The Oracle Australia and New Zealand Middleware and Technology Blog.

Tuesday, August 5, 2008

Oracle/BEA - SOA/BPM Product Strategy

Oracle is lucky to have the luxury of choosing from such a rich set of tools in BPM and SOA. Both Oracle and BEA had leading SOA/BPM infrastructures before the merger that are well represented in terms of market share. Of course there is overlap and difficult decisions need to be made but there are also places where one two products can be merged to create a stronger offering and places where gaps are filled.

By now everyone will no doubt know that WebLogic is the strategic Application Server. The purpose of this blog is to detail how the SOA and BPM related product sets will work going forward. Below is a diagram of the key suites Oracle will go to market with.

Broadly speaking the SOA/BPM offering covers three key areas:
  1. BPM Suite

    This is a business centric tool focusing on the complete lifecycle of business process management. This lifecycle progresses from business process conception (done using BPM modelling in the business domain), followed by IT realisation to make the process executable and auditable and then finally monitoring to measure the effectiveness of the process. The lifecycle can then repeat multiple times as the process is refined.

    As with all Oracle offerings this is offered as a suite called BPM Suite. It is comprised of the following components:

    1. BEA AquaLogic BPM Designer for rapid process definition and translation to IT for implementation

    2. Oracle BPA Suite continues to be used when the needs go beyond the rapid definition of business process models to the more complex requirements of rigorous enterprise business process management.

    3. Oracle BPEL Process Manager and BEA Aqualogic BPM Server will be merged together to form Oracle BPM to handle human and system process management in a single runtime

    4. Oracle Rules Engine will continue to be used for declarative business rule definition

    5. Oracle Business Activity Monitoring will continue to be used to provide realtime dashboards measuring business process performance against SLA’s and KPI’s

    6. Oracle WebCentre will be the strategic process portal

  2. SOA Suite

    BPM requires a SOA infrastructure to run on. Business processes need to access enterprise systems, people and partners. SOA provides the technical layers that enable rapid and agile business processes. For many people (me included) these two layers cannot be separated. You cannot do BEA and Oracle both had highly successful and sophisticated SOA offerings that are being merged together as follows:

      1. Oracle Service Bus is the merging together of Oracel ESB and BEA AquaLogic Service Bus

      2. Oracle BPEL Process Manager continues to provide web service orchestration to create technical business integrations via web service standard approaches

      3. Oracle Data Integrator continues to provide large scale data integration using ETL type approaches

      4. Oracle Complex Event Processor will be integrated with the WebLogic Event Server

      5. Oracle Business Activity Monitoring provides realtime dashboards against the events, processes and services within the SOA

  3. Governance Suite

    Governance is the critical area of how I do the right things in the right way. If SOA exists to enable BPM as many people believe then Governance could be said to be the process of process management. Or in other words what are the steps I go through when I do BPM in order to get a reliable, consistent and quality outcome.

    Governance is an area where the combined Oracle/BEA story becomes much stronger than the sum of the parts. BEA brings a service repository while Oracle brings Web Service Manager for runtime governance as well as an Enterprise Registry. The key components going forward are:

    1. BEA AquaLogic Service Repository becomes the Oracle Service Repository. The Repository is a key product that provides a metadata layer for all services, schemas, processes and other related objects and the relationships between. It allows change impact analysis and sets an organisation up to realise re-use.

    2. Oracle Service Registry continues to be the official UDDI compliant directory

    3. Oracle Web Service Manager continues to provide the ability to apply security and management policies against services and processes. It provides much needed flexibility in service management and decouples service development from service administration.

So there you have it. We at Oracle are very excited about this story. It puts Oracle at the very front of the SOA/BPM infrastructure battle and greatly increases the strength of the offering. The proof of the pudding will be in the eating of course but Oracle is now quite practiced at integrating new acquisitions in. Even in the middleware field there has been quite a few. It’s true that this is not just another acquisition but at the same time the pragmatic but decisive approach taken offers the best of both worlds moving forward.


Kalle Pokkinen said...

Is there a timeline for the completion of the integration of the "will be integrated" and "will be merged" products in the stack?

If a customer would start today working with a selection of these products, should an Oracle or BEA product be selected when faced with a "will be integrated" statement to guarantee the least amount of change after the product integration?

Noons said...

"This is a business centric tool focusing on the complete lifecycle of business process conception in the business domain using BPM modelling, IT realisation to make the process executable and auditable and finally monitoring to measure and then go around the loop again to refine and perfect the process."

Can someone please translate all this gobbledeegook to plain English, understandable by anyone?
A little bit of punctuation might help?

Saul Cunningham said...

Good question Kalle and one that comes up a bit.

The full integration will occur in Fusion Middleware 11g. It will be released in the second half of 2009.

Having said that all products in the "will be integrated and merged" category will continue to be developed and released for AT LEAST 9 years! This means that existing customers of these products can continue to use, buy, and leverage their investment for at least 9 years. This means they will fully realise the project payback timelines that they aimed for even if they bought these products only recently.

Planning on moving to the strategic products can occur at the customers own desired pace and migration tools will provide ease of transition. The heavy use of standards make this much easier than it would in proprietary ebvironments.

As for what to choose right now it depends on your circumstances. If you are green fields in terms of these products then go with the strategic ones. If you have an investment in a strategic product then its happy days - continue. Those two options would seem to be fairly logical. If you however have a strong investment in one that is not strategic feel free to continue as you have a long 9 year product horizon to work within. However start to plan a transition at some point knowing that Oracle will be providing tools to assist you.

Hope that answers your question.

Saul Cunningham said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Saul Cunningham said...

Hi Noons,

thanks for doing a syntax check for me ;)

I have updated the statement and hopefully it is a little more clear. For a picture of what I am describing see this older post.

As you can see there are three tools that together let us define, create and monitor a business process. The definition stage occurs in a Business Analysis tool used by a BA. The design artifacts of this step are given as a process template to the developer in the second step. The developer wires up this process template to the applications and databases, people and business partners that the process co-ordinates. The final step is to use a Business Activity Monitoring tool to measure the process performance against SLA's and KPI's.

Thanks for stopping by.