SOASchool Certification: Module 8

Today I had my SOASchool.com Module 8 exam for the SOA Certified Architect certification.

Suggested preparation:
  • You have to follow a course or buy the selfstudy kit
  • Read the chapters of the SOA Design Patterns book
  • Read the reader of the selfstudy kit
  • You really need to understand the Patterns and also the use of the patterns in relation to each other

  • The questions are the same as the other exams
  • Select All That Apply are the difficult ones and there were quite a lot

Next is the final Module 9 for me, and this is the Lab.

The Certification is valuable, because it shows that you know and understand the terms and challenges you face when working
within a Service Oriented Architecture. Or trying to work towards a SOA.
The nice thing about this certification is that it is Vendor Neutral. It does not mention a particular platform. It does however address
the SOA standards out there and that is a good thing of course.

The customers will also recognize this kind of certifications.


Oracle BPM Suite 11g overview


This blog item gives a short overview of the Oracle BPM Suite 11g. 
If you as an architect, developer or sales person do no want to read all documentation, this can be a good starting point :-)

More thorough documentation can be found here.

Component Overview

The BPM Suite contains the following components.

As can be seen, the suite is layered on the Oracle SOA Suite and they share the following components

Oracle BPM Studio

Tool within JDeveloper to create and simulate business models using BPMN 2.0.

Oracle Business Process Composer

Web-base application that enables business users to collaborate with developers and designers.
A catalog of services, tasks and rules can be created in Studio and this catalog can be included in project templates, which can then be used to create new projects within 
Business Process Composer. Here Business Rules can be edited at run time.

Oracle Metadata Service (MDS)

MDS Repository used to store information about deployed applications, used to share projects and project templates.

Oracle BPM projects are deployed as SOA Composite applications on the BPM Engine.

Oracle BPM Engine

It runs BPMN and BPEL processes, which are separate components but they share the same process core (i.e. security, audit trails, invoke services, persistence).

Oracle Human Workflow

This component contains functionality for:
  • Task routing to users, groups or application roles
  • Management of deadlines,escalations and notifications related to a task
  • Task Forms (including workspace and portals)
  • Organization,filtering, prioritization,dispatching rules
Oracle ADF can be used to develop custom Task Forms.

Oracle Business Rules

This component lets you automate policies, computations and reasoning in an agile way.
Of course it is the trick when to use this component to get that agility.

Oracle Enterprise Manager

This web-based application is used to control and manager applications running on the SOA Suite.

Process Participants applications

Oracle BPM Workspace and Oracle Process Spaces are used by process participants.

Workspace (old BEA) gives you the opportunity to:
  • View running process instances
  • Work/View task lists
  • Out-of-the-box dashboards
  • Custom made dashboards
  • Manage organizations and roles

Process Spaces is a collaborative workspace that gives you some Social Media, built on top of Web Center Spaces.


Oracle ADF and Fusion Middleware

Today I browsed through some nice sessions on the Oracle ADF Framework.
I heard from the framework but not know what I can expect from the Framework and how it is related to SOA and Fusion Middleware.
The Framework is actually quite big and implements the Model-View-Controller architectural pattern which makes GUI development easier to develop and maintain.

Oracle sets it as "next generation" Web User Interfaces for
  • Fusion Applications
  • Middleware components like Enterprise Manager
  • WebCenter Spaces

The next picture shows an overview of the components of ADF.

So I asked myself how is this Framework to be positioned with Oracle SOA Suite, Oracle BPM Suite and Oracle Service Bus?
The next picture shows its place.

In my view within a SOA 5-layering architecture:

  • ADF can perfectly be used within the development of the presentation layer.
  • The OSB is generally used as an abstraction between all 5 layers. This means that all Services (Task Services, Entity Services and Utility Services) are exposed through OSB

But as I said, I am not an ADF expert, so ADF experts out there, how do you place ADF within your SOA Architecture?

Oracle working on BPM specialization

Just like the SOA Suite specialization path, Oracle is working on a BPM specialization path for certification.

Note: For the links used in this Blog item you need to have an Oracle Partner Account.

The following information was already made available for Partners:
  • BPM knowledge zone, in which you can become a member of Oracle Mix which is a Social Network to share ideas and to ask questions.
    You can become a member of Oracle BPM Suite and Oracle BPA Suite.

  • There is also a BPM Bootcamp, just like the SOA Suite 11g Bootcamp. This is a 4-day bootcamp and as a prerequisite follow 4 webcasts.

  • BPM Sales Guidebook which can be used by the sales persons and contains some management summaries.

