Khanderao on Emerging And Integration Technologies

Thursday, October 18, 2007

BPM: Close loop integration between Modeling, Execution and Monitoring of Business Process

Life-cycle issues in BPM:
It is well understood that Business analysts need a business friendly tool to capture requirement, model a process and / document a process. Many modeling tools are already available and are key in any BPM strategy. The business analysts do not implement those processes. Especially it is true for "executable processes" like BPEL. IT developers or system integrators often take a business requirement and turn them into an executable business process. There is always a chance of a communication gap. Off course, a proper review would reduce chances of such reviews. However, if a business analyst needs to review BPEL process, he would neither be comfortable nor be capable of. In such scenario, it is definitely useful to have an automatic generation of BPEL process and many modeling tools generate BPEL processes.

However, the key of modeling is to be higher level and capture key business activities. A modeler can capture some key business activities, however, none of these would be or should be complete. Hence, IT developer / SI would need to add details or implement specific business as well as technical activities to make the process complete. They may add data transformations, validations, error handling, or implement specific handshaking required by internal/external partners. Some of these, details may need to surfaced to the model. Otherwise, over a period of time, the model start getting out of sync with the implemented process. Thus, round tripping is important.

While a process can be modified at the time of or after implementation by IT/SIs, the business analyst may also need to change the model to reflect a changing business need. Thus there would be changes in both the original model as well as the generated business process. This is a very valid case in a life cycle of a business process. So the key is to support merging the changes.

Oracle BPM:
In the month of September, Oracle announced a next updated version of its BPA (Business Process Analysis) Suite which supports closed loop integration between modeling and execution models. Oracle being a vendor providing a comprehensive solution in BPM-Integration space, has offered such tighter integration between various tools and by providing a standards based (BPMN) business friendly modeler, a standards(BPEL) based process designer, an execution runtime as well as monitoring environment (SOA Suite).

This new version supports thus provides "a closed-loop engineering and bi-directional sync'ing capabilities, enabling business analysts and developers to closely collaborate throughout the entire BPM life cycle using the best tools for their specific needs".

Using Oracle BPM Suite: Modeler and IT/SI experience
Using these products, a modeler can model a process, and then publish it. Using JDev based BPEL designer, an IT developer/SI can explore this published model and start with its "blue print" which is a common model between BPMN and BPEL. The BPEL process can further be refined with implementation details and would be published. If the modeler changes the process model and republishes it, the IT/SI developer would get a visual notification in his/her JDev. The developer can sync up the process, see the differences, merge the changes (comparing the new versus existing process) and implement the details for the newly added business activities related.

Seamless Integration with Monitoring:
Oracle's BPM suite also helps in monitoring. The modeler can specify (select) monitoring points, the generated BPEL would carry all the "sensor instrumentation" without a need to add them manually. These sensor data can be fed to Oracle's BAM (Business Activity Monitoring) module which can provide a real time dashboard.

The execution can potentially be analyzed and the analysis can be used in further refining the business process model, thus completing the circle of life cycle activities.

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Sunday, October 14, 2007

Cost of Incompatible Softwares: Airbus/EADS Story

In the recent issue of "The Economist" (Oct 13th 2007) I came across a case demonstrating a cost of use of incompatible versions of softwares. As per the story, One of the delays of the latest Super Jet A380 airplane was the use of two incompatible versions of the computer CAD softwares. (Vertatim from the article ) " The Germans in Hamburg had one system, the French in Toulouse another. When the electrical harnesses came to be fitted in the forward and aft fuseleage sections, many didn't connect with each other. Despite efforts to resolve this, it was decided in Octover last year that only by updating the computer-design tools would Airbus get on top of the problem. That meant a third delay".

This is not a problem specific to the Airbus. This is a often problem not just because of the use of two different softwares, but one software may result into different formats of outputs and often there are losses of information in transforming between the models.

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Friday, October 12, 2007

Oracle strengthens Enterprise Apps GRC: Governance, Risk and Compliance

On October 9th, 2007, Oracle announced that it has entered into an agreement to acquire LogicalApps, a leading provider of automated Governance, Risk, and Compliance (GRC) controls for enterprise applications. The transaction is expected to close by November 2007. Until the deal closes, each company will continue to operate independently, and it is business as usual.

LogicalApps solutions enable customers to automate GRC activities, such as enforcing proper segregation of duties in enterprise applications, reducing fraud with continuous monitoring of business transactions, and providing defensible evidence of a proper control environment. LogicalApps solutions already are optimized for Oracle Applications, with hundreds of successful deployments.

