REVIEWER: Lawrence Pravin, product manager of Process Integration Packs for Sierra Atlantic.
BACKGROUND: Sierra Atlantic's service-oriented architecture (SOA) solutions and services aim to achieve maximum ROI for its customers by employing best practices in process design and collaboration. With more than a decade of experience in application integration technologies and strong engineering and implementation relationships with major ERP, EAI and application platform providers, Sierra Atlantic is uniquely positioned to offer SOA-based solutions.
PLATFORM: Open source application server.
PROBLEM SOLVED: Today's business environment requires IT support for end-to-end business processes, shorter change cycles, and better insight and auditing. SOA is seen as a way to address these requirements in the context of complex, siloed and heterogeneous IT infrastructures.
PRODUCT FUNCTIONALITY: Oracle SOA Suite is a comprehensive and integrated toolset for service-oriented development and integration of applications. We used Oracle BPEL Process Manager and its drag-and-drop design tool to model and implement the order process as sequences of service calls to internal and partner systems. The tool manages a standard XML-format BPEL file that is deployed to the BPEL engine, which provides a clusterable runtime container. Ease-of-process change was a key requirement; the drag-and-drop visual tool, combined with runtime hot deployment and versioning, made incorporating process changes a snap. Oracle BPEL Process Manager also provides a console that gives out-of-the-box tracking information on each business process. This made it easy to see the precise status for each order with no coding required. The ability to apply different security policies to a service, depending on who is accessing it, was a key consideration. Oracle Web Services Manager sits between the service client and the service and intercepts messages, applying security, management, logging and auditing policies that are defined through the policy manager console. This provided the agility to change security policies without a develop/deploy cycle, and those changes would take effect immediately. The other key requirement was an operational dashboard; we needed to monitor key performance indicators (KPIs) in real time. To do this, we used Oracle BAM, a real-time, event-driven extension of business intelligence. Oracle BAM can collect business events from any transactional data source, including Web services, message queues, ERP system interfaces and custom applications. We instrumented the BPEL order process with sensors at various steps in the flow, which automatically routed the data to Oracle BAM. Based on these sensor events, we configured a dashboard that showed the average completion times by supplier; the number of pending and rejected orders, including detail and drill-down information for failed orders; and an analysis of the revenue implications of rejected orders. Creating reports was intuitive, thanks to Oracle BAM Active Studio's drag-and-drop interface. The dashboard offered a rich collection of reports, such as multiple filters, drill into, drill across, moving time-slice window, alerts and navigation across objects. We were able to drill down from the dashboard to the BPEL console to find the status of individual orders. One of the unique things about Oracle's BAM solution is that you can take actions directly from the BAM console.
STRENGTHS: Oracle SOA Suite is an integrated and comprehensive suite of tools for service-oriented development and integration of applications. It is based on open standards such as BPEL, XML, SOAP, JCA, JMS and WS-Security; it is easy to use; and it easily integrates into heterogeneous environments through its support for leading application servers such as IBM MQ Series, Microsoft Active Directory and iLog Business Rules Engine.
WEAKNESSES: Oracle SOA Suite doesn't offer extensive business process analysis and simulation capabilities (Oracle certifies partner solutions for this). Business analysts might find it challenging to model business processes with Oracle BPEL Process Manager without help from a developer.
SELECTION CRITERIA: We needed a solution that provided key capabilities around service orchestration, Web services security and activity monitoring in an integrated suite that runs on top of an open source application server. Oracle SOA Suite fit the bill.
DELIVERABLES: Oracle SOA Suite's combination of Oracle ESB, Oracle BPEL Process Manager, Oracle BAM, and Oracle Web Services Manager provides an integrated and standards-based platform to build, automate, monitor and secure the SOA.
Oracle SOA Suite
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Redwood Shores, CA 94065
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