|By Paul Maurer||
|May 26, 2007 02:15 PM EDT||
The biggest and most interesting enhancement is full support for all WS-BPEL 2.0 constructs. This feature will let users gain early access and experience with the upcoming OASIS standard.
The folks at Active Endpoints carefully thought through how to support users in their move to WS-BPEL 2.0. This resulted in the ability of BPEL 1.1 and WS-BPEL 2.0 processes to co-exist during design, test, and execution in both the designer and the engine. This lets users migrate their processes at their own pace. I've been burned in the past by products that required a big bang conversion so the ability to support 1.1 and 2.0 processes easily is a huge win.
My last ActiveBPEL review focused on the designer tool so I won't spend much time on it here except to point out a few enhancements. (Figure 1)
First of which is the ability to migrate any valid BPEL1.1 process to a WS-BPEL 2.0 proces. This is done by saving the existing 1.1 process as a WS-BPEL 2.0 process. During this "Save As" step ActiveBPEL will convert as much of the process syntax as possible and report conversion issues on any BPEL sections that couldn't be converted to the 2.0 syntax. These issues are displayed in the designer as static analysis errors. Users can then correct any errors. Once this is done, the user has access to all the new 2.0 features. Again, another nicely thought out touch for converting a process. I was able to convert one of my existing 1.1 processes and correct any issues easily.
Finally, Active Endpoints has added some of the obligatory GUI enhancements such as grids, anchoring annotation, and scope level auto-layout. The ActiveBPEL Designer continues to be a well-thought-out and constructed tool.
The ActiveBPEL Engine manages BPEL processes. For those new to BPEL, a BPEL process is a collection of Web Services with various interactions specifically orchestrated to complete some portion or all of a business process. Each Web Service is treated like a black box that does some part of the process. Ordering the Web Services calls, information passed to and returned from the calls, and conditional execution are called orchestration. Its details are defined in the Business Process Execution Language specification (the BPEL Spec).
The ActiveBPEL Engine is designed to run in most of today's Application Servers. I had the WebLogic 9.2 application server handy so that acted as my test bed. The ActiveBPEL Engine also requires a database, so I downloaded and installed MySQL 5.0. The installation wizard does a nice job of walking you through the installation and it automatically configured the application server based on my responses. Keep in mind you still have to know how to configure your application server of choice. I had to ensure that the appropriate database drivers were set up and that my server was clustered, but the ActiveBPEL wizard handled the engine-specific setup nicely.
Once I had the product installed on the server, I was able to load up an existing 1.1 BPEL process. I specifically chose the process I created for the original review back in May. It loaded and ran in the server without incident. I then saved the process as a 2.0 process. There were a few minor errors that I quickly fixed then deployed the new processes to the server and again ran it without any problems. Granted my process wasn't incredibly complex, but it was still nice to see everything work as advertised.
The ActiveBPEL Engine supports versioning processes. Various versions of a process can execute in the engine concurrently. Versioning includes effective dates and expiration dates of processes. This is a great feature and invaluable when you're cutting over to new processes. I've especially seen this come in handy when consulting in the past for a company in the power industry. Government agencies dictate how the business operates and when changes to their processes must be effective. Having effective and expiration dates are a must in this kind of environment.
The ActiveBPEL Engine is also smart about how it handles expiration of running processes. It gives the user a choice of terminating the process and allowing it to continue to run to completion, or migrating the process to the new version. Process migration sounds a bit dicey and the manual outlines its limitations, but I'm sure there will be users out there who won't be able to live without it.
When describing my test, I glossed over the deployment process. The ActiveBPEL Designer is the recommended tool for deploying BPEL processes to the ActiveBPEL Engine. It packages the various files that make up the selected process in a business process archive (.bpr) file. The tool supports automatic deployment of the .bpr file to the engine. It can also generate an Ant script to re-deploy the file.
When you use ActiveBPEL Designer to create a .bpr file, the .bpr wizard generates a resource catalog. The data in the catalog is displayed in the engine's administration console. The catalog also provides a way for the engine to find WSDL files, schema, and other resources in the deployment archive.
As said above, the ActiveBPEL Engine provides the obligatory administration console, but again it's nicely done. You can inspect processes while they're running. The process page even displays the process details and the process diagram.