  • The implementation Certification is not ready yet but there are some assessments available for PreSales Consultant and Sales.
    You can test your knowledge after the BPM bootcamp here with an online assessment.


Integrating BPM and Social Media

I find it interesting to note that there are a lot of Social Media Tools out there.
If you google on "social media tool" you get 2.650.000 hits. 

When you do the same for "bpm tool" you get 14.600 hits.

You can say that there are of course a lot of small social media tools and that a BPM tool is a lot complexer.
Would it be wrong to ask myself if we could help business with (mostly free) social media tools instead of a (mostly more expensive) BPM tools?
Some arguments in favor of social media tools, i can think of:
  • Mostly for free
  • There are a lot
  • Mostly simple
  • Fun to work with
There are also some disadvantages i can think of:
  • How long will the tool exist?
  • How secure is it?
  • Can it handle a lot of users?
  • Can it handle the performance that is sometimes required?
  • What is the support?
  • Integration with other tools?
So probably the disadvantages will block CIOs from using them in business critical business processes, but maybe they can be very valuable in using for other business processes.

Some arguments in favor of BPM tools:
  • More secure because used on-premise
  • More support and documentation
  • More auditing information out-of-the-box
  • BAM
  • Better integration support with other systems
Some disadvantages:
  • Expensive
  • Complex

But how about a more Hybrid solution in which BPM and Social Media tools are used together or even integrated.
You already see this within the Cordys stack (integration with Google) and Oracle (uses collaboration tools).

I think we will see a lot more from this in 2011.

What are your thoughts on this?


Oracle Exalogic: An introduction


Oracle has introduced the Oracle Exalogic Elastic Cloud system, but what is it and what can you do with it?
This blog item is a small excerpt of the full article that can be found here.

The management summary

The Exalogic is:  "the first system specifically designed to provide enterprises with a foundation for secure, mission-critical private cloud capable of
virtually unlimited scale, unbeatable performance, and previously unimagined management simplicity".
In other words the first private cloud supermachine and datacenter of the 21rst century.
It can run all kinds of applications of Linux and Solaris and is optimized for Enterprise Java, Oracle Fusion Middleware and Oracle's Fusion Applications.


The next figure shows the hard- and software stack.
The InfiniBand I/O forms the hart of the horizontal scaling capabilities of the system. Fast connection to Exadata Database Machines.
There is a small, medium or full rack configuration with respectively:
8, 16, 30compute nodes and 96, 192, 360 2.93 GHz XEON Cores.

Java and the entire Fusion Middleware stack is designed for deployment on Exalogic, also the Fusion Apps will be deployable on Exalogic.
Exalogic is compatible with all standard Oracle Linux 5 and Solaris 11 applications.
The Oracle Enterprise Manager provides full management through Grid Control and OpsCenter in which every individual hardware component can be managed in real time.
There have been special performance optimizations made within the Exalogic  for WLS, Coherence and JRockit and Hotspot.

Exalogic can be directly integrated with Exadata using InfiniBand, the JDBC driver and WLS data source infrastructure can communicate natively using protocols available on InfiniBand.
Also the Active GridLink for RAC within WLS will improve the performance of OLTP applications.

The WLS server also takes advantage of the underlying hardware in its thread pooling algorithm for optimal Java application performance.


Exalogic is a high end, all in one "datacenter" for high performance and scalable private cloud specifically for Fusion Middleware, Fusion Apps and Oracle RAC.
It will probably also create a vendor lockin because the whole infrastructure and Fusion software is optimized for this system.
But for medium to large organizations this may be a perfect solution for their enterprise architecture and the management of it.


Oracle in 2011


This blog item highlights some points of Oracle for 2011 that will be be important for 2011.

Cloud in a box

As Larry Ellison stressed out:
The new competitive battleground in corporate IT will be centered on optimizing the performance of hardware-plus-software systems that have been specifically engineered for superior performance, speed of installation, and minimum of integration.
He wants to fight IBM for the #1 position on the high end computing servers. Its about the Exadata, Exalogic, and Sparc Superclusters machines.

For me as a Fusion Middleware guy I am curious in the Exalogic proposition and when I can first use it and develop on it here in the Netherlands.

Fusion Middleware Suite

Oracle has made a great step forward with the Middleware Fusion 11g stack, which is better integrated. The new 12c (c=Cloud) is on its way too !
The product is more integrated with fault management framework and security policy framework. It also contains the Event Delivery Network, with which you can 
define and use Business Events in a Publish-Subscribe model.


Oracle will target at a full delivery from hardware and software, in the public- or private Cloud, on heavy machines and fully integrated.
I am curious to see if the Oracle Application Integration Architecture will pay off in the Netherlands as well.