Oracle sows the seeds for SOA
Enriched suite yields a crop of enhancements
An SOA (service oriented architecture) has the appealing allure for reducing costs and improving your company's agility. But, before digging up your existing IT roots, you'll need assurances there's a fortified and fertile ecosystem waiting to support you in those supposedly greener pastures.
What's exciting about the new Oracle SOA Suite 10g Release 3 is the comprehensive scope and breadth of its well-integrated component set that's geared to provide just such an environment.
SOA Suite packs an Oracle ESB (Enterprise Service Bus) for message routing, enrichment, and transformation with good adapters available for plugging into most any existing transport or ERP system in use. And, the Oracle BPEL Process Manager provides an orchestration engine based on native BPEL (Business Process Execution Language) with tools to easily string together complex business flows, human workflow, and exception management.
Topping the stack are the OWSM (Oracle Web Services Manager) -- locking down services with sturdy security and policy management -- and an easy-to-use rules facility, Oracle Business Rules Engine, for processing business logic and authoring customizable rule sets.
Oracle further enriches the suite with its Oracle BAM (Business Activity Monitoring) application, showing good analytics, proactive monitoring, and insight into process optimization with strong dashboard drill-down features.
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But, fear not. Although Oracle SOA Suite does run Oracle's application server, a number of additional app servers are gearing up for certification. And, the BAM, OWSM, and BPEL PM apps can all be used to manage third-party infrastructure, as well. Oracle includes Oracle JDeveloper for its IDE, but Eclipse will also do the job nicely.
There remains some room for improvement, certainly. The BAM module is currently Windows-only, and globalization/localization across the platform needs improvement. The BPEL Designer for orchestrating services, though great for developers, lacks analyst appeal and would be enhanced by efforts to round out autonomous access for the business-focused. And, the multiple Enterprise Manager interfaces required to administer the suite belies an otherwise well-integrated composition.