SOA Integration: Service-Enable Your Business Logic for Greater Agility

by Dain Hansen
05/16/2008

The BEA SOA Integration solution connects applications, processes, and data sources into reusable services that can help organizations improve customer service, add new revenue streams, and streamline operations. While Service-Oriented Architecture (SOA) promises the benefits of business agility, BEA SOA Integration helps businesses realize those benefits for a higher return on investment.

Overview

Your business strives to be agile to stay ahead of competitors and deliver increasing value to your customers. But agility is not enough; you must also provide a foundation for managing change and accelerating time-to-value, to avoid costly and chaotic responses that can capsize your business.

For many businesses coping with change, IT departments have to balance changing business requirements with evolving regulatory requirements while keeping existing systems running. Existing applications represent a substantial investment, but to satisfy new business trends, IT departments have had to replace them or engage in costly integration projects that take years to implement.

Your organization needs to leverage your existing applications, but also expand their capabilities by transforming them into services in order to drive new levels of customer service and move quickly into dynamic markets. BEA's SOA Integration solution unifies and simplifies your efforts to integrate all your systems, applications, and data sources to get tangible results. It ensures investment protection in existing applications and infrastructure now and into the future.

Key components to SOA Integration

SOA Integration provides a flexible and responsive IT infrastructure that transforms brittle systems, applications, and data sources into highly flexible and reusable services. SOA Integration gives IT better control to bridge the gaps between systems, applications, and data sources with ease. It can directly support your organization's business processes by bringing together systems, applications and data sources in an automated business process flow. Its key components are:

Service Integration. As your business IT initiatives progress from small departmental SOA footprints to enterprise-wide SOA, you need services distributed across multiple SOA domains to build high-value composite applications. An Enterprise Service Bus (ESB) is a messaging backbone that provides this function, as well as mediating and providing locationindependent access to services across a service network. ESBs require integrated service governance and management capabilities across multiple SOA domains to enable consistent Quality of Service (QoS), control, and visibility, in order to ensure reuse across the enterprise-wide service network.

figure 1
Figure 1. BEA's SOA Integration solution combines these key components into a flexible software infrastructure that can be deployed modularly or unified as a complete integrated suite, to rapidly connect applications, processes, data sources into reusable services

Process Integration. To span multiple projects successfully, ESBs need to leverage complex process integration as well as service mediation. Process integration requires service orchestration, state management, complex business logic, long-running transactions, and application integration, as well as J2EE extensibility. BEA's SOA Integration solution provides the heavy lifting for managing IT-centric processes, so that you can extend your existing IT assets and applications and meet any integration challenge head-on.

SOA Connectivity. The last mile to your applications may seem like the longest mile. You need to get connected securely, efficiently, and reliably without using brittle adapters that were not designed for rapid change. Leveraging ESB techniques for lastmile connectivity promotes better service reuse, and combining these techniques with governance enables innovation beyond your existing packaged and custom applications.

Data Services. A data services layer provides data mediation or abstraction between different data consumers and diverse sources. Data services are virtual, aggregated views of data built from sources across the enterprise. They simplify data access and updates and, once created, are highly reusable. Ultimately data services give you reliable access to enterprise information you can trust, even from diverse sources.

SOA Integration solution modules

BEA's SOA Integration solution provides a flexible software infrastructure that can be deployed modularly or unified as a complete integrated suite.

BEA AquaLogic Service Bus is a proven, lightweight SOA integration platform designed to connect, mediate, and manage interactions between heterogeneous services, legacy applications, and multiple enterprise service bus (ESB) instances across an enterprise-wide service network. It offers unparalleled Quality of Service control with unique policy-based service virtualization, service pooling, and throttling capabilities that meet the demands of high-volume SOA projects. As the market leading ESB and unlike other ESBs, BEA AquaLogic Service Bus is a proven scalable solution that, while occupying a light footprint, offers a complete solution for an SOA backbone.

