Archive for the ‘Conferences’ Category

Troux 2011: Delivering Business Value with Enterprise Architecture

This presentation was given by Richard J. Reese, VP of Enterprise Architecture for Discover Financial Services.

He started by showing some of the Discover “Peggy” commercials (look them up on YouTube, they’re pretty funny) and emphasized that Discover is known for their cash back programs and their customer service.

EA resource allocation at Discover is 35% solution architecture, 24% on governance, standards and frameworks, 2% on innovation and research, 5% on IT strategy planning, and 28% on roadmaps and assessments. Rick recognizes that the emphasis on current projects is an issue. Their challenge is to move from project focus to a strategy focus, generate measurable business value, manage the federated architecture discipline, and change the perception of EA (it had been seen as a roadblock/police force).

Their approach was to build credibility through their IT metadata. They have collected data from a number of different sources throughout the enterprise, integrating it into their EA repository. They had to standardize application names, and worked with internal audit to make it happen. Out of this, they built a number of business models, including ones that mapped the IT metadata to key business capabilities. Business capabilities have short, terse descriptions and they map these to the application that provide them.

Another area for improvement was to streamline their ARB (architecture review board) process. They have a standing weekly meeting where they can tie a product name to an ARB approval number, and they worked with finance to make sure nothing was funded that did not have an ARB approval number. This echoes a previous speaker who encouraged us to follow the money. Make finance/procurement a friend of EA.

They also created an EA value log, capturing value created, costs avoided, and other traditional measures.

Lessons learned:

  • Set an EA strategy with metric based goals
  • Develop credibility through collecting facts
  • Know what works in your culture
  • Find sympathetic partners (e.g. Audit, Risk, Compliance)
  • Invest incrementally
  • Promote successes

Oracle OpenWorld: Larry Ellison Keynote

Full disclosure: I’m attending Oracle OpenWorld courtesy of Oracle.

Larry is now on stage, starting out talking about Linux. Announcing Exadata 2, built in collaboration with Sun. He will then introduce the new product support system that will discover problems in our systems before we do.

Linux: Uptake of Oracle Enterprise Linux has been better than anticipated. Designed to be compatible with RedHat. We then developed our own VM, which is also open source and used by lots and lots of customers. Oracle’s belief is that eventually the VM and the operating system must work exceptionally well together, and must be engineered together. It is extremely useful if the VM has the same management tools as our operating systems. It lowers costs and dramatically improves overall reliability of the system. A survey done by HP asked customers that use Linux for Oracle database, which one do they run. 65% said Oracle Enterprise Linux. 37% said RedHat. 15% said SuSE.

Now on to the Exadata 2 database machine. Exadata 1 was Oracle’s first hardware product, specialized for data warehousing. According to Oracle’s tests, it was 10-50x faster than convention machines running the Oracle database. Larry presented customer quotes to back it up and anecdotally said that Apple (specifically his friend Steve Jobs) had similar results. Exadata 2 is targeted at OLTP and runs twice as fast as Exadata 1. He stated that it is the very first database machine that can do high performance transaction processing. Exadata 1 does random I/O very rapidly, making use of a huge semiconductor memory hierarchy. In a single box, it uses 400GB of DRAM and 5TB of flash cache memory. “Oh, and by the way, it’s completely fault tolerant.” He then said they leverage a custom compression algorithm to store large databases (e.g. 15TB) completely in semiconductor memory. He also said there’s another compression algorithm for queries that could allow a 50TB database to be stored completely in the 5TB of flash cache memory. He then discussed how the Exadata systems perform better than some of the in-memory database systems that are out there. He also mentioned that the system is configured, out-of-the-box. Wrapping up the Exadata 2 discussion, Larry said it is the fastest computer ever built for data warehousing applications. It is the only database computer for OLTP and does it in a cost-effective way, delivering record breaking performance at an attractive cost.

Interruption to the keynote while Arnold Schwarzenegger came on stage and delivered some great lines, the role of technology in his previous job as an action movie actor, and then spent a lot of time touting California’s technology. One good quote from him, “I say today, fear not … The best and brightest are working to solve the challenges of the 21st century.”

