Thursday Jan 15, 2015

2 Minute Tech Tip: Industrial SOA

Why is Industrial SOA important for your SOA 12c project - Watch the video here.

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Thursday Jul 31, 2014

Industrial SOA Articles

Industrial SOA is a 13-part article series focused on service orientation, written collaboratively by a group of recognized experts and community leaders in service oriented architecture. Send us your feedback @twitter/soacommunity #industrialSOA. "SOA and service-orientation have laid the foundation for a variety of emergent service technology innovations such as cloud computing and big data, while the original building blocks of SOA and service-orientation continue to evolve by embracing fundamental service technologies, concepts and practices." All articles have been published at the Service Technology Magazine and the Oracle Technology Network.

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Saturday May 17, 2014

Cloud Computing and SOA – Part of the Industrial SOA article series

Cloud Computing Hype
Why is everyone talking about cloud computing? Drawn-out, expensive IT projects that are planned and implemented without any benefits for the business stakeholders are commonplace. In contrast, cloud computing offers business users the chance to immediately implement services with usage-based billing that are tailored to their requirements, often without the need to consult with the IT department.

However, aspects like security, architecture, availability, and standards are often not evaluated. Cloud consumers find themselves at the mercy of the cloud provider. Scenarios that require changing cloud providers after a cloud provider goes bankrupt, and the associated moving of data and/or applications, have not yet been sufficiently tested. Business continuity should play a key role from the start of a cloud evaluation process.

One of the greatest challenges here is the integration of existing data and systems into the cloud solution. Without integration spanning between clouds and on-premise systems, processes can only be executed in isolation, leading to cloud-specific silos of isolated solutions. Important information for users is not available across processes and systems.

Problems that would have occurred in the company's internal IT are now shifted to the cloud provider. To prevent "legacy clouds" or solutions that are hard to maintain, it is important to manage the entire architecture proactively and, in particular, the integration into the cloud. Even if cloud providers want us to believe otherwise, not every aspect of IT can be outsourced to cloud solutions!

Share your comments and feedback on the Industrial SOA series by using the hashtag #industrialSOA. Read the full article at the Service Technology Magazine or Oracle Technology Network. Missed an article of the Industrial SOA series visit the overview at OTN.

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For regular information on Oracle SOA Suite become a member in the SOA & BPM Partner Community for registration please visit www.oracle.com/goto/emea/soa (OPN account required) If you need support with your account please contact the Oracle Partner Business Center.

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Monday Apr 21, 2014

SOA and Business Processes: You are the Process! Part of the Industrial SOA article series

Business Process Management is a management discipline that thrives to improve process performance. If done right, BPM leads to appealing, user-friendly processes that provide information about productivity, that measure performance and that illustrate the potential for improvement while indicating the exact location in the overall process that potentially benefits from one of various process optimization strategies.

To deal with the complexity of modeling a company's business processes, business analysts proceed hierarchically and begin by describing a value chain (process level 0) through several levels of processes, until they reach a level on which they depict a detailed description of the activities of process participants. Figure 1 gives an overview of BPM with a figure for each modeling technology and the interaction with SOA services.

We see that Business Process Management and SOA go hand in hand: SOA enables BPM.

Figure 1: BPM and SOA: the bigger picture

At the highest level of the process hierarchy, the functional process blocks for end-to-end processes that potentially span departments in the overall organization are described in a high level, very abstract and coarse grained language, like IDS Scheer value chains. There is no branching, but they do include the most important business goals, ideally expressed as KPIs and other organizational aspects, such as assigning steps to departments.

At the next levels, the process steps are described hierarchically, with the level of detail increasing downward. This is done today in the lingua franca for business process models, Business Process Management and Notation (BPMN). Here the process participants or players in a process are represented as "swim lanes," which contain the process steps that are assigned to this participant.

At a middle hierarchical level (levels 1-3), the process participants are still included relatively roughly through the organizational units, such as the "Purchasing" department.

If you drill down deeper into the process details, you reach the fine-grained level (level 4), at which the activities of the process are represented through automatic system interactions via services and through human interactions These steps that are performed by individuals are called "human tasks." Tasks are specified through process participants in their task lists. The sequences within a task can be modeled and listed in detail in an enterprise portal as "page flows." Examples of human tasks are: Read the complete article here.

Share your comments and feedback on the Industrial SOA series by using the hashtag #industrialSOA. Read the full article at the Service Technology Magazine or Oracle Technology Network. Missed an article of the Industrial SOA series visit the overview at OTN.

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Sunday Apr 06, 2014

MDM and SOA: Be Warned! part of Industrial SOA series

Introduction "You will waste your investment in SOA unless you have enterprise information that SOA can exploit." – Gartner

This quote from Gartner, Inc. describes the relationship between service-oriented architecture (SOA) and master data management (MDM) very vividly. An essential principle behind SOA is the reuse of components and the flexibility of using these components to support new functionalities or processes. MDM provides universal components (or services) for consistent data maintenance and distribution. Here the architecture concepts and principles of SOA run into MDM.

