Integrating Tuxedo Global Transactions across Web Services

Global Transactions

A global transaction is a series of service calls where the services involved write to a resource (typically update or create a record in a database), and all updates or creations must be completed or none at all so that no inconsistency exists.

For example, imagine performing a balance transfer from one account to another, and that the information pertaining to those accounts is stored in two different databases. The succession of service calls would be as follows:

  • withdraw amount from database 1,

  • deposit amount to database 2,

  • commit (withdrawal and deposit become effective and are reflected in future balance displays).

Applications running on Oracle Tuxedo, combined with a database resource such as Oracle Database can guarantee what is called in computer science Atomicity, Consistency, Isolation and Durability (or ACID properties).

Web Services

In world more and more connected, Web Services and SOAP standards have been developed to address needs to exchange information irregardless of the system on which it is available. A Web Service is a “public” interface to a business operation that is exposed in a standardized way.

Other standards are developed as needs arise, such as WS-Addressing, WS-ReliableMessaging or WS-Security, and software vendors implement those in order to provide more features.

Such features are usually advertised in service interfaces so that provider and consumer can agree on levels of functionality and automatically adjust interactions. For instance, a service provider may offer a secure version of its services but still allow non-secure consumers to see and use a scaled-down version of the same services, even though they do not implement the full stack of security standards.

The standard that combines Global Transactions and Web Services is WS-AtomicTransaction or WS-AT. Consider the example below:


Each of the different actors in this use-case may be housed in completely different organizations, with their own software, networks and databases. Using Web Services standards ensures that the applications will communicate with each other despite potentially using different software vendors, having different software life-cycles and so on.

The SALT gateway is a Tuxedo system process that adds Web Services support to Tuxedo applications. Tuxedo services can be exposed as Web Services, or Tuxedo client programs can invoke Web Services seamlessly, that is by making it seem like the Web Services are simply other Tuxedo services.

In that spirit, integrating Tuxedo services with Web Services Atomic Transactions is as simple as changing some elements of configuration:

  • Add a transaction log so a record of prepared transactions is kept, so that in the case of a failure those in-flight transactions can be resolved, usually rolled back but in some cases committed.

  • In the Tuxedo-to-external Web Service direction, associate a standard policy descriptor to instruct the SALT gateway on what to do when a transaction propagation is requested: mandatory or optional propagation, or no propagation at all (no policy present). This policy file will look as follows:

<?xml version="1.0"?>

<wsp:Policy wsp:Name="TransactionalServicePolicy"

    xmlns:wsp="http://schemas.xmlsoap.org/ws/2004/09/policy"

    xmlns:wsat="http://docs.oasis-open.org/ws-tx/wsat/2006/06">

<wsat:ATAssertion wsp:Optional="true"/>

</wsp:Policy>

When exposing a Tuxedo service as a Web Service, the SALT gateway will generate the proper WSDL containing the WS-AT capabilities. A WS-AT transaction will propagate into Tuxedo and the remote side will coordinate it.

When invoking a Web Service, the assertion will be contained in the remote WSDL, and the SALT utilities used to import the Web Service configuration will process those automatically and generate a WS-AT policy file such as seen above. Then when a transaction is started on the Tuxedo side it can be propagated to the outside, and in this case coordinated by Tuxedo.

It is possible to expand existing applications to Web Services, and of course develop new ones, and take advantage of WS-AT by way of the SALT gateway.

Summary

For Oracle Tuxedo, Oracle SALT provides a native Web Services implementation that ties global transactions and Web Services together.

Oracle Tuxedo users are already used to the scalability and high-availability of their applications. Oracle SALT brings Web Services interoperability to Oracle Tuxedo, and does so in a configuration-oriented manner, that is it is not even necessary to modify existing applications or develop new ones in order for them to inter-operate with Web Services. 

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