Saturday, December 11, 2010

Musings about Oracle SOA Suite 11G

A little over a year ago I undertook a project to migrate a customer of mine from Cape Clear to a new solution. The solution chosen was Oracle Fusion Middleware and more specifically we settled on the Oracle SOA Suite 11G. With no training, great assistance by Oracle Product Management and lot of trial and error we were able to get SCA composites with BPEL components developed within a 1.5-2 month time frame. Like most SOA Platforms, the secret was not so much in the development but more so in the runtime and tuning. Like most BPEL engines, this one was no different in that the Database and its proper configuration required great effort on the part of Oracle support and my clients DBA and WLS experts. The migration took approximately 10 months. So what did I learn?

- Development with Web Service standards is a significant time saver.
- We struggled with where the rubber meets the road.
-- JMS Adapter configuration within the container to integrate to a non-certified JMS Provider.
-- Oracle RAC Tuning and Configuration for SOA Suite specifically
-- WLS Tuning and Configuration for SOA Suite specifically

So in the end migration if planned properly can be done, but always leave extra time for the tuning and performance testing.

Oracle vs. Open Source

With all the clients we work with, HKM has to be flexible to meet their budgetary needs. Some of our clients will have enterprise agreements and others are just starting. To this end, open source is the defacto starting point for many. Over the next several months I will be diving into the Apache solutions to a take another peak at the most recent Apache CXF, Camel and Ode. I am specifically interested in Ode to see how it has progressed from when I tried it 2 years ago and how close these solutions are to Oracle SOA Suite and other traditional vendors.

Monday, November 22, 2010

Oracle SOA Suite 11G, JmsAdapter and Sonic MQ Topics

Recently we were working with a customer who needed to integrate SOA Suite to Progress Sonic MQ and specifically topics that were hosted. The first step with Oracle is to edit the JmsAdapter.rar configuration (specifically weblogic-ra.xml) to point at Sonic MQ. Sonic


Having integrated to Sonic Queue(s) in the past, we were running into an issue where the SOA Suite cluster was picking up the message for each node within the cluster and was unaware of initially how to solve this. A simple solution was identified and specifically it was within the jDeveloper JmsAdapter Wizard. The following image shows the "Durable Subscriber Id". By simply specifying a value here, the cluster is only allowed to consume one message from the topic.

Sunday, March 21, 2010

Oracle XPath issues

Currently I have been migrating BPEL for a client using Oracle SOA Suite and ran into incompatibilities between and A simple example that worked in and not in the latest patched released is a simple evaluation where I am trying to confirm the existence of an element in a message.

<bpws:getVariableData("message","part","/element/element")> = true()

The same statement also works in Cape Clear ESB and its BPEL implementation.

One workaround that I used was to count the nodes using the Oracle XPath Advanced Functions:

ora:countNodes("message","part","/element/element") > 0

I am working with Oracle support services to see how this can be resolved in the code base.

Open Cloud Manifesto and Standardization

The Open Cloud Manifesto provides a solid definition of the state of cloud computing. Just like other industry movements in distributed computing, enterprise integration or other, cloud computing is evolving in many different directions but the core patterns and architecture of outsourced infrastructure, platforms and software supporting elasticity, multi-tenancy, metering etc.

The hope of the manifesto and other cloud computing standards/organization, standardization in the areas of deployment, execution and management are desirable. When standards exist, it allows us to focus on generating business logic and the value it provides versus the technical wiring and potential workarounds necessary. Just like Web Services and the standards they developed over the past 10 years, I envision cloud computing will take a similar period of time to clarify and flush out the details that can be standardized.

The one area that has traction is support for REST/SOAP based APIs. In fact as companies develop private clouds and potentially expose them as to the public, other architectures such as SOA become important in providing concise and clear interfaces to business logic.

Monday, February 15, 2010

Wiseclouds: Eating the Dog Food

As part of our development of WiseClouds, it is important that we demonstrate our agnostic nature in evolving the company and its technologies. The site itself is a Google Apps Engine based with integrations into and Amazon EC2. We will also include Azure in the future along with WordPress for blogging services. This simple example allows us to demonstrate the use of PaaS, IaaS and Saas.

Wiseclouds is out

As part of my own transformation to work with customers in new and interesting ways, I am collaborating with a team at WiseClouds to bring cloud computing training and consulting to a wider audience. Similar and yet different then SOA, Cloud means many things but is already proving its value in a few customers I work with and is on many a tongue in IT.

Anyway, check out what we are working towards which is generating very useful training content along with a group of experienced practitioners in Service and Cloud Computing technologies.

Monday, January 18, 2010

Cloud Computing begins but beware of the bill!

Per Gartner and other research organizations, customers have gotten familiar to the Adoption curve slide as part of state of the union for a technology segment. Cloud Computing in its various flavors (SaaS, IaaS and PaaS) has hit main street or in Gartner parlance is with the Early Adopters. Organizations that adopted SaaS (i.e., Workday) realized the financial benefits of the pay per subscriber model. Now as the space has rolled out Infrastructure and Platform services, customers are dipping their toe in the water or jumping right in. Some teams are placing functions in the cloud to take advantage of the elasticity features due to the processing volume necessary. Others are rapidly developing applications to fill voids in their technology stack sometimes by the Sales organization or other non-traditional technology. This wild-west period eventually settles down when the rest of the marketplace catches up and Cloud becomes the standard technology medium.

The piece that is daunting right now is the cost that can creep up on you if you are not careful. With billing being an aggregation of the data stored, data shuttled, number of instances, number of connections or other metrics, it gets easy to forget the costs especially if elasticity is enabled in the environment. Similar to mobile data plans, triple play packages, the end of the month bill can be staggering. For now, make sure you not only architect a solution but also the cost models associated with that solution. A good rule of thumb is when developing and testing within the cloud, the costs are quite reasonable. If developing a large scale application that will be running 24x7, be clear on the aggregate costs and talk with the vendor about pricing flexibility.

The following examples provide details from two popular vendors on pricing:

Microsoft Azure Pricing

Amazon Web Services Pricing