Selasa, 03 November 2009

Oracle Business Process Management Suite, the best of both worlds

This is a joint effort post from the Dutch Oracle Technology team Léon Smiers, Ruben Spekle and Arjan Kramer on Oracle Business Process Management Suite.

Since the acquirement of BEA there has been a lot of discussion with clients around the topic of Business Processes Management or BPM. Oracle has now got two strategic components in this arena. Firstly the already existing component BPEL Process Manager (BPEL PM) in combination with the OEM-ed product Aris (Oracle BPA), and secondly the former BEA Aqualogic BPM product, now called Oracle BPM. On Oracle Open World, last October Oracle announced the unification of both products. What is the impact of this unification and when will this take place?

Oracle placed BPEL PM in its stack with the acquirement of Collaxa some years ago. In the years after the BPEL PM product was enriched with adapter functionality and a Human Task component. BPEL PM is aimed at the more low level process integration which is also known as orchestration. Because of this, designing a BPEL application is a rather technical process. For Business Analysts BPEL is too technical. In order to fill the gap for designing Business processes Oracle OEM-ed Aris and enabled the creation of BPEL models based upon Aris Business Process models. Aris is the de facto standard in the market for Business Process Management Modeling, and contains a huge stack of reference (industry) models.

In BPM creating Workflows is much easier, a Business Analyst models all the processes and creates the lines in between the process steps, based upon which run time components are created automatically. It is a complete framework for creating workflow type of applications. Besides the ease of creation of the workflow processes, BPM is very strong in the build-in mechanism for simulating processes. The designer (Business Analyst) sets timings for each step in the process and can simulate the process. Based on this simulation bottlenecks, like human tasks or asynchronous services can be easily spotted already in a design time stage, without even involving real services yet. During the runtime of a business process, audit information is captured and can be fed back to the process to be able to tune the process based on runtime information as well. This means a real roundtrip lifecycle for business processes. A third strong point is the versioning capability of components (processes, variables) within BPM which allow current versions to run in parallel. Oracle BPM hasn’t (yet) got as many adapters as BPEL, but integration with the use of Web Services works very well.

On Oracle Open World (October 2009), Oracle announced BPM, BPEL PM and Human Tasks will be moved into one Business Process Management Suite. During OOW there were possibilities to get hands-on with this new stack which looked really promising, the same excellent process definition functionality BEA Aqualogic BPM users were used to, extended with integration with BPEL, Human Tasks and other service components all combined in one single stack. In this process of unification predominately the BPM part will be changed. BPM will be based upon the BPMN 2.0 standard, the design time moves towards to both JDeveloper (the implementation part) and the Browser (Design time) and the run time will be based upon a shared runtime environment with BPEL PM. The BPEL PM product on the other hand stays rather untouched in the unification process.
In this architecture BPM, BPEL, Human Tasks and Aris support the following functionality:

  • BPM supports the Choreography type of functionality, and is more aimed at Business Analysts.
  • BPEL PM supports Orchestration, low level process integration, and is more aimed at technical people.
  • Human Tasks support the workflow component of a process, whether this is started from within BPM or BPEL PM.
  • Aris is used by Enterprise Architects and Business Analysts on a high level.

Unfortunately Oracle does not provide any dates when a version will be released and what functionality it will contain, but we can be convident that it will be available somewhere in the first half of 2010. In the meantime we still can use both separate Process Management solutions, with a preference for the BPEL over BPM, because of expected minor migration complexities towards future releases.

Léon Smiers is Oracle Solution Architect at Capgemini, you can follow him on Twitter
Arjan Kramer is leading an Expert group of Java based Integration Technologists and is thoughtleader on Oracle Fusion Middleware at Capgemini. Follow his thoughts on Twitter
Ruben Spekle is Oracle Solution Architect within Capgemini, you can follow him on Twitter

Originally posted on the Capping IT Off  blog

Rabu, 19 Agustus 2009

Oracle is still buying the Sun…

A lot of you (at least the people in the Java community) are probably curious what the status is of Oracles acquisition of Sun Microsystems. Well since this is a merger that really has a great impact on the market, organizations around the globe sense that it must be considered thoroughly. This means that both the European Union as well as U.S. officials are taking their time to review the deal.
At least Sun’s shareholders have approved the acquisition now.

The slow process might be good for the law enforcers that are evaluating the acquisition, it’s not that good of course for Sun and Oracle at least but also for the Java market as a whole. Uncertainty whether this acquisition will proceed or not will make potential customers hesitate. That will not only influence Sun and Oracle’s position at customers, but also competitors like IBM.

Meanwhile the competition is also taking advantage of the indistinctness in both the hardware area  as well as the software area.