For users who run large process sets, there's a nice feature that filters processes. Active Endpoints even provides a nice expression builder to aid in creating fairly complex criteria for selecting the processes to view.
My favorite feature in the engine is its ability to implement a custom invocation handler for service endpoints. This lets a process bypass the creation and transport of SOAP messages over Axis. The process's outbound message is routed directly to a service
Custom invocation handlers can provide a more efficient technique for communicating between processes and services on the same machine. It can also take advantage of an alternate SOAP engine or provide messaging to an application that's not exposed as a Web Service.
Custom invocation handlers are implemented as Java classes, EJB containers, or .NET assemblies that implement the engine's custom invocation interface. The BPEL process's deployment descriptor contains a custom invoke handler attribute for the partner role service. The custom handlers are loaded by ActiveBPEL and used to call out to a Partner Role service endpoint when the service is invoked in a BPEL process.
The bottom line with this feature is that you can co-locate chatty services and set up highly efficient messaging for high-volume processes. This is very cool, sort of a "pimp my ride" for the BPEL crowd.
As stated in my previous review of the product, the ActiveBPEL Engine core is an open source product. The designer tool isn't, but it's still freely downloadable from the Active Endpoints Web site.
To get access to the high-end engine features like process versioning and clustering you'll have to license the Enterprise product. The cost of the Enterprise product varies based on the deployment platform and ranges from a low-end Tomcat-enabled version to a J2EE-enabled version that can run on a mainframe.
Active Endpoints, Inc. offers a few support options. First, for open source users, forum- and mailing list-based support is provided. There's also a premium support forum for users with a valid product serial number. For enterprises with higher support demands, incident-based support can be purchased.
Active Endpoints, Inc. continues to stay out in front of the BPEL standard with thoughtful features for support of WS-BPEL 2.0 migration. The BPEL design tool and execution engine continue to be freely downloadable and well documented with good community support. Teams looking to move toward the WS-BPEL 2.0 standard should consider Active Endpoints' 3.0 version.
Active Endpoints, Inc.
Three Enterprise Drive
Shelton, CT 06484
ActiveBPEL Designer: Free
ActiveBPEL Engine (Open Source): Free
ActiveBPEL Enterprise: $7.5k - $30k per CPU based on deployment platform
OS: Windows XP Professional (Service Pack 2)
Hardware: Intel Pentium M Processor with
2GHz - 1GB RAM
Explosive growth in connected devices. Enormous amounts of data for collection and analysis. Critical use of data for split-second decision making and actionable information. All three are factors in making the Internet of Things a reality. Yet, any one factor would have an IT organization pondering its infrastructure strategy. How should your organization enhance its IT framework to enable an Internet of Things implementation? In his session at Internet of @ThingsExpo, James Kirkland, Chief Architect for the Internet of Things and Intelligent Systems at Red Hat, described how to revolutioniz...
May. 22, 2015 02:00 PM EDT Reads: 4,572
For IoT to grow as quickly as analyst firms’ project, a lot is going to fall on developers to quickly bring applications to market. But the lack of a standard development platform threatens to slow growth and make application development more time consuming and costly, much like we’ve seen in the mobile space. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Mike Weiner is Product Manager of the Omega DevCloud with KORE Telematics Inc., will discuss the evolving requirements for developers as IoT matures and conduct a live demonstration of how quickly application development can happen when the need to comply...
May. 22, 2015 01:00 PM EDT Reads: 1,711
Container frameworks, such as Docker, provide a variety of benefits, including density of deployment across infrastructure, convenience for application developers to push updates with low operational hand-holding, and a fairly well-defined deployment workflow that can be orchestrated. Container frameworks also enable a DevOps approach to application development by cleanly separating concerns between operations and development teams. But running multi-container, multi-server apps with containers is very hard. You have to learn five new and different technologies and best practices (libswarm, sy...
May. 22, 2015 12:00 PM EDT Reads: 1,931
SYS-CON Events announced today that DragonGlass, an enterprise search platform, will exhibit at SYS-CON's 16th International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on June 9-11, 2015, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY. After eleven years of designing and building custom applications, OpenCrowd has launched DragonGlass, a cloud-based platform that enables the development of search-based applications. These are a new breed of applications that utilize a search index as their backbone for data retrieval. They can easily adapt to new data sets and provide access to both structured and unstruc...