Now back to Larry and the new product support system. The slide states one unified support system, unifying My Oracle Support and Enterprise Manager. Larry said they will collect our configurations, hardware and software, upload them from Enterprise Manager into a global configuration database in My Oracle Support. Those databases will allow them to do proactive problem detection and recommend patches before we discover bugs that are in their software or other vendor’s software. Richard Sarwal came on stage to discuss/demo this approach as well as other advances in management technology built into Oracle Enterprise Manager. As someone who is passionate about effective operational management, it was nice to see the continued emphasis on the Oracle Enterprise Manager platform.

Larry then moved on to Fusion applications. He emphasized the role of SOA, BPEL, etc. in the construction of the applications. Version 1 scope includes financial management, human capital management, sales and marketing, supply chain management, project portfolio management, procurement management, and governance, risk, and compliance. He emphasized that it is the first suite of business applications built on standards-based middleware. The use of modular services (SOA) allows for unprecedented configurability by business users. A quote from Larry, “You assemble the components in the order that you want to use them.” He stated that it has a business intelligence driven user interface, leveraging business status (notifications), tasks and worklists, etc. Another quote from Larry, “We tell you what you need to know, what you need to do, and how to do it. If you can’t do it yourself, we tell you who in the organization … you need to collaborate with to get your job done.” At that point, the keynote switched over a demo of the Fusion apps with Steve Miranda and Chris Leone. The user interface of the HR system in particular really stood out to me as a very usable system.

With that, Larry thanked all of us and the keynote was closed.

Oracle OpenWorld: Seven Game Changing Trends: How Prepared Are You?

Full disclosure: I’m attending Oracle OpenWorld courtesy of Oracle.

The keynote speaker is Kris Gopalakrishnan, co-founder and CEO of InfoSys, talking about the future of IT and innovation. He is stating that employee focus and IT focus is necessary for innovation, and must funded by efficiencies in operational processes. The 7 game changing trends of IT led innovation are:

  1. Simplification of complex business systems. Simplifying organizational complexity reduces business risks, frees up cash.
  2. Architecting an adaptive organization: Integrating processes, systems and metrics.
  3. Moving from value chains to value webs. The concept of existing in a discrete linear fashion, known as value chains, worked previously. In an economy of ideas, thoughts, info, ideas need to flow back and forth, up and down, sideways, etc. creating a value web. He stated that innovation can come through co-creation with customers.
  4. Smarter Organization: Better learning through collaboration and personalization. It ensures faster, better, cheaper adoption and utilization of systems.
  5. IT led innovation in healthcare: universal electronic healthcare records, creating personalized healthcare and medicines, software intensive medical device networks.
  6. IT led innovation for better banking: banking the unbanked (e.g. rural areas of India). He’s mentioning branchless, internet based banks, including some in India run by InfoSys. Next item is digital cash.
  7. Strategic partnering as your innovation weapon. It allows innovation to have a variable cost model, scaling with demand.

Oracle OpenWorld: SOA-Enabled BPM Adoption, Reference Architecture and Methodology Aspects

Full disclosure: I’m attending Oracle OpenWorld courtesy of Oracle.

The speakers for this session were Manas Deb, Sr. Director, SOA/BPM/Governance Product Management from Oracle and Mark Wilkins, Enterprise Architect, EAP, from Oracle.

They framed up the session as a discussion based on best practices from their EA practice, focused on companies who have a goal to adopt to BPM, built on a foundation of services. They began with a quick recap on what they feel SOA and BPM are, with SOA being focused on encapsulation and loose coupling, and BPM being focused on improved efficiency. I’m not going to debate those definitions here, just repeated them to understand the context of the presentation.

They, like many others, extended the three tier model to insert processes between the presentation tier and the service tier. The one thing that they did do was to not claim the process layer was a new tier, rather, they presented it as an extension of the services tier. Obviously, the one risk with this is it immediately puts BPM into a technology context, rather than a business context. This isn’t a problem, but it shouldn’t be the sole focus of your BPM and SOA conversations. It may be the cornerstone for conversations with IT developers, engineers, and solution architects, but certainly not for analysts, business architects, and other non-IT staff.

