fredag, augusti 22, 2008

5 Top Products we Acquired from BEA

Having spent the last weeks looking into the products that we got added to our product stack with the acquisition of BEA, I now feel that I'm starting to get a grip on them and can see how they will fit into our product portfolio. So far some of the products feels very strong and I will elaborate a bit on why I think so in this post. So, I'd like to rank the 5 strongest products, in my opinion, that we got from BEA.

#5 Oracle BPM aka AL BPM

This product will certainly fill a gap in our portfolio for creating business process. It will enable you to quickly & efficiently create business processes. It will also assist with the monitoring of them according to KPI, which will assist in improving the processes according to business needs. It does in no way replace our other products for creating processes, like BPEL, for example. Rather it complements it in a very good way.

Sure, there is a danger here that users starts to generate & implement processes on their own, similar to what we see in the database area where users stores business data in spreadsheets or small databases outside of their main databases. One could perhaps compare this risk of generating "process islands" similar to the risk of generating "information islands" for data storage. However, as we will not be able to prevent users from storing data outside of the main databases we will likewise not be able to stop them from creating processes outside of the main SOA architecture, thus we need to be able to provide a good tool for this purpose and this is BPM.

#4 WebLogic Server

You might be a bit surprised that I put WebLogic only as number four. The main reason is that WebLogic plays in an area where I think that we already have a very strong product. For sure, WebLogic is a darn good Application Server too, but we got other products from BEA that imho better fills gaps in our product portfolio, thus WebLogic only ends up in spot four.

The two main things like about WebLogic, and where I think that Oracle AS could be better, is in administration and JMS. The administration tools for WebLogic I find superior to the ones we provide with Oracle AS. The concept of the administration server, which you use to push configuration out to the managed servers is very nice, and will ensure that all servers in a cluster has the same configuration. This was not so easy to do in Oracle AS. Also I find the JMS implementation in WebLogic superior to the one we have in Oracle AS, however, I will not go into the details in this post about this.

There are a few things that I like in Oracle AS, that WebLogic don't have, for example that ability to run the OC4J container standalone just to mention one.

#3 AL Data Services Platform

Also perhaps a surprise. In this case it's not so much the product itself, it's rather the area that it's targeting that is interesting. As of today the common way of writing software is in a three-tier architecture: GUI-Middleware-Database. I believe that this will change in the near future and that we will see that four-tier architectures will become more and more common where we introduce a data & computing grid between the middleware and the database, so that we will look into architectures that looks like: GUI-Middleware-Grid-Database.

We already have a few products in our product stack that targets this domain, like ODI and Coherence. But we still miss a few pieces to be able to provide a complete stack of products for this domain and here is where the functionality from the Data Services Platform comes into the picture. WebLogic perhaps provides a better choice for an existing product, while DSP provides us with functions that will be crucial for the next big thing. That is why DSP is higher on my list.

#2 Tuxedo

Before the middleware era, C, C++ and Cobol were the common languages for accessing the Oracle database. When Oracle entered the middleware area it was all Java, Java and some more Java. Sure, we provide modules for Pearl & PHP, but Java is THE middleware language in the Oracle stack. I guess the C & Cobol developers may have felt a bit stepmotherly treated along the road. That is, until now.

Tuxedo can be described as a middleware platform for C, C++ and Cobol. Sure, developers for these languages have previously had the option to license Tuxedo from BEA, but to have it in-house is imho a big bonus for Oracle. This will hopefully give the large group of people developing in C, C++ and Cobol the message that they are not forgotten by Oracle. It will also show that Java is no longer the only option that we provide for developing middleware.

#1 JRockit

Before the buy of BEA we could provide all pieces of software, from the operating system to the developer IDE, except for one piece; a JDK. With BEA we now have JRockit, however, this is not the main reason why it is on the number spot on my list.

The Liquid VM version of JRockit will enable you to run Java applications directly on top of a virtual machine without any operating system. This is a very cool feature that will boost many Java applications. Still, this is neither the reason why JRockit ends up in the number one spot.

The reason I have JRockit on place number one is the Real Time version of JRockit. This will enable users to run their Java applications with minimal and deterministic interruption for garbage collection. This is a very crucial feature for existing Java applications that needs to be highly performing, but even more important will the combination of JRockit RT and Coherence be. This combination will enable Java developers to write the next generation of Java applications that will perform on the same level as C / C++ applications. This is something that has been missing in the Java world for a long, long time. Hence, JRockit ends up in my number one spot.

onsdag, augusti 20, 2008

Coherence 3.4 Developer Pre-Release 2 Available

The Coherence 3.4 developer pre-release 2 is now available for download. Please note that this release is only available via Oracle MetaLink for customers with CSI numbers.