May. 22, 2015 12:00 PM EDT Reads: 1,739
Converging digital disruptions is creating a major sea change - Cisco calls this the Internet of Everything (IoE). IoE is the network connection of People, Process, Data and Things, fueled by Cloud, Mobile, Social, Analytics and Security, and it represents a $19Trillion value-at-stake over the next 10 years. In her keynote at @ThingsExpo, Manjula Talreja, VP of Cisco Consulting Services, will discuss IoE and the enormous opportunities it provides to public and private firms alike. She will share what businesses must do to thrive in the IoE economy, citing examples from several industry sector...
May. 22, 2015 12:00 PM EDT Reads: 1,982
With major technology companies and startups seriously embracing IoT strategies, now is the perfect time to attend @ThingsExpo in Silicon Valley. Learn what is going on, contribute to the discussions, and ensure that your enterprise is as "IoT-Ready" as it can be! Internet of @ThingsExpo, taking place Nov 3-5, 2015, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA, is co-located with 17th Cloud Expo and will feature technical sessions from a rock star conference faculty and the leading industry players in the world. The Internet of Things (IoT) is the most profound change in personal an...
May. 22, 2015 11:30 AM EDT Reads: 2,521
The security devil is always in the details of the attack: the ones you've endured, the ones you prepare yourself to fend off, and the ones that, you fear, will catch you completely unaware and defenseless. The Internet of Things (IoT) is nothing if not an endless proliferation of details. It's the vision of a world in which continuous Internet connectivity and addressability is embedded into a growing range of human artifacts, into the natural world, and even into our smartphones, appliances, and physical persons. In the IoT vision, every new "thing" - sensor, actuator, data source, data con...
May. 22, 2015 11:00 AM EDT Reads: 6,200
Disruptive macro trends in technology are impacting and dramatically changing the "art of the possible" relative to supply chain management practices through the innovative use of IoT, cloud, machine learning and Big Data to enable connected ecosystems of engagement. Enterprise informatics can now move beyond point solutions that merely monitor the past and implement integrated enterprise fabrics that enable end-to-end supply chain visibility to improve customer service delivery and optimize supplier management. Learn about enterprise architecture strategies for designing connected systems tha...
May. 22, 2015 10:00 AM EDT Reads: 5,857
There's Big Data, then there's really Big Data from the Internet of Things. IoT is evolving to include many data possibilities like new types of event, log and network data. The volumes are enormous, generating tens of billions of logs per day, which raise data challenges. Early IoT deployments are relying heavily on both the cloud and managed service providers to navigate these challenges. In her session at Big Data Expo®, Hannah Smalltree, Director at Treasure Data, discussed how IoT, Big Data and deployments are processing massive data volumes from wearables, utilities and other machines...
May. 22, 2015 10:00 AM EDT Reads: 3,931
SYS-CON Events announced today that the "First Containers & Microservices Conference" will take place June 9-11, 2015, at the Javits Center in New York City. The “Second Containers & Microservices Conference” will take place November 3-5, 2015, at Santa Clara Convention Center, Santa Clara, CA. Containers and microservices have become topics of intense interest throughout the cloud developer and enterprise IT communities.
May. 22, 2015 10:00 AM EDT Reads: 2,028
Buzzword alert: Microservices and IoT at a DevOps conference? What could possibly go wrong? In this Power Panel at DevOps Summit, moderated by Jason Bloomberg, the leading expert on architecting agility for the enterprise and president of Intellyx, panelists will peel away the buzz and discuss the important architectural principles behind implementing IoT solutions for the enterprise. As remote IoT devices and sensors become increasingly intelligent, they become part of our distributed cloud environment, and we must architect and code accordingly. At the very least, you'll have no problem fil...