The first slide on methodology is emphasizing what they are calling scopes. The examples shown include enterprise (cross-project) scope, project scope, and operations scope. At the enterprise scope, the interest is assessment, strategy, and planning. It performs value-benefits analysis, forms CoEs, establishes roadmaps and maturity models, plans the portfolio, establishes governance, etc. The project scope is execution and delivery focused, the operations scope is focused on measurements, scorecards, and keeping things running. It’s important to keep these scopes, or viewpoints, in mind and ensure that they all work together.

Mark went on to blow through a whole bunch of slides way too quickly. This should have been a 60 minute presentation. It appeared that there was some good content in there, including Oracle’s approach to the use of BPM and SOA conceptual reference architectures and how they eventually drive down to the physical view of the underlying infrastructure. He went on to show examples of the conceptual architectures for BPM and SOA, some information on a maturity model, a governance framework, and a few slides that tried to fit it all together. Once I’m able to download the slides, I’ll try to remember to come back and edit this post with the details. It’s unfortunate that a presentation that appeared to have very good content with appeal to architects got crammed into half the time frame of the other sessions.

Oracle OpenWorld: The Big BPEL-ESB-OSB cook-off

Full disclosure: I am attending Oracle OpenWorld courtesy of Oracle.

The speaker in this session is Andreas Chatziantoniou from Accenture.  He’s discussing the overlap between Oracle’s BPEL, ESB (legacy Oracle), and OSB (BEA ESB) products. 

First up is BPEL.  His slide states that BPEL should be used for system to system or service orchestration, when human workflow is needed, and when there are parallel request-response patterns.  The next slide says that BPEL should not be used for complex data transformations, it should not be used to program, and should not be used as a business modeling tool.  At first glance, this may seem strange, but I think it’s more of an indication that BPEL is something that gets generated by your tool, it’s not something people should be editing directly.  This point could be made more clearly.  He is emphasizing that you should not use BPELJ (embedded Java in BPEL).

He’s now talking about “dehydration,” a term I had not heard before.  He’s using that to refer to the writing of a process state to disk so it can be restored at a later time.  He stated that this is a natural part of BPEL, but not part of ESB/OSB.  I can live with that.  A service bus shouldn’t be doing dehydration any more than a network switch should be.

Now on to ESB/OSB.  His slide says they should be used for loose coupling, location transparency, mediation, error handling, transformation, load balancing, security, and monitoring.  Good list, although it does have the two grey areas of mediation and transformation.  You need to further define what types of mediation and transformation should and should not be done.  The way I’ve phrased it is that ESB’s should be about standards-in and standards-out.  As long as you’re mediating and transforming between standards (and the same standards on both sides), it’s a good fit.  If you are transforming between external and internal standards, as is the case in an external gateway, consider whether your ESB is the right fit for this since these mappings can get quite complicated. Those are my words, not the speakers, sorry this is something I’ve thought a lot about.

He’s now talking about mediation, and specifically referring to a component that existed in Oracle’s legacy ESB.  He said it connects components in a composite application.  To me, this does not belong in a service bus, and in the case of Oracle Service Bus, it does not.  He did not go into more detail on the type of mediation (e.g. security token mediation, message schema mediation, transport mediation).  As previously said, this needs to be made more narrow to make an appropriate decision on whether your mediation is really new business logic that belongs on a development platform, or mediation between supported standards than can be done by your connectivity infrastructure.

On transformation, Andreas focused more on what the platforms can do, rather on what they should do, calling out that XML transformations via XQuery, XSLT, et. can be equally done on any of the platforms.  His advice was do it in the service bus, and avoid mixed scenarios.  I’m really surprised at that, given how CPU-intensive transformations and mappings can be.  His point was that in a very large (50-60 steps) BPEL process, handling transformations could get ugly.  I see the logic on this, but I think if you do the analysis on where those transformations are needed, it may only be in one activity and best handled by the platform for that activity itself.

