woensdag 28 april 2010

Oracle BPM 11G, less is more

Oracle has just launched the 'new' Business Process Management Suite (BPMN). Though special as it is, it has just been announced as a patch set of the Fusion Middleware stack. There is a reason for that. Oracle has been working now for years to implement the vision of creating a product stack that is based upon Complete, Open and Integrated. Opportunity driven but still with this clear vision in mind, and aimed at supporting the Application part of Oracle. This resulted in a continuous stream of software companies being taken over and components added to the stack in order to complete this stack. In order to avoid a mess, Oracle continuously evaluates what product parts are strategic, and advocates reuse to the max. Reuse of components across the Oracle 11G Fusion Middleware stack, like for instance a Database Adapter, is essential. It improves stability and predictability of the solution. BPM just is one of the components plugging into the stack and reuses all other components. Compared to one of its predecessors, BEA BPM, the BPMN product is stripped to its core functionality, less is more!
What is the 'new' BPMN stack? The core of BPMN is based upon the BPMN2.0 specification. The goal is to give one integrated view from architecture all the way to implementation. For every role in the Process life cycle the BPMN stack contains a component, which is more or less connected. All these components can work in unison, but also act separately.

In this blog we’ll detail out the first two phases, Design and Build. In later blogs we’ll elaborate on the other process life cycle phases.

Oracle offers three tools for the design.

Design on Enterprise level is executed by the IDS Scheer ARIS Design Platform. There is currently no connection between ARIS and the rest of the (new) BPMN stack, but it can be expected that Oracle will provide this in the (near) future.

High level process flow design can be done within the browser based Process Composer (Business Analyst type of tool). The Process Composer adds the ability to discuss the shape and structure of a process in a Business user friendly way with a rich set of functionality. This has huge potential for usage in Rapid Design Visualization type of user sessions.

The design can also been done within JDeveloper BPM Studio, which is more suited for developers. Typically this design activity in JDeveloper BPM Studio is done when a solid functional design already exists. Processes and process templates can be shared between Process Composer and the JDeveloper BPM studio.

BPM process development in JDeveloper BPM Studio is created as part of a SCA Composite.
Every component within the SCA composite can be developed in isolation which enables delivery of components by different development teams. This is a big advantage compared to the 'old' BEA BPM tool, where everything was contained in one project. The JDeveloper BPM Studio is very GUI oriented, where you drag-and-drop components on the process canvas. Swim lanes enable to separate Human Tasks, as part of the process, over different user roles. Simulation can help give insight in the behavior of a process, though simulation is an art of its own.
In the next blog we will elaborate on the Build and Deploy phase.

Oracle BPM group Capgemini The Netherlands, Léon Smiers, Alexander Bijl, Gert Jan Kersten
(a repost from Capping IT Off)

dinsdag 2 februari 2010

Larry's doing hardware (again)

Some 20 years ago Larry introduced the first hardware appliance with Oracle, the Network computer, which was aimed at the customer market, to replace the fat clients. As history showed, that was not a very big succes. Even though is was visonair sight twenty years ahead of time, look at the popularity of netbooks (I write this blog for instance on my Asus EEE netbook with which I'm very happy with).

In 2008 Oracle tried again hardware in joined cooperation with HP. The HP Oracle Exadata Server Grid and the Oracle HP Database machine was introduced. This hardware was not aimed at customers but at the high end back-end market. Data Warehouses larger then one Tera Byte get to the problem that the data traffic between the database and the storage server (for instance a SAN) slows down, there is a Data Bandwidth problem. The combined HP Oracle server reduces data going through the pipes, it passes query results and not data disk blocks. It has been tested at different sites with huge data loads, like Amazon, Yahoo and Telco's. In extreme data and processing situations this sounds like a good, and at first sight, cheaper solution. This machine is typically aimed at the large customer market, and therefore not sold in large amounts.

The credo of Oracle is Complete, Open and Integrated. In order to fill in the white space around hardware Oracle finalized last week the deal with Sun, see Oracle-Sun strategy for details. Oracle started some 30 years ago with developing their software on Sun software, so it's like a coming home experience. Oracle is aiming at selling solutions straight from the hardware factory, a machine containing hardware, operating system, database, middleware and applications aimed at a specific market. Oracle is starting with Telco-out-of-the-box. It sounds like an interesting experiment, but still this offer is aimed at the high end customer market. I hope the next move will be aiming at the more common market, selling out-of-the-box middleware or database box. If these machines can contain automatic updates of the database and or middleware, then I'll be happy.


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