Working with the BEA AquaLogic BPM Suite
by Alex Toussaint
The BEA AquaLogic Business Service Interaction (ALBSI) product line is an integrated set of products and tools that automate, execute, and monitor the entire lifecycle of a business process by connecting people to applications. The AquaLogic BPM Suite (ALBPM) is part of the ALBSI product line as a result of the Fuego acquisition. BEA AquaLogic is the BEA family of products available to ensure successful SOA projects.
This article demonstrates how companies can use AquaLogic BPM Suite 5.5 with other BEA products and illustrates how BEA WebLogic Integration 8.1 (WLI) components can be used from a process flow, and how the AquaLogic Service Bus 2.1 (ALSB) can be used to intermediate calls made by the BPM engine to Web services. Business analysts can interact with process flows directly over the Web with AquaLogic BPM HiPer Workspace 5.5, WebLogic Portal 8.1.5 (WLP), and AquaLogic Integration Process 1.5 (ALIP).
As business process management (BPM) becomes a key component of enterprise strategy, business analysts and IT staff must come together to understand its benefits and how it can best connect to existing infrastructure. Organizations have been doing business process management directly or indirectly without software. Now the business can apply software to monitor particular business processes, to review its execution history, to provide the business with the capability to analyze the process performance, and to make changes to the original processes in real time.
This article provides a reference scenario whereby AquaLogic BPM Suite is used with other BEA products in a simple process flow, with two goals in mind: to create a process flow and call a Java process created from BEA WebLogic Integration Server; and to interact with the AquaLogic Service Bus to broker different business services.
Other BEA products can benefit from business process management services when integrated with AquaLogic BPM as illustrated in Figure 1. You can use BPM with the BEA Application Infrastructure as well as with the BEA Service Infrastructure.
Figure 1. AquaLogic BPM Suite can be used with the BEA Application Infrastructure and the BEA Service Infrastructure to provide business process management services.
This article assumes you are familiar with the BEA family of products. References are provided for additional background in each section.
What is BPM?
The term business process management (BPM) defines the different activities required by an organization or a business group to implement and complete specific processes. After a process is in place, additional steps can be performed to improve and optimize its flow and performance. In broad terms, the main activities that constitute business process management can be divided into four top categories: design, implementation, execution, and monitoring. The term BPM Suite applies to a collection of software tools that together can be used to model, implement, run, monitor, and optimize a business process.
While abstract in terms of description, business processes are a part of the day-to-day operations and services of any corporation. Some examples of processes include:
- Applying for a house loan—Loan Origination Process
- Starting a mobile phone service—Account Initiation Process
- Hiring a new employee—Employee On-Boarding Process
- Building a new jet engine—Parts and Assembly Process
More sophisticated processes can also be defined as described in Figure 2 below. BPM can be deployed in conjunction with other software solutions to power process portals (PDF); BPM can also participate in service orchestration-type projects.
- In the case of process portals, BPM functionality can help guide application navigation flow to achieve a particular goal. For example, a set of screen flows presented in the form of portlets could be driven by a BPM engine.
- In the case of service orchestration, a series of service calls could be driven by the BPM engine using the BPEL standard. In this case, the need for user interaction may not be required.
Figure 2 demonstrates how sophisticated flows can be built to map business processes in the enterprise. This is an example of a business process built by the AquaLogic BPM Studio 5.5 tool.
Figure 2. Business process flow
An Example Integration Scenario
Let's examine a sample integration scenario and look at how to go about implementing it. By following this example you will learn how WebLogic Integration components such as a Process Definition for Java (JPD) and business services from AquaLogic Service Bus can be used from AquaLogic BPM. Here is an outline of the high-level scenario in the integration of various products centered on the AquaLogic BPM Suite 5.5:
- The business analyst defines an initial business process flow using AquaLogic BPM Suite 5.5. The analyst will make use of the AquaLogic BPM Designer to define the process and share the flow definition with IT.
- Once the initial process flow is in place, a technical user can implement any required services or system integration using the AquaLogic BPM Studio 5.5 tool.
- Using WebLogic Workshop 8.1, a developer will create a JPD with WebLogic Integration 8.1.5 components.
- After the components are created, the developer will call them from the AquaLogic BPM Studio 5.5 tool.
- Using the AquaLogic Service Bus 2.1 or later, the developer or system administrator will register a business service, hosted at the public BEA WSRP Test Server, from which they will create a proxy service.
- After the components are created and configured, the developer will call them from the AquaLogic BPM Studio 5.5 tool.
- Finally, the business processes can be launched and monitored using WebLogic Portal 8.1.5 or AquaLogic Interaction Process 1.5.
To follow this scenario, the software items listed below must be installed in the target computer environment. A developer may choose to install only the products with which he or she is most familiar to make faster progress. AquaLogic BPM Studio 5.5 must be installed in order to model the process flow and tie it to other systems.
- AquaLogic BPM Studio 5.5
- AquaLogic Interaction Process 1.5
- AquaLogic Service Bus 2.1 or later
- WebLogic Workshop 8.1.5
- WebLogic Integration 8.1.5
- WebLogic Portal 8.1.5
AquaLogic BPM Suite
The AquaLogic BPM Suite is a complete product suite for creating, executing, and optimizing business processes. The suite enables collaboration between business and IT to automate and optimize business processes. This can improve efficiency and agility, lower costs, and improve compliance and quality of service.
Figure 3. BEA AquaLogic BPM Suite components
Figure 3 shows the different components of the AquaLogic BPM Suite. The components are described in detail in the >product documentation. The components are: (1) BEA AquaLogic BPM Designer, (2) BEA AquaLogic BPM Studio, (3) BEA AquaLogic BPM Enterprise Server, (4) BEA AquaLogic HiPer Workspace for BPM, (5) BEA AquaLogic BPM Manager, and (6) BEA AquaLogic BPM Dashboard.