This article begins by giving a brief motive for using MDM and a conceptualization. It will then go on to present typical variants for possible MDM architecture concepts, and illustrate the interplay of MDM and SOA with reference to the architecture pattern.

Motive
Increasing pressure from competition means that business models and underlying business processes have to be adapted in ever shorter cycles. At the same time, globalization and the digital networking of companies are making interaction with external business partners even more complex. Securely exchanging high-quality data is crucial for increasing efficiency in processes. This is where the central issue, the quality of information, and therefore its security in transactions, evaluations, and reports, all stem from. Once a company is no longer in a position to provide a consistent and consolidated view of its central business objects, implementing a company-wide policy for master data management becomes a good idea.

Unfortunately, in many companies today it is common for IT systems to be unable to keep up with fast changes in organization, business, and even technology. As a result, on the companies' side, a vast, ever-growing web of IT systems with known integration problems comes into being. This heterogeneity accounts for a variety of challenges when using master data that include differences in:

  • imgdata structures and formats in master data
  • specifications and understanding of the master data values in the participating organizational units
  • validations and plausibilities (data quality)
  • processes and responsibilities concerning data sovereignty (data governance)
  • business processes with partially conflicting functionalities in the application systems
  • organizational units that have different systems for master data maintenance

Read the complete article here. Share your comments and feedback on the Industrial SOA series by using the hashtag #industrialSOA. Read the full article at the Service Technology Magazine or Oracle Technology Network. Missed an article of the Industrial SOA series visit the overview at OTN.

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Friday Feb 07, 2014

Event-Driven SOA part of Industrial SOA series

imgAbstract: If we consider real companies and their business transactions, we see that the real world is not really service-driven at all, but much more event-driven. A new customer is created in the system, a new car reservation is made, a vehicle is returned or needs to be taken to the shop. All of these "functions" can be supported by services, but often also by precisely defined process chains.

However, complex business processes can rarely be automated "in one piece," as the real exceptions and dependencies of diverse business processes are highly dynamic. That brings us to the point where the concept of "event" becomes useful in our architectures. In this article, we therefore want to shine light on event-driven architectures and tie them into our current argumentation chains in SOA.

Dealing with Business Events
Most companies now collect business-relevant information by aggregating available data. As a rule, this is in the domain of data warehouses which condense information a follow-up to preceding events. Here the focus is directly on the data and not on the process information, which is actually much more interesting. We miss out on the ability to process business information in near-realtime, which would allow the company management to react much more quickly to events as they occur. The discipline of business intelligence is developing rapidly in order to take this issue into account. In the following, we want to consider the underlying mechanisms, or the events which allow faster reactions to important changes. Read the complete article here.

Share your comments and feedback on the Industrial SOA series by using the hashtag #industrialSOA. Read the full article at the Service Technology Magazine or Oracle Technology Network. Missed an article of the Industrial SOA series visit the overview at OTN.

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For regular information on Oracle SOA Suite become a member in the SOA & BPM Partner Community for registration please visit www.oracle.com/goto/emea/soa (OPN account required) If you need support with your account please contact the Oracle Partner Business Center.

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Friday Jan 17, 2014

SOA in Real Life: Mobile Solutions part of the Industrial SOA article series

ind-soa-mobile-fig02Abstract: Any place, any time: the old promise from the dotcom age has never been more relevant. With the release of the iPhone, Apple set off a huge amount of hype. Many people now have a laptop with broadband Internet connection and/or WLAN or UMTS Internet access. Yet these devices are still too large, too awkward, and take too long to boot up to be usable at any time. On the other hand, almost everyone has a smartphone these days, making them more mobile than ever in today's economy.

Smartphones are enormously practical and are becoming more and more powerful. They are generally very easy to operate, can be used almost anywhere, and the mobile web is becoming both faster and cheaper. App stores are shooting up everywhere and new functions can be installed with a single click. As the saying has it: "There's an app for everything."

The use of built-in sensors provides for entirely new possibilities such as Google Maps integration, location-based services, augmented reality, etc. Built-in cameras are becoming more and more powerful and are often used as a second compact camera. Video telephony is becoming more common - not just on Skype, now long-established, but also through Apple Facetime. The speed of innovation is tremendous.

Use Cases

A very high percentage of apps are games, followed by information systems that are mainly of interest to private users. These information systems are making increased use of the built-in functions on the mobile device. For example, the system identifies my location via GPS and can provide me with information via a personalized localization. Using the integrated camera one can scan a barcode and run a price comparison through the system. Previously unthinkable "Star Trek" technology is now (almost) a reality. Soon we will have combined tricorders/communicators/tablets in a single device.