Overall, the speaker spent to much time discussing what the products can do, calling out overlaps, and not enough time on what they should do.   There was some good advice for customers, but I think it could have been made much simpler. My take on this whole debate  has always been straightforward.  A BPEL engine is a service development platform.  You use it to build new services that are most likely some composite of existing services.  I like to think of it as an orchestrated service platform.  As I previously said, though, you don’t write BPEL.  You use the graphical modeler for your tool, and behind the scenes, it may (or may not) be creating BPEL. 

A service bus is a service intermediary.  You don’t use it to build services, you use it to connect service consumers and service providers.  Unfortunately, in trying to market the service bus, most vendors succumbed to feature creep, whether due to creating their ESB from a legacy EAI product, or by adding more development like features to get more sales.  Think of it as a very intelligent router, meant to be configured by Operations, not coded by developers.

Oracle OpenWorld: Five Steps to Better SOA Governance with Oracle Enterprise Manager

Full disclosure: I’m attending Oracle OpenWorld courtesy of Oracle.

I’m having to recreate this post thanks to a bug in WordPress for the iPhone which managed to eat a couple posts, so my apologies for it being a bit shorter than hoped, since I had to recall what I was typing live.

In this session, James Kao from Oracle presented five steps to improving SOA governance. The core premise that was emphasized throughout is that the use of metadata is becoming more and more prevalent in the development world, as it is necessary to increase the efficiency of our development efforts. Examples include SCA descriptors and BPEL. We will have a big problem, however, if the operational tools can’t keep up with these advances. This same metadata needs to be leveraged in the run-time world to improve our operational processes. I’ll add to this that while much of the metadata is coming out of the SOA and BPM technology space, this concept should not be limited to just those areas. The concept of having metadata that describes solutions for gains in both the design time world and the run time world is extremely important.

The five steps presented were:

  1. Assess. (sorry lost the details on this one)
  2. Discover. This is where the metadata created at design time is leveraged to set up appropriate run-time governance.
  3. Monitor. The systems must be instrumented appropriately, exposing metrics, in addition to leveraging external monitors to collect information about run-time behavior.
  4. Control. The four examples given here were policy management, service management, server/service provisioning, and change management. Clearly, this is the actionable step of the process. Based upon the data, we take action. Sometimes that action is reflected in changes to the infrastructure via provisioning and/or change management, sometimes that action is modifications to the policies that govern the systems.
  5. Share. Finally, just as the metadata from design time played a role in the run time world, the metrics collected at run time can play a role in other processes. The information must be shared into systems like Oracle BAM or Oracle ER to provide a feedback loop so that appropriate decisions can be made for future solutions.

I was very impressed with James’ grasp of the space. While this session presented concepts and not a live demonstration, if Oracle Enterprise Manager can make these concepts a reality in a usable manner, this could be a very powerful platform for companies leveraging the red stack. Excellent talk.

Oracle OpenWorld: Using Oracle Web Services Manager to Manage Security

Full disclosure: I’m attending Oracle OpenWorld courtesy of Oracle.

I’m having to recreate this post thanks to a bug in WordPress for the iPhone which managed to eat a couple posts, so my apologies for it being a bit shorter than hoped, since I had to recall what I was typing live.

In this talk, Vikas Jain gave an overview of Oracle Web Services Manager, and Josh Bregman (I think) gave a demo of integration between Oracle Web Services Manager (OWSM) and Oracle Entitlements Server (OES). For most of his portion, Vikas went over the architecture behind WSM. It hasn’t changed too dramatically since I first saw it back as Confluent years ago, and that’s a good thing, since it had proper separation between policy enforcement and policy management. One thing I didn’t know, which is a good thing, is that the WSM enforcement point is now an embedded agent within WebLogic Server. That is, it comes with WebLogic server, there’s no separate install for it. This is a very important point, because if you need to do end-to-end identity propagation, you’ll need some kind of agent or native support for your identity formats on every node in the call chain. They did mention E2E identity propagation on a slide, but they didn’t go into any depth on it.

From a feature standpoint, OWSM has all of the necessary WS-* features necessary, including WS-Policy, WS-Security, SAML support, and WS-ReliableMessaging to name a few.

