AIA – Application Integration Architecture

This week I went to the SOA Forum in Lisbon which was really interesting because I was able to discuss the different features of ODI, SCA, BPA, AIA, … with other partners and of course Oracle.

The AIA presentation was really great because now I got an in depth view of the amazing features and development that has been done by the Apps people.

AIA now delivers SOA integration to all the Apps people so your available to integrate with Siebel, SAP, … using Process Integration Packs, the so called PIPs. These packs include the needed services, data, error-handling, validation-logic etc. to be able to integrate your E-business Suite application to third-party clients.

What struck me the most was that a lot features should be made available to the SOA community as well, the fusion middleware stack so to say.

What are these amazing features that should be promoted to the fusion middleware stack:

  • Enterprise Business Object : The EBO is being used within AIA to describe the true business objects (such as customer, product, …) in a standardized way. Through using these objects any services can retreive the payload and messages in a standardized way and integration is garantied in a loosely-coupled way.
  • Enterprise Business Services : The EBS can be seen as the black dot in the middle that handles the payloads of 3-party applications and transforms your 3-party messages into standard EBO’s.
  • Application Business Connectivity Service : ABC is the important part inside the PIP’s (Process Integration Packs) which will handle the interfacing with SAP, PeopleSoft, Siebel, … and respond with a standardized payload, namely the EBO to your EBS. => This connector can be seen as the Adapters you’re already familiair with within Enterprise Service Bus and BPEL.
  • Composite Application Validation System and Composite Application Error Management and Resolution : enables you to test and simulate your integration services without the need for the whole architecture to be in place. No need for a Siebel-EBS dev, test, q&a and production environment, just test and simulate your processes using the AIA-validation and error packs. The error handling has been augmented so error messages are exchanged in a standardized way and the wright application and the wright user are notified in real-time. This validation logic and error handling could be a true value asset for the Fusion Middleware Market as well, which could just be a service offered by the SCA, by the composite.
  • BSR = Business Service Repository, which is an extension on the already existing UDDI but is an answer to the common need for higher-level repositories for models and objects. The UDDI as we know it today only serves as a repository for services which are specific to applications. By taking this to the next level, the customer can now offer a portfolio of solutions instead of a portfolio of services. The BSR will act as a catalog of objects, messages and services that compose the integration scenarios.

AIA has tackled big integration issues already … and the fusion of apps and middleware will be the next level?

Oracle Open World – Keynote Charles Phillips

This morning a Keynote was given by Charles Phillips, President of Oracle Corporation. In this keynote Charles Phillips gave us an insight on the vision of Oracle and the strategy in marketting this vision throughout it’s customers, partners and of course software offering.

Each Challenge was tackled by the different Oracle Offerings there are today.

CEO Challenge:
The CEO of a company needs to integrate different kinds of applications and once in the boardroom he needs to be able to point all noses in the same direction, the direction of ROI.

This Integration-challenge can be tackled by the new Application Integration Architecture offering of Oracle. Through a demo we saw how this challenge was tackled using Webcenter dashboard as a centralized view-point, JDeveloper as the integrated Development Environment and BPA which was used for the full round-tripping of business analysis and development.

Using this Oracle Technology offering, the AIA, the CEO can integrate his existing Siebel, SAP, Financials or CRM applications in a unified, uniform and more-over standardized way.

CFO Challenge:
The Chief Financial Officer has other concerns such as governance and risk management to keep in mind throughout the different processes in his/her company. How can Oracle offer a solution to this common problem, faced within every company that has a diversity of policies and rules to adhere to.

The Oracle Governance & Risk Competence Manager:
Through this manager the CFO has a one-stop view to control the different policies which are defined throughout the organisation. If a certain rule is being violated, the Manager will show up a red light and in 1 step the CFO can change/adapt the policy rules so the company’s back on track.
This manager uses a centralized content repository and enforces the policies at runtime using the Active Apps Policies Suite.


Another Security-stack being offerd by Oracle entails the Database Vault and Audit Vault to secure as well data as audit data in an Integrated Security Stack.