More and more companies are viewing mobile solutions as a means by which to accelerate processes, incorporate external partners more easily into processes, and lower their own process costs. We are already using numerous examples for B2C services such as booking flights by cell phone, tracking packages, and finding out delivery dates and opening hours. To optimize these functions for your own company, creative ideas are required: How can I increase customer loyalty? While B2C applications are already spreading very rapidly and probably represent the core business of all non-game apps, B2B is developing only slowly. One of the central questions here is how additional services can be offered to the business partner. According to Gartner, top growth areas include location-based services, social networks, mobile search, mobile commerce, mobile cash, context-aware services, object recognition, mobile instant messaging, mobile e-mail, and mobile video. Read the complete article here.

The articles are and will be published at OTN and the Service Technology Magazine.

Send us your feedback Twitter @twitter/soacommunity #industrialSOA

Jürgen KressHajo NormannClemens Utschig-UtschigTorsten WinterbergDanilo SchmiedelGuido Schmutz

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Wednesday Dec 18, 2013

SOA and User Interfaces (UI) part of Industrial SOA series

Overcoming the challenges to developing user interfaces in a service oriented architecture.

Part of the Industrial SOA article series

Abstract: The interaction between user-interfaces and services in an Service Oriented Architecture is an often-neglected topic. This article focuses on the particular challenges that need to be overcome when creating user-interfaces while entire process chains have to be called and interacted with. After outlining some general architectural considerations, the authors describe a practical application of Thomas Erl's UI Mediator pattern that will be accompanied by their own technical experience.

Introduction

In the simplest scenario, a user's interaction with a business process consists of initiating the process and awaiting the result. However, processes very rarely run completely automatically, meaning human intervention in a process cycle is an important requirement. The WS-HumanTask specification can fulfill this requirement in the SOA environment. A standardized API that is defined for a workflow service can be used to fill a mailbox with tasks. If the process automation language BPEL is used, the BPEL4People specification defines how this mailbox functionality can be used directly in the process cycle by means of the WS-Human Task. Of course, this is possible from BPMN, too.

For example, if manual approval or the input of additional data is needed during a process cycle, the process can determine the correct actor and deposit the task in their mailbox via the task service. The HumanTask service provides a Web service API for this functionality. The users receive the entries in their mailbox and process the pending tasks sequentially, while the process resumes its work in the background.

Human Interaction & Mailboxes

This solution concept is flawless from a technical viewpoint, but its handling is unfamiliar to many users. Workflows can even be perceived as disruptive for short processes that lack role changes, since conventional data-driven application systems can provide immediate responses without detouring to a mailbox. Process control is embedded in the interface control.

Users are their own process masters when such conventional applications are used, whereas a mailbox-supported solution subjects the users to the restrictions of a prescribed process.

Anyone designing classic BPMN or BPEL processes with mailbox interaction understands that users will be faced with a long list of tasks in their mailbox, which often require mechanical and repetitive interactions. Nowadays, many technical departments are aware of this issue, and provide assistance to the users whose daily processes need their requirements recorded.

With the advent of SOA and loose coupling, work processes are further automated and process control is gradually shifted to the back-end. Excessively close coupling of processes and interfaces should be avoided, since processes can also be subject to frequent adaptations due to flexibility. Decoupling via the mailbox is generally the most effective solution.

Read the full article in the Service Technology Magazine or at OTN.

Share your comments and feedback on the Industrial SOA series by using the hashtag #industrialsoa.

SOA & BPM Partner Community

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Thursday Nov 07, 2013

Understanding Service Compensation part of Industrial SOA series

imgSome of the most important SOA design patterns that we have successfully applied in projects will be described in this article. These include the Compensation pattern and the UI mediator pattern, the Common Data Format pattern and the Data Access pattern. All of these patterns are included in Thomas Erl's book, "SOA Design Patterns", and are presented here in detail, together with our practical experiences. We begin our "best of" SOA pattern collection with the Compensation pattern.

Compensation is required in error situations in an SOA, as multiple atomic service operations cannot generally be linked with classic transactions this would violate the principle of loose coupling. An error situation of this sort will occur, particularly if service operations are combined into processes or new services during orchestration or by applying the Composite pattern, and the transaction bracket has to be expanded as a result. We need mechanisms to undo the effects of individual services (the status changes in the overall system) and to ensure that a consistent system state is maintained at all times, so as to preserve system integrity. For the Compensation pattern, we would like to address the following questions: Why is compensation important in relation to SOA? How is the topic of compensation linked with the topic of transactions? What are the challenges with regard to compensation... Read the full article in the Service Technology Magazine or at OTN.

Share your comments and feedback on the Industrial SOA series by using the hashtag #industrialsoa.

Missed an article of the Industrial SOA series visit the overview at OTN.

SOA & BPM Partner Community

For regular information on Oracle SOA Suite become a member in the SOA & BPM Partner Community for registration please visit www.oracle.com/goto/emea/soa (OPN account required) If you need support with your account please contact the Oracle Partner Business Center.

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