One thing I was disappointed with is when they presented a slide on integrations with the rest of the fusion middleware, Oracle Service Bus was not shown. SOA and WebLogic was a line item, and since OSB runs on WebLogic, it could be inferred that there’s a relationship, but what I wanted to know about was the significant functionality overlap between OSB and OWSM. I did get to ask about this, and the first answer was that they felt there wasn’t a lot of overlap, and frankly, I don’t agree with that in the slightest. On the plus side, however, they did say that in a future release of Oracle Service Bus, the security features of OSB will be fully provided by the OWSM agent, and not by the underlying WebLogic (non-OWSM) capabilities as is currently done. If this is the case, then they are working to eliminate the functional overlap, however, there’s a long way to go. Oracle Service Bus is a policy enforcement point, just as Oracle Web Service Manager agents are. OWSM can do more than just security, just as OSB can. Hopefully, this will be resolved in the future, and customers will not have to choose between two products from the same vendor to attack the same problem of enforcing service contract policies through a service intermediary.

Oracle OpenWorld: Michael Dell Keynote

Full disclosure: I’m attending Oracle OpenWorld courtesy of Oracle.

Michael Dell started by presenting some facts: $1.2 trillion dollars spent annually on IT infrastructure. $400 billion on hardware/software, $800 billion on labor and services. The dilemma is that we spend 70% on keeping the lights on, and only 30% on innovation. The desire is to flip that balance (same message that Ann Livermore of HP delivered yesterday). Dell is making a commitment to taking $200 billion out of the $1.2 trillion spend by enabling the efficient enterprise through: standardization, simplification, and automation.

On standardization, Michael discussed the role of x86 hardware and that today, 90% of all business applications are running on x86 hardware. According to Dell’s calculations, databases run up to 200% better on x86 systems than on proprietary hardware. Oracle and Dell are committed to making the technology work harder, not the user.

Moving on to simplification… the theme is pragmatic consolidation. He talked about Dell’s tiered storage capabilities, including iSCSI, solid state disks, and 10 gigabit ethernet. Similar to the opening keynote, he stated that 20x performance gains are possible with solid state storage technology. He then moved onto virtualization, giving examples of 20:1 server consolidation, 50% operational savings, and 1/3 of IT resources freed up for other efforts.

Oracle OpenWorld: EA, BPM, and SOA

Full disclosure: I am attending Oracle OpenWorld courtesy of Oracle.

The speaker is Dirk Stähler from Opitz Consulting And he is talking about how to bridge the information gap using Oracle BPA Suite and an integrated model.

He started by presenting the EA, BPM, and SOA problem which includes no unified methodology, unclear semantics, and no differentiation between EA, BPM, and SOA aspects.

He presented the three domains in a Venn diagram and called out the overlap in artifacts from each, including org structure, infrastructure, business processes, IT systems, and business objects. This overlap forms the foundation for the metamodel which can be captured in Oracle’s BPA suite.

In discussing this, he presented a pyramid, where EA is at the top (providing a conceptual blueprint of the org), underneath that is business process management (as a business design tool), then comes technical business process management (for IT specifications), and finally is information technology (supporting development). SOA spans one leg of the pyramid, impacting all four layers.

In discussing the artifacts, he defined domains for process architecture, application architecture, infrastructure architecture, data architecture, organziation architecture, and service architecture. All of the artifacts can be captured in BPA suite. In aligning this to EA, BPM, and SOA, he feels that EA covers app and infrastructure architecture, BPM covers organization, process, and data, and SOA covers service and some of data.

After this, he switched to a demo of the BPA suite, showing how to navigate the metamodel, associate different diagram types with different domains, etc. As someone with no experience with BPA suite or any other EA tooling, this was a good overview of how BPA suite could be used to manage the various models associated with an EA practice. The metamodel description covered how to separate these things within BPA suite, however the talk did not get into any issues or concerns with having two or even three different audiences using one centralized tool and repository, making sure they leverage each other’s work where appropriate.

For more information, they have published a book on their methodology, however it is currently only available in german.

Oracle OpenWorld: Innovation Across the Stack- Thomas Kurian

Full disclosure: I’m attending Oracle OpenWorld courtesy of Oracle.