With LogicalApps' automated control capabilities, Oracle plans to extend its GRC application suite after the closing to deliver a closed-loop solution that manages both enterprise-wide GRC processes and enforcement of automated controls within one system

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Tuesday, October 09, 2007

Oracle Honored with a Tech Innovator Award in the Business Enterprise

Oracle Honored with a Tech Innovator Award in the Business Enterprise Category by CMP Channel’s VARBusiness
Component of Oracle® Fusion Middleware Receives Industry Accolade

REDWOOD SHORES, Calif., 09-OCT-2007 05:05 AM Oracle today announced that it has received a CMP Channel VARBusiness 2007 Tech Innovator award in the Business Enterprise category for the Oracle SOA Suite, a component of Oracle Fusion Middleware. The fifth annual Tech Innovators Awards celebrate the most innovative products, people and personalities in the industry and highlight emerging products and technologies currently sold through the IT Channel.

Oracle SOA Suite is a comprehensive, standards-based set of middleware products used to easily build, deploy and manage Service-Oriented Architectures (SOA). The suite's hot-pluggable capabilities enable customers to take advantage of the many benefits SOAs provide, while leveraging their current middleware technologies and avoiding a costly rip and replace project. In addition, Oracle SOA Suite enables high levels of service quality with a unique Grid architecture for advanced scalability and performance using low-cost commodity hardware. Using the Suite, organizations can seamlessly connect, extend and evolve their existing IT systems to rapidly deliver new business services. Oracle SOA Suite is comprised of the best-in-class SOA components of Oracle Fusion Middleware and supports Oracle and non-Oracle application servers and messaging buses, including IBM WebSphere, BEA WebLogic and JBoss Application Servers.

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Friday, October 05, 2007

SOA on Grid and relocatable BPEL processes

Dave Chappell, Author of ESB book and SOA Chief Strategist with whom I am privileged to work, and Dave Berry, ESB PM and colleague, jointly published an article covering SOA on Grid a potential next generation to provide a robust, scalable, reliable, high performing and highly available infrastructure for SOA.

It most of the obvious target use cases like:
Large payload
Active-Active clustering
Load Balancing
In memory persistence caching of DB (asynchronous write)
Performance improvement of BPEL PDS - Dehydration (process data/state storage)

But most importantly, the article introduced one important concept, we had brainstormed earlier, that is re-locatable BPEL process to minimize a data serialization. Why bring a large data across a network when a process can itself continue from a node on/closer to the node having data. e.g. Apps adapters.

Certainly doing such agile services would provide a stateful however relocatable services resulting into high performance and high availability.

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Wednesday, October 03, 2007

My article on BPEL 2.0 in Action

Here is an article co-authored by me on BPEL2.0 in action got recently published in SOA World / SYS-CON. A long time, about a decade, back I used to write at Java Developers Journal. I had covered CORBA and Java application server. Yes...CORBA was supposed to change the whole MiddleWare market. Anyway, after seeing many hype cycles, I would refrain from saying about any technology as world-changing. Anyway, in between there was a long long gap. Got busy in implementing a lot of stuff. ...driving products...etc...

Anyway, this article covers some value added features in BPEL2.0...but it goes a step further to demonstrate some key features like dynamic parallel branches, correlation, out of band /changes events and reflecting to them via compensations.


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InfoQ: SCA Interview

A recently published interview of SCA TC members by InfoQ covered many debated issues. Most of the issues are already debated outside and many like myself already commented on the same. However, it would be informative to read perspective from SCA drivers (just FYI I am too member of SCA-Assembly, SCA-BPEL and SCA-Binding TC). Some of the important issues discussed in the interview are: SCA and JBI, SCA and WCF, OASIS vs W3C, SCA and J2EE etc.

Here are some excerpts(verbatim from above InfoQ interview):
Technically there is no overlap. SCA can be used on a JBI runtime, but it is also possible to use SCA without JBI and JBI without SCA. JBI is engine-to-engine. ...SCA looks at defining abstract notions of service invocations at design-time.

Windows Communication Framework (WCF) has some of the features of the SCA service component model, but there is no real equivalent of the SCA assembly model for the composition of applications.

SCA works with JEE rather than competing....(however) the context of SOA, or composite applications, there is a need for more facilities and capabilities than JavaEE provides, elements that are beyond the scope of JavaEE....Using SCA, The runtime might still use JMS and one of the JAX SOAP stacks, but their APIs would not be visible to the developer.

SCA-J not being in JCP:
1. SCA as a whole is not a Java specification
2. making liaison between the Java group and the other groups more difficult.
3. It also keeps all the SCA specifications available under one, easy to understand license.
4. the SCA-J team really is looking at how to map language independent notions onto Java

Choice between OASIS and W3C:
OASIS are about business and implementation standards more than W3C.

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