Still this merger of a company which is really dedicated to best way of applying Java and Java Enterprise Edition as the firm basis for their complete product stack and the company that founded Java seems a very good move. Since Java is so crucial for Oracle and the success of their products they would be mad not to keep most of the Java community that is in place currently intact and leverage it. Only because of this vivid community around Java is what it is now, a firm and stable infrastructure for a wide variety of business applications and improving all the time.

Of course Oracle will have to make sure that the competitors that base their products on Java, get their take at improving Java and give input to it. Only this way Oracle, together with the other Java based companies will be able to fight the battle against Microsoft and their .Net platform.

The story continues, the next step will be on September 3. as the European Union will announce whether the acquisition can take place or they will need to do a more thorough investigation. Fingers crossed it will be the first option and the merger will not be postponed needlessly more.

Original post on: Capping IT Off

Senin, 20 April 2009

Oracle buys the sun

Yesterday Oracle shocked the world by announcing it will acquire SUN Microsystems. Now, the day after it's a good moment to take a look at what hit us...

As we all know Oracle has been buying a lot of companies in the last couple of years. Although this is not the largest purchase (e.g. BEA and Peoplesoft were larger) and not the smallest (Hyperion wasn’t that big) to my opinion this is one which is really one of the most significant ones. SUN being the founder of Java and a lot of Open Source programs it is a unique step in history!

So what's behind it? Well, as Larry Ellison puts it in his voice over (which can be found here) the solid reason for it is Oracle's strategy to be Complete, Open and Integrated.

Well Oracle can definitely say they are complete now: from applications, through Fusion Middleware, security and governance all the way down to virtual machines (Java and hypervisor), databases and Operating systems and as a small plus even hardware: SUN Sparc server technology. You would say this completes the total stack...

Open and Integrated
Because of the wide variety of products within their stack Oracle has a strong strategy on integrating their products. Fusion applications, means seamless integration of all applications with each other, but also with customly build component based applications all the way down to the way the connect with their data-storage and OS. The heart of Fusion applications is Oracle Fusion Middleware, the number 1 middleware stack out there, believe me this is not a Oracle commercial, it's really great! And as you might know it's Java based Integration technology. This means by buying the founder of Java the key of the innovative power behind Java is in good hands since Java is the key foundation of the Fusion middleware stack and thus the Fusion application strategy.
So how about Open then?! Well let's be honest, when a company has so many products in its product stack, the only way to get all of those components integrated is to use Open standards and adopt Open source components. Like with other acquisitions it's my opinion, that Oracle will only pick the cherries especially for the Open Source projects they will contribute to, of course. But they will definitely be contributing and actively invest in Open standards and Open Source projects, simply because they have to, to reach their goals in integrating the complete product stack.

So, I think this acquisition will mean great new investments in Java, it gives another boost to the development of Fusion Middleware and thus Fusion Applications and it makes Oracle a true one-stop-shop which give major TCO benefits.

Question is what will be next? Will Oracle be buying the moon?

Original post on: Capping IT Off

Senin, 09 Februari 2009

Nothing but the real thing... Well...

So here I was telling you that with conferences there's nothing but the real thing. And that conference will never be replaced by online conferences.

Well I must admit, although there is going to be a Oracle Open World again this year, and thus the "live" are there to stay, I just found out that on 19th February Oracle has it's first online Virtual Conference.

Well we'll see how this evolves..., although I still think that 'there's nothing but the real thing' as far as conferences are concerned. It's good to have these virtual conferences, but this will not mean the real ones will be over.

Selasa, 03 Februari 2009

Java based Integration Technology

So how hot is Java these days? A lot of enterprises are moving from Customized Software Development towards standard applications. You would expect that Java's footprint is decreasing because of this movement as would Microsoft actually.

Well let's focus on middleware or integration software. A lot of effort (and they're succeeding) is put in creating integration platforms, like ESB's or BPM environments, just to minimize the amount of coding and the possible errors you introduce with it. Resulting in robust, state-of-the-art firm bases for your business technology. This means that enterprises will want to move from error-prone custom-built applications to more standardized and configuration based way of developing applications based on services.

So what does this mean for the good old Java programmer then?! Hmmm... well this might be like telling a turkey what's on for the christmas dinner, but eventually we won't be coding a lot anymore. Sorry guys but it's the way it is. I'm not sure how long it will take, but the day will come... Currently we are already sensing this quite a lot at our customers.

But now the good part! If you take a look at the best-of-breed integration or middleware software out there you'll find out that most (if not all, after all I said best-of-breed ;-)) of these are Java based! WebMethods, Tibco, BEA / Oracle Fusion Middleware, SAP Netweaver, IBM Websphere, to name just a few insignificant ones are all Java based. This means, and it will keep meaning in my opinion that in order to tweak / configure or even add that specific functionality that's just not available out-of-the-box will definitely require that good old java skilled developer to do the trick.

So will this be the end of Java?
No! Because it's gonna be Java based Integration Technology!