Thomas started off with an overview of the “red” stack (my words, not his) and the major releases that have occurred this year. He’s starting with a video from a fictional company called Avitek discussing the importance of user experience. Ted Farrell then came on stage to demonstrate advances in Siebel CRM and Oracle Fusion in the UI layer. He showed a UI feature he called “carousel” which looked strikingly like CoverFlow in iTunes, some use of JavaFX, mapping technologies, live chat, and more. They demonstrated integration between Siebel CRM and Oracle e-Business Suite (EBS). This continues with the theme yesterday of top to bottom integration.

After the next video, Thomas is now talking about BPM and has David Shaffer on stage to discuss Fusion Middleware and applications. He started with an ADF application on his iPhone showing him an alert, and then went to the Oracle BPM worklist that shows the task required, moving into a visual representation of the flow required. From there, they were able to determine that they needed to go into EBS to remediate the problem. This demo was a bit too canned for me. The process flow shown looked like something a developer should be looking at, not something someone in a support center would be using. David then moved on to show the Oracle Business Process Composer and its support for BPMN 2.0. From there, a composite service could be drilled into, going straight into JDeveloper. Seeing these demos definitely shows me why Oracle’s JDeveloper strategy makes sense, even though it can be frustrating for organizations that only use Oracle middleware, and not Oracle applications. To properly support development and integration with Oracle apps, a very powerful development environment with integration into design-time metadata systems is necessary.

The demos continued with Ingersoll Rand coming on stage for a demo of Oracle BI and its integration with EBS. After that, they moved on to governance, controls, and security. Norm Fjeldheim, CIO of Qualcomm, and Steve Miranda came on stage for the next demo. Through integration with EBS, they demoed how areas of risk can be shown and addressed via Oracle GRC. Next up was scalability and high availability, and the demo started with Oracle Enterprise Manager. Enterprise Manager is being used to show the end-to-end view, highlight hot spots, link to management consoles of WebLogic, etc., and take action to fix. It continued on with operational management (there was a LOT in this keynote). This includes real end user experience, correlation between business and system monitoring, and root cause identification. Marshall Lew from Office Depot came on stage to assist in this demo. I wasn’t aware that Oracle played in the operational management space, so this was new to me. It’s all built from their Enterprise Manager product. If your infrastructure stack is red, this is a nice centralized management system.

Oracle Business Activity Monitoring and Oracle Complex Event Processing

Full disclosure: I’m attending Oracle OpenWorld courtesy of Oracle.

I was late to this session as my panel preceeded it, and the questions continued for a good 30 minutes after the session ended. Thank you to all who attended, and the positive feedback was great.

The speaker went over the basics of Oracle’s CEP platform, introducing the query language they use for event streams (CQL). No surprises in terms of the approach, it looks like other CEP’s I’ve seen. They emphasized the role that Coherence plays in the scalability of the platform. I do like the use of Coherence as a common platform across all of their middleware products, it makes a lot of sense.

They went on to present a demo of CEP in action, where the CEP was processing location based events associated with emergency responders. One thing they didn’t call out is the need for some system to make the decision to actually publish events. In my opinion, this is one of the key things holding back adoption of things like CEP. The average app developer working on a web-based transactional system just doesn’t think about publishing events unless they have some concrete consumer of those events. Just as we may not know all consumers of a service, we may not know all consumers of events. Would the developer on this system really know to be publishing source locations associated with connectivity or message traffic in advance? Initially, we’ll need to simply leverage message flows that are already occurring, similar to an intrusion detection systems to extract information that should be events, but instead are embedded in some other message. This creates a need for standard headers and message bodies to allow the CEP engine to have something consistent to query against.

Consistent with my previous posts on CEP, it looks like great technology, but the definition of problems where it is best applied are still evolving and maturing.

Oracle OpenWorld: An Intro to the Oracle Enterprise Architecture Framework

Full disclosure: I’m attending Oracle OpenWorld courtesy of Oracle.


