, a leader in the enterprise resource planning (ERP) marketplace, has moved aggressively in recent years to build on the strength of its SAP R/3 ERP assets and move its products to the Internet.

February 2003 saw the release of SAP NetWeaver. This is the technical foundation to be used for all future development of the mySAP Business Suite. NetWeaver is a major initiative by SAP, moving from its proprietary development environment with ABAP to embrace open architecture.2 It supports concurrent ABAP and J2EE execution with all J2EE related standards and provides Web services support for SOAP, WSDL and UDDI. All SAP BAPI interfaces are now available as Web services through WSDL. As part of NetWeaver, SAP Web Application Server provides application development capability for cross-functional business applications called Cross-Applications (xApps). NetWeaver supports platform interoperability with Microsoft .NET and IBM WebSphere.

SAP is a member of the W3C, the Web Services Interoperability organization (WS-I) and the Java Community Process (JCP). It is also a member of OASIS (the Organization for Advancement of Structured Information Standards) and UN/CEFACT for electronic data interchange (EDI) and ebXML.

NetWeaver supports Web Services Choreography Interface (WSCI) for business process management. SAP has stated that NetWeaver will also support BPEL4WS. 

In my next column I will cover a new software category: business process management system (BPMS). I will discuss Intalio|n3 and its support for SOA, BPEL, BPML and BPSS.


  1. Oracle BPEL Process Manager is at
  2. Many white papers and brochures are available from the Solutions section of

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