BEA AquaLogic Integrator is designed to bridge gaps by rapidly integrating existing applications, rationalizing IT processes, and automating and exposing applications and processes for greater reuse across the enterprise. BEA AquaLogic Integrator combines the power of BEA WebLogic Integration for complex transactional process integration with the high performance service mediation, connectivity and embedded management capabilities of BEA AquaLogic Service Bus to manage reusable services in a dynamically changing environment. BEA AquaLogic Integrator is built on and includes BEA WebLogic Server, and its services, processes, and mediation inherit all the reliability, scalability, security, and extensibility of BEA WebLogic Server, the world's leading application server.

BEA AquaLogic Data Services Platform is a solution for building Information-as-a-Service (IaaS) deployments. It transforms heterogeneous, siloed enterprise data into reusable information servicesproviding real-time, accurate information to people, processes, and applications. It also includes technology for the complete information-services life cycle, including modeling, testing, deployment, and management. BEA AquaLogic Data Services Platform is the only IaaS solution that supports the creation of bidirectional (read and write) information services from multiple data sources.

BEA Smart Connect helps companies integrate and manage ERP applications using an SOA-based approach. Built upon the powerful service integration capabilities of BEA AquaLogic Service Bus, Smart Connect provides the ability to expose ERP functionality as shared services. These product components incorporate the latest versions of ERP applications including SAP, Oracle, PeopleSoft, and Siebel. Smart Connect offers a ubiquitous, serviceoriented solution for ERP connectivity across the BEA WebLogic and BEA AquaLogic product families. Unified SOA and business process management (BPM): All BEA SOA Integration modules participate in end-to-end governance and management through integration with BEA AquaLogic Registry Repository and BEA AquaLogic SOA Management. BEA SOA Integration seamlessly integrates with BEA AquaLogic BPM to service-enable your business processes to be flexible enough to meet the evolving demands of your business.

Reaping the benefits of SOA

While SOA promises the benefits of business agility, BEA SOA Integration helps businesses realize those benefits and apply them to the bottom line.

For example, British Airways needed to make it as easy as possible for customers to do business with the airline and deployed the BEA solution to simplify online booking and check-in. BA.com is now its frontline sales channel, managing up to 25 percent of all bookings. The strategy has led to continued transformation of ba.com in support of millions of customers, while containing costs on an IT platform that is flexible and capable of adapting to market demands (see the British Airways success story at bea.com).

T-Mobile Hungary deployed BEA's unified SOA and BPM solution to create an environment in which the company can continue to build new integrated business processes across historically separate architectures. This enabling technology is proving to be one of the key success factors for the Hungarian Telecom and T-Mobile Hungary corporate merger (see the T-Mobile Hungary success story at bea.com).

These are just some of the benefits of BEA's SOA Integration:

Bridges the gaps. SOA Integration offers core technology for bridging gaps between applications in your IT environment and the people and processes that critically rely on them. It utilizes the lessons learned in SOA and applies them for better utilizing traditional and innovative IT assets as reusable services across the enterprise.

Improves responsiveness. As part of its core capabilities, SOA Integration provides a framework for enabling services and connecting them to processes and people through SOA-based techniques for aggregating, orchestrating, and mediating services. This insulation layer promotes the independence of front-end applications from changes to the back end. The combined enablement and integration can ultimately accelerate IT responsiveness to evolving business requirements.

Simplifies IT. SOA Integration simplifies your efforts to solve integration challenges by providing a flexible infrastructure that can be deployed as a suite or as individual capabilities, as well as the integration services to accomplish it when and how you need it.

Improves visibility. SOA integration provides improved visibility into enterprise data and business processes. Applying SOA Integration increases data reuse, reduces data inconsistency errors and ultimately provides a single source of trusted enterprise information or application data. Combined with BPM, SOA Integration can promote increased process visibility that can better align business with IT.

Dain Hansen is Director, Product Marketing Manager for SOA Integration at BEA. He is currently working on projects in SOA, including: SOA Management, Governance and has long running experience with ESB technology.