Objective and Scope

This book addresses the concepts and practice of developing an innovative service-oriented architecture (SOA) based integration solution from different legacy IT backend systems for an operative business process at the enterprise PRM Co. Ltd.

Nowadays the concept “Service-Oriented Architecture” is no longer only an idea under discussion, but has been also implemented in the real world practice at various leading companies around the world. A service-oriented architecture enables components, applications, functions and systems to be published, consumed and combined dynamically over an intelligent network, enabling virtualisation.

The main thread of this book takes business requirements, business architecture, and existing applications, systems and resources as input, and designs the elements of a service-oriented architecture that are needed to realize the business requirements. The introduction of new SOA infrastructure and design should help bridge the gap between business and IT at the researched company and the IT systems and architecture should be more scalable and flexible while growing.

Business challenges faced by IT infrastructures within enterprises are centered on a variety of factors, such as pressure to reduce operational costs, operational risk management and adaptation to business requirements changing. IT management realizes the tremendous need to create a flexible infrastructure that is responsive to change and results in minimal integration costs.

The principal purpose of my study is to design and implement a prototype for a modern enterprise platform at the PRM Company, which should deliver a flexible integration framework and the SOA-based application architecture, providing standard business solutions to be applied at the researched company and its clients.

The prototype was built on Service Component Architecture1 (SCA) principles and specifications, which structure IT assets as a series of reusable service components in an open, technology-neutral universal invocation model developed by open standards such as Web Service and XML. Because of its technological agnostics, this business model can be easily deployed in any runtime environment or IT landscape, without changing the model logic structure. New business requirements or changes can be flexibly designed and implemented by installing new service components or replacing corresponding components in the composition model.

The new developed enterprise platform should be able to flexibly access diverse heterogeneous distributed systems for integration purposes, regardless of which technologies they have. The data from different information sources, including relational databases, XML data sources, Web services, and enterprise information systems should be handled by Service Data Objects1 (SDO) specifications, which is included in Service Component Architecture terminology. Service data objects define the data flowing between service components of the SCA composition model ensures that the model remains technology-neutral and platform independent, because there is no specific data source in the model, which is tightly coupled to legacy or external applications or systems, but only SDOs exist as the unique “currency” exchanged between model components.

The development process of the prototype will be illustrated with successfully implemented management process automation as a concrete case study at the researched company - the “Project Management” scenario. The automation process begins after an order confirmation received from customer and ends with project finance reporting and invoicing. The SCA composition model will be developed with IBM Websphere Integration Developer and deployed on Websphere Process Server. The Monitor Models, which are coupled with the SCA business model to perform Business Activities Monitoring (BAM), will be deployed on Websphere Monitor Server at runtime. Websphere Process Server and IBM SOA Reference Architecture supports SCA and SDO standards with different service components such as WS-BPEL processes, state machines, business rules or human tasks ; and also many mediation capabilities like components assembly diagram, interfaces maps, selector and Business Objects maps.

All parts throughout the structure of this book are organized around this practical case study, and also many definitions and concepts in the theory and scientific background section will be explained with some implementation examples of this business scenario. The methodology for developing the SOA application in my study can be considered as a combination of Thomas Erl’s method (Analysis, Design and Modeling – see section 4.2 to 4.5) and IBM SOA foundation lifecycle (Model, Assemble, Deploy and Manage – see section 4.5.3.b, Chapter 5 and Chapter 7). Of course, after the successful prototypical implementation (see Chapter 7), this methodology should be applied as standard SOA solution at PRM Company and its customers.

This book is outlined from concepts and designs chapters to implementation and simulation parts. The study covers architecture in detail, and shows how the architecture is realized through service identification, specification, realization, implementation, and testing. The main emphasize is then to investigate the efficiency of business process activities through a performance management framework to have a real-time overview of all relevant business activities. This Business Activities Monitoring solution is crucial for managers to keep control of their business and to quickly react to new strategy targets and business problems as well as to market risks and opportunities.

1 SCA : see section 5.2 . SDO : see section 7.1