Clash of the Java rule Titans
Blaze Advisor 6.1 gains speed, JRules 6.0 gains complexityFollow @infoworld
In this review, we inaccurately stated that we ran the WaltzDB benchmark on ILOG JRules 6 and Fair Isaac Blaze Advisor 6.1. Although we were able to run the benchmark on Blaze Advisor, we were not able to do so on JRules. As noted in the review's supplementary performance chart online, we thus reported one of two benchmark results provided by ILOG. We believed this number accurately reflected JRules' performance. Since that time, ILOG has asserted that the performance number we reported was based on a first-generation RETE algorithm and not the current algorithm which the product now uses. We plan to perform further testing of our own to better assess the performance capabilities of ILOG JRules and will provide those results when they are available.
We’re all familiar with the conventional relationship between the business department and IT: The business department needs a new application or they need to change an existing application. They approach IT and ask how long it will take and how much it will cost. If within budget, IT gathers what it calls requirements and, after approval of the requirements, begins coding. Then comes the testing, changes, finger-pointing, backroom dealing, and more finger-pointing. In technical terms, IT has responsibility for both the validation of the application (Did we build the right system?) and the verification requirements (Did we build it properly?).
A BRMS (business rule management system) isolates the pure business logic of a project from the control logic and presentation code, and puts it into a rule base space. Effectively, a BRMS moves verification back to the business department where it belongs. Using a BRMS, the business user, not the IT department, writes the rules, change the rules, and delete the rules. The IT department is responsible for the construction of the system so that it is fast, scalable, and easily maintainable.
Fair Isaac’s Blaze Advisor and ILOG’s JRules are the longtime leaders in enterprise BRMS. JRules has always played catch-up to Blaze Advisor on rule building and management, but has led Blaze in speed. Now, as each reach version 6, JRules has some advantages in rule management and Blaze Advisor has turned on the after-burners, surpassing JRules in performance. I have finally compared these two solutions head-to-head, ringing all the bells and blowing all the whistles. I also ran the Waltz DB benchmarks on both rule engines for speed comparisons.
In interpreting benchmark results, remember one thing: They are general in nature and stress the engine in ways that your company may or may not need to, especially if the rules in your application are not especially interactive. (Read a more in-depth discussion of the classic rule benchmarks, or read a broader look at BRMS.)
What does a BRMS do for the bottom line? Last November at the annual Business Rules Forum I heard customer after customer regale audiences with how they had saved incredible amounts of time and money by using a BRMS. How much? Some reduced the time required to make changes from months to days or hours or minutes. Some now make changes within minutes, test within an hour or two, and put them into production the same day.