Please refer to the release notes for a full list & complete details on the new features

To obtain the Oracle Coherence 3.4 Developer Pre-Release 2 product, logon to MetaLink and lookup Note 732071.1 and follow the directions.

måndag, augusti 18, 2008

BPA, BPEL & BPM. Jungle or a Wide Open Road?

We (Oracle) provide several tools within the business process design & development area. Also, with the acquisition of BEA we got even more tools to add to our product stack. At a first glance this might be a bit confusing and it also might appear as there are some overlaps between the different tools, however, if you look a little deeper you will find that there is a place for each of these tools within your arsenal for creating business processes.

Let's start by have a quick glance at the players, whom they are and what they are do before we do a more throughout comparison between them.

To start with, the players are: Oracle Business Process Analysis Suite, Oracle BPM Suite.

Oracle Business Process Analysis Suite
This is the architects' tool. It includes support for process modeling and simulation which makes this a key component of the business process lifecycle. It provides a graphical modeling environment for defining process maps and detailed process flows consisting of both human and automated steps. It also supports data modeling, organizational modeling, impact analysis and rich report generation. Through simulation, you can quickly determine the performance of the process under certain hypothetical conditions. The Business Process Architect Quick Start Guide
is a good place to learn more about this tool.

Oracle BPM Suite
This is a software suite that integrates all phases of the BPM lifecycle (modeling, implementation, execution and monitoring). It will provide the user with an end-to-end tool for all aspects of the business process lifecycle. It is also very suitable to process development according to agile ideas.

Oracle BPEL Process Manager
The Oracle BPEL PM tool will enable to user to create processes that adhere to the BPEL standard. It consists of both a design time and a runtime environment. The design time environment is integrated into Oracle JDeveloper and the BPEL PM runtime is highly performing and can be installed on top the most common application servers.

So, after introducing the players, let's have a deeper look into when to use each of these tools by using some examples.

Example 1
Acme Inc. is entering the world of SOA. They will replace or integrate all their current processes into a single SOA strategy. Ron is an architect that has been given the task to model this new SOA strategy. Which of the above tools would be most appropriate for Ron to use?

Example 2
Karen is a department manger who also is quite technical. She work for a company that promotes empowerment quite heavily, and she has quite lot of flexibility of how she runs the day to day business of her department. Today she manually handles the holiday requests of her staff using mail and a spreadsheet; however, she would like to automate the process somehow. The company does not have a generic holiday approval process; it is up to each manager to handle, which is in line with their ideas on empowerment. Which of the above tools would be the best for Karen to use to automate this process?

Example 3
John is a software engineer that has been given the task to implement an order entry process. The process has already been designed and he has been given the blueprint. The process is very crucial to the business of the company and needs to be available 24*7, thus it will be deployed in a HA environment. Which of the above tools would be the best for John to use?

Well, the answers might be obvious to the you, however, they should give you an idea on where each of the tools in the Oracle BPM stack can help you with various aspects of your process modeling & creation.

Oh, I almost forgot, the answers. In Example 1 the Oracle BPA Suite is the obvious choice. In Example 2, most people would go for Oracle BPM Suite as this will help with all phases of the BPM lifecycle. Example 3 would be an example on where to use Oracle BPEL Process Manager as you have High Availability requirements.

fredag, augusti 15, 2008

Summer Recap

Coming back from the holiday, I've noticed that several interesting things have happened with my domain of interest. So, I'd thought I'd make a recap over some of the stuff that's happened.

BEA Acquisition

I guess no one has missed this. For those of us working in the Middleware area I believe that this is really good news. For sure, some of the products do have an overlap, but what's more important is that the BEA stack will fill in some of the gaps that I think we have had in the past in our middleware stack. I won't dwell more on this now, but will get back with more details in later posts. Most of the information about Oracle & BEA can be found here.

One link that I'd just like to highlight is the Partner Frequently Asked Questions (quite obvious as I'm working with our strategic partners...).

New Products

As always, being away for a few weeks will give a list of new and interesting products to use. Here is a short list of some of the highlights in my opinion: