Thursday, February 02, 2006

Oracle and SOA

I went to a seminar yesterday in downtown Calgary where Oracle was unveiling its SOA Solution to all the big Canadian oil and gas giants. SOA is the latest buzz-acronym for "Service-Oriented Architecture."

What is SOA?

SOA is not a technology or something you install. It is a concept, or rather an approach to modelling your system, and one that is different from the standard client/server model you may be used to. As opposed to large, proprietary applications that do everything, SOA is a design meant to try to integrate numerous and diverse software applications with common interfaces, in the name of code reuse/maintainability, and adaptibility. The notion of using a group of independent applications to accomplish a shared task is also sometimes referred to as grid computing.

Everyone knows that "Web Services" are one of the hottest things lately. An SOA is essentially a collection of such services, communicating with one another, generally through XML. (Of course I am over-simplifying things: SOA can involve any kind of self-contained service communicating in any way.)

SOA is not specific to any technology, indeed every "family" of technologies has its own SOA solution, and usually you can mix-and-match your own. However, open-source XML-based technologies such as BPEL, SOAP and WSDL are very commonly used.

For more information about SOA in general, visit OASIS's web site:
OASIS Open Standard for SOA

What is Oracle's SOA Solution?

It was inevitable that Oracle would join in the fray and devise SOA-based solutions. At the very least as part of its "Oracle Fusion" project to integrate PeopleSoft and JD Edwards. Notice the recent acquisitions of Kurian, Collaxa and Oblix were all steps along the SOA path.

Oracle's SOA solution leans heavily towards J2EE, their preferred language in which to develop your Web Services. They want you to use the perhaps poorly-named JDeveloper as your IDE for developing your Web Services with Oracle Containers (OC4J). JDeveloper includes the toolset Oracle Application Development Framework (ADF) which also includes Oracle TopLink for object-relational mapping. Of course they suggest you use the Oracle Application Server for these Web Services. Get more information on this from Oracle's whitepaper:
Oracle's JDeveloper White Paper

One of the new components is the BPEL Process Manager, acquired with Collaxa, which is an application that includes several tools to develop BPEL models and the underlying Web Services. This is where you define which services are called, and when. Grab this whitepaper for more on that:
Oracle's BPEL White Paper

For those who want more details, I am preparing a future post on BPEL, followed by some of these other acronyms I've mentioned. Note to Eddie: Half the presenters pronounced it "bipple" and the other half pronounced it "b-pull."

That summarizes my introductory post on Oracle and SOA. I will be writing articles with more meat and technical details over the next couple of weeks, but for those who are intrigued and just can't wait, here are some Oracle white papers on SOA:
Oracle E-Business and SOA
IDC: Oracle's SOA Platform

For more information about Oracle's SOA Solution, visit their web site:
Oracle's Main SOA Site

You probably went to the same seminar that I went to on Tuesday in Vancouver.

One of the more interesting point that I noted was on Jason S presentation on their case study of a client who is doing SOA work and the point was that they had to build another front end layer on top of BPEL Process Manager for the clients Business Analysts as the BPEL front end was deemed to be too complex for the BAs to use.
Liked your blog. Look forward to your post about BPEL.
Nice blog Robert. looking forward to know more about BPEL. Can you list career opportunity in Oracle SOA.

liked your blog. nice to see more on soa arcitecture. like what are application can be integrated and what not.

Do soa support non oracle product like mainframe or old legecy system.
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Nice article.This is interesting and informative also.Thank you so much for sharing this.Oracle SOA Online Training certification program is at its very primary step intended towards the professionals connected to Implementation Consultancy, who are using the products and services.
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