May. 22, 2015 10:00 AM EDT Reads: 1,830
IoT is still a vague buzzword for many people. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Mike Kavis, Vice President & Principal Cloud Architect at Cloud Technology Partners, discussed the business value of IoT that goes far beyond the general public's perception that IoT is all about wearables and home consumer services. He also discussed how IoT is perceived by investors and how venture capitalist access this space. Other topics discussed were barriers to success, what is new, what is old, and what the future may hold. Mike Kavis is Vice President & Principal Cloud Architect at Cloud Technology Pa...
May. 22, 2015 10:00 AM EDT Reads: 7,721
SYS-CON Events announced today that MetraTech, now part of Ericsson, has been named “Silver Sponsor” of SYS-CON's 16th International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on June 9–11, 2015, at the Javits Center in New York, NY. Ericsson is the driving force behind the Networked Society- a world leader in communications infrastructure, software and services. Some 40% of the world’s mobile traffic runs through networks Ericsson has supplied, serving more than 2.5 billion subscribers.
May. 22, 2015 09:45 AM EDT Reads: 1,320
The 4th International Internet of @ThingsExpo, co-located with the 17th International Cloud Expo - to be held November 3-5, 2015, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA - announces that its Call for Papers is open. The Internet of Things (IoT) is the biggest idea since the creation of the Worldwide Web more than 20 years ago.
May. 22, 2015 09:00 AM EDT Reads: 1,513
The 17th International Cloud Expo has announced that its Call for Papers is open. 17th International Cloud Expo, to be held November 3-5, 2015, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA, brings together Cloud Computing, APM, APIs, Microservices, Security, Big Data, Internet of Things, DevOps and WebRTC to one location. With cloud computing driving a higher percentage of enterprise IT budgets every year, it becomes increasingly important to plant your flag in this fast-expanding business opportunity. Submit your speaking proposal today!
May. 22, 2015 08:00 AM EDT Reads: 4,194
Since 2008 and for the first time in history, more than half of humans live in urban areas, urging cities to become “smart.” Today, cities can leverage the wide availability of smartphones combined with new technologies such as Beacons or NFC to connect their urban furniture and environment to create citizen-first services that improve transportation, way-finding and information delivery. In her session at @ThingsExpo, Laetitia Gazel-Anthoine, CEO of Connecthings, will focus on successful use cases.
May. 22, 2015 06:00 AM EDT Reads: 4,846
The explosion of connected devices / sensors is creating an ever-expanding set of new and valuable data. In parallel the emerging capability of Big Data technologies to store, access, analyze, and react to this data is producing changes in business models under the umbrella of the Internet of Things (IoT). In particular within the Insurance industry, IoT appears positioned to enable deep changes by altering relationships between insurers, distributors, and the insured. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Michael Sick, a Senior Manager and Big Data Architect within Ernst and Young's Financial Servi...
May. 22, 2015 06:00 AM EDT Reads: 4,714
The recent trends like cloud computing, social, mobile and Internet of Things are forcing enterprises to modernize in order to compete in the competitive globalized markets. However, enterprises are approaching newer technologies with a more silo-ed way, gaining only sub optimal benefits. The Modern Enterprise model is presented as a newer way to think of enterprise IT, which takes a more holistic approach to embracing modern technologies.
May. 22, 2015 06:00 AM EDT Reads: 5,954
One of the biggest impacts of the Internet of Things is and will continue to be on data; specifically data volume, management and usage. Companies are scrambling to adapt to this new and unpredictable data reality with legacy infrastructure that cannot handle the speed and volume of data. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Don DeLoach, CEO and president of Infobright, will discuss how companies need to rethink their data infrastructure to participate in the IoT, including: Data storage: Understanding the kinds of data: structured, unstructured, big/small? Analytics: What kinds and how responsiv...
May. 22, 2015 05:00 AM EDT Reads: 4,391
17th Cloud Expo, taking place Nov 3-5, 2015, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA, will feature technical sessions from a rock star conference faculty and the leading industry players in the world. Cloud computing is now being embraced by a majority of enterprises of all sizes. Yesterday's debate about public vs. private has transformed into the reality of hybrid cloud: a recent survey shows that 74% of enterprises have a hybrid cloud strategy. Meanwhile, 94% of enterprises are using some form of XaaS – software, platform, and infrastructure as a service.
May. 22, 2015 05:00 AM EDT Reads: 2,331