  • Mark Salser, Senior VP, Enterprise Solutions Group
  • Mark Dickson, Systems Architect, Cochlear Americas
  • Edward Screven, Chief Corporate Architect, Oracle
  • Paul Cross, Group Vice President: Sales Consulting, Oracle

Quotes from Mark’s intro: “Why has Enterprise Architecture become more important? The issues are moving more toward enterprise level issues … Think about enterprise architecture as a strategy for your business. It is a strategy for how you bring business and IT together and requires a holistic view of the business. … Ultimately you want to create a collection of prescriptive guidance … that takes you down this path of operational excellence.” Five key points on slide: rationalize, standardize, consolidate, optimize, and innovate. “Enterprise Architecture is about establishing the foundation for an optimized IT core.” On the slide, it emphasizes that this foundation is based on architectural principles, best practices and reference architectures, industry and corporate standards, technology trends, and a rationalized IT portfolio, with a business model, strategy, and objectives at the center.

There’s a slide up now that shows a simple view of what they consider to be the core. It has the standard three tier view of user interaction at the top, application services in the middle, and a technology foundation at the bottom. In between the user interaction and the application services layers is a composite business process layer.

After a slight detour for an interview with Edward Screven, Oracle’s Chief Corporate Architecture, they are getting back to a framework (hopefully). They presented some typical guiding principles for EA, and then split EA up into three areas: people, process & framework (architecture development process, EA framework), and portfolio (Oracle Enterprise Architecture Repository, Services and Products).

The Oracle Architecture Development Process looks very TOGAF like, the Oracle Enterprise Architecture Framework consists of business architecture, application architecture, information architecture, and technology architecture, with people, processes, and tools on one vertical and EA governance on the other vertical. Underneath it all is an EA repository.

The EA repository consists of best practice reference architectures and patterns from their own practices and customer practices. They are encouraging us to use this as a jumpstart. They’re showing a number of models from the repository (very quickly, unfortunately), but there’s some very good information there. Unfortunately, I asked if those models are publicly available and they are not. An engagement with EA Professional Services is not required, as there are architects from the team that participate on Oracle Mix, and they can make information from the repository available in direct response to the public discussion. Hopefully, Oracle will see this post and establish a process to publish some of these models via ITN on a regular basis rather than keeping them hidden until requested. While I understand the need to keep a certain amount of intellectual property private in support of a consulting practice, there is still some basic reference architecture information that should be available simply for being an Oracle customer that we can pull ourselves in support of our own EA efforts.

Oracle OpenWorld: Next Generation Business Process Platform

Full disclosure: I am attending Oracle OpenWorld courtesy of Oracle.

This was a session focused on BPM 11g. It’s a bit of a whirlwind overview, but so far they have emphasized the use of BPMN 2.0, Business Rules integration, SCA, and the new rich form designer.

Next up is the BPA suite based on their OEM relationship with IDS Scheer ARIS. 11g introduces round trip integration with BPM Studio and a unified repository with IDS products, etc. I haven’t heard anything about Oracle ER becoming a centralized metadata repository for all Oracle products, which a find a bit surprising. It could just be that I’m in the wrong sessions, but more and more, I believe a common repository is going to be a critical component.

The presenters went on to talk about process portals, including a collaborative modeling portal, a work space model (a context specific portal for one or more related processes) and an instance-specific view (for tracking events, dealines, etc. about a specific instance of a process).

The next topic discussed was dynamic BPM. This included rule driven processes, rule driven data validation, dynamic service binding, and rule driven task management. Clearly, the theme here is integration with a rules engine and having the ability to modify the rules which will change how the process gets executes, while not requiring a redeployment of the process itself.

They have also made changes to the human workflow component to better support for unstructured processes. The technique described makes sense, but this feels like a “show me” category. Getting users to use the tooling to dynamically add new process participants and steps sounds great, but there may be some big cultural hurdles to overcome to make this useful.

They then went over enhancement to process instrumentation and business activity monitoring, including real time publishing of process metrics to BAM. They also can feed Oracle’s CEP engine for dynamic processing based on incoming metrics and events.

