"Before Polymita, you could think of jBPM was more Java developer workflow with BPM-ish capabilities. Now we got a full BPM suite," said Pierre Fricke, Red Hat director of product marketing, integration and BPM. "It brings Red Hat on par with some of the more entrenched BPM suites."
Red Hat's BPM suite might even offer a number of capabilities that other packages lack.
Red Hat boasts of the software's ability to execute complex event processing (CEP). CEP takes BRM a step further, allowing managers to define rules based on changing criteria. An automated stock trading application may use CEP to buy stock only when the price of a stock falls beneath a certain level, for instance. Few BPM suites have built-in CEP capabilities, Simpson said.
Lehmann points to some other possible advantages of using Red Hat JBoss BPM 6.
For instance, Red Hat's BPM suite uses OptiPlanner, a powerful open source Java planning engine that can calculate the optimal use of limited resources. OptiPlanner can boost CEP capabilities.
Also, the suite's simulation capability is based on the open source BPSim (Business Process Simulation Interchange) standard, which seeks to bring uniformity to the parameters between the BPM models and the processes they represent.
"A lot of companies and users of this technology don't understand how to do simulation properly. Having a standard to go against is valuable. Red Hat is early to have this capability, compared to its rivals," Lehmann said.
Users of BRMS version 5 should have little difficulty upgrading to the new suite, thanks to a migration tool Red Hat has developed for the job.
Red Hat will continue to offer BRMS separately. Red Hat JBoss BRMS 6, which is based off the open source Drools BPM software, offers a drag and drop interface as well as graphical data and process modelers.
The BPM package can run on any Java Enterprise Edition-compliant application server, such as IBM WebSphere or Red Hat's own JBoss.
A support subscription for the full Red Hat JBoss BPM Suite starts at about US$40,000 per year and Red Hat BRMS 6 starts at about $20,00 per year. Pricing is based on the number of processor cores being used.