Engineering & Manufacturing Manager:
The engineering and manufacturing manager has a lot of challenges as well, such as keeping insight on the product stock and having the ability bto manage the entire product lifecycle without any delay.

Oracle offers ‘Oracle Agile PLM’ to tackle all of these requirements, the Oracle Product Lifecycle Management Technology Stack.


In the demo we saw that the manager had a centralized view on all the needed data using Webcenter dashboard and a Shared Content System.
The webcenter dashboard could be hooked up with third-party legacy applications through adapters and uses XML standards based messaging for this purpose.

Operations Challenge, Gaining Actionable Insight:
The operations challenge every administrator, manager is facing today: act when necessary!
If a glitch has occured during a business process lifecycle, a product is out of stock, an order hasn’t been processed correctly, if a given manager hasn’t updated his tasks-lists, in other words when a bottleneck is being introduced inside the company … we need to be able to act!



Through the usage of Enterprise Performance Management Workspace, BI Enterprise Edition and the Action Framework we can act upon these glitches immediatly.

Through the Enterprise Performance Management Workspace, we have a real-time view on the business processes in our company, and act when necessary.

The Action Framework gives us the possibility to interate transactions, historical data and tasks so were able to act correctly given we have all the needed data to provide with an accurate view on our current business.

Through the usage of Packaged BI Applications (Financial Package, Operations Package, CRM Package), the customer can purchase thed package which is measured for his/her company.

How can we manage these heterogenous environments?
Enterprise Manager Services Dashboard gives us the capability of monitoring and administrating the different services which are running inside our business.
The EMSD gives a follow-up on as well the business as the system metrics in our organisation.

Through this EMSD we can enable Real Application Clustering at runtime, without downtime.

Oracle Open World – New Integration Solution Offering

Sunday morning I went to a session regarding Application Integration Architecture, the new Oracle integration-solution offering.

The session was given by Selim Burduroglu of the IOUG Group.

During this session Selim was going to explain the SOA and Integration strategy of Oracle.
The goal : Nothing proprietary in AIA or SOA Suite, every technology, layer, approach is standards-based.

As you would have noticed already in the different presentations given by Oracle regarding Oracle Soa Suite or Oracle Application Server => the main goal is: pick your flavor ;o) You can choose any Application Server you want, any database you want …

The Application Integration Architecture proposal holds 5 different tiers, from top-to-bottom:
- Integrated UI Tier (J2EE (webcenter, adf), apex, Forms)
- Process Tier
(Process Integration Packs-offering)
- Virtual Service Tier (Services
Repository)
- Data Management Tier (Oracle Data Integrator)
- Application Tier (Oracle Apps, legacy or third party applications)

Now what is a PIP, a Process Integration Pack exactly: the PIP holds all the needed logic, adapters, processes, business objectsd, business services for a given business requirement. To give you an example: you want to integratie Siebel with your existing services, which can be a bpel process, a webservice, well this is all packaged in a given PIP.

What are the Common Objects & Services being delivered with AIA:
- Enterprise Business Object: an object that describes your common data model throughout the business in a unified way (an xsd)
- Enterprise Business Service (EBS): A service that interacts with your business object, transforms and routes to other EBSes where necessary
- Services Repository / Enterprise Service Repository: A catalog of all the different business processes/services which are inside your company’s portfolio.

The Enterprise Business Object (EBO) can be described in any given format used by your businerss analyst or architects, such as UML Class Diagrams, …

In the AIA the Application Business Connector Services will map the Enterprise Business Object to an Application Object used by partners, third-party applications which will transparently transform the data to your needs.

In this AIA Oracle also offers the needed tools and methodology to guide you through the entire development lifecycle.

Tools:
- Business Services Repository for SOA Governance
- Composite Application Validation Systems to provide the needed unit- and regression testing throughout your application integration lifecycle
- Common Error Handling & Diagnostics

No Unified versioning mechanism is made available yet in this release, but my comment has been noted ;o)

Methodology:
- AIA Developers Guide which gives you a blue print on the process definition, integration standards, design patterns and extensions you can define.