Overall, the message is that Oracle has a comprehensive and unified BPM platform. From the slides, it certainly appears comprehensive. The 11g release is all about unification onto a common platform, and as long as what’s been on the slides accurately reflects this new platform, 11g should be a good step forward for Oracle BPM.

Oracle OpenWorld: An Architect’s View of the New Features of Oracle SOA Suite 11g Release 1

Full disclosure: I’m attending Oracle OpenWorld courtesy of Oracle.

First wave of industry standardization was around functional-specific standards in areas causing headaches in the integration space. Emphasizing the role of SCA in the standardization of the service platform in the same way that Java EE played a role in the evolution of the application server. I’ll be honest, I’m still not a big SCA fan. I know Oracle is, though. The one good thing being shown is that the hosting environments can be managed in a single, unified way, regardless of whether that service is hosted in BPEL PM or WebLogic. As long as there’s good tooling that hides of the various SCA descriptors, this is a good thing.

Now they are talking about the event delivery network. It’s nice to see a discussion on fundamentals rather than trying to jump into a CEP discussion. They’re talking about having an event catalog, utilizing an EDL (event description language), and easily connecting consumers and subscribers. This is a good step forward, in my opinion. It may actually get people to think about events as first class citizens in the same way as services.

Now, they’re on to Oracle Human Workflow. It is all task-based, with property-based configuration. The routing of tasks can be entirely dynamic, rather than based on static rules. It has integration with Oracle Business Rules. It publishes events on the EDN (e.g. onTaskAssigned, onTaskModified, etc.). Nice to see them eating their own dog food with the use of EDN.

They’ve now moved on to Service Data Objects. They’ve introduced entity variables into BPEL to allow working with SDOs.

Additional subjects in this session included Metadata Services (MDS) and the Dev-Test-Prod problem (changing of environment-specific parameters as code is promoted through environments). On the latter, there are a large number of parameters that can now be modified via a “c-plan,” applied at deployment time. Anything that makes this easier is a good thing in my opinion.

Oracle OpenWorld: Monday Keynote

Full disclosure: I’m attending Oracle OpenWorld courtesy of Oracle.

The Monday morning keynotes are from Charles Phillips of Oracle, Safra Catz of Oracle, and Ann Livermore of HP.
Catz: Our job is to start sending you software that is engineering to work together.” She also emphasized that “working together” extends to non-Oracle software, too.
Phillips mentioning track record of enhancements to Siebel, JD Edwards, Peoplesoft, etc. and how they will do the same w/Sun, MySQL #oow09
Phillips: MIddleware: 11g of Fusion released, fully-integrated suite including BEA components. All of it is built, upgraded, patched, together.
Catz: First foray into bringing it all together: Sun Oracle Database Machine.
Joel Koppelman from Primavera now on stage talking about PPM. Oracle Primavera controls project execution, Oracle ERP manages all project financial information. Nice emphasis on how it integrates into the “Oracle red stack” and overview of what PPM software can do.
Paco Aubrejuan is now talking about Oracle financials and integration with BI. He used the term “Closed-loop budgeting” to show integration between BI and Financials.
Now, discussing retail is Duncan Angove. He’s also emphasized the integrated suite, feeding BI into the integrated process across the retail applications. He also added that there is a rich, compelling UI supporting it all. The theme this morning seems to be all about integration, using the term “closed loop” frequently.
Next up is SCM/manufacturing, presented by Anthony Lye. He is going to demo new integration between CRM (Siebel CRM) and demand management (Demantra).
Wrapping it up: Oracle have an integrated suite, but you can plug in your own open components as needed. Now switching over to Ann Livermore from HP.
Ann is emphasizing a converged infrastructure, starting with an operating environment for managing shared services that is flexible, yet unified. It adds pools of resources that run on a smart grid in the data center for efficient use of power and computing. Optimizing it all is done through virtualization and automation.
Ann then addressed the importance of application modernization, how it’s a big problem for IT, and how HP is positioned to assist. She’s now discussing the information explosion and the challenges it creates. For HP, “this is a very important business opportunity.” Three components: information infrastructure, information governance, and information services.
Overall, Ann emphasized HP’s role in providing systems, software, and services to support customers problems.


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