Collaborate 08 – Day 2

3

This was my second day of Collaborate
08. I attended 3 sessions today:

  • Oracle Unbreakable Linux and
    Oracle VM – by Monica Kumar, Oracle

  • Building E-Business Suite
    Interfaces using BPEL – by Asif Hussain, Innowave Technology

  • Using BPEL and Workflow to build
    integration components for the E-Business Suite – by Ryan Stefani
    and Chad Coffman, Solbourne....

Oracle Unbreakable Linux and Oracle VM

Monica Kumar, Oracle

This session was all about the Oracle Linux program. A number of
reasons why anyone would want to choose for the Oracle Unbreakable
Linux Support offering:

  • OS support and Database support under the same umbrella (no
    fingerpointing)

  • Any customer can have this support, not only Oracle customers

  • Backed by the world’s biggest support team

  • 24×7, 145 countries, 27 languages support

  • Enterprise quality

  • Lower costs

What is Unbreakable Linux? It is a support program. By the way,
Oracle has been offering Unbreakable Linux since 2002 already. This
offering comprised of in house fixing OS bugs for Severity 1 issues.
So, by no means this was new to Oracle. They extended their
activities to full OS support.

Enterprise Linux, as provided by Oracle is tracking the RedHat
production releases. Freely available, at no cost, on x86 and x86-64
on Intel and AMD Architecture.
What I didn’t know, is that Oracle
also supports plain old RedHat releases. They decided on that to make
it easier for customers to switch to Oracle for support.

Why did Oracle choose RedHat? Because it is Main Stream. Also,
because Oracle was getting signals from customers about frustration
concerning the quality of the available support, most likely in
combination with Oracle products, I believe.

One of the nice features that Oracle provides is the Validated
Configuration Guide. This guide provides information on
configurations of Enterprise Linux running on hardware and storage
configurations that has been tested by Oracle and validated as proper
configurations. It also provides information on drivers, software
configuration etc. Really neat if you’d ask me.

One of the latest additions to this program was the free offering
of Oracle Clusterware for licensed Unbreakable Linux customers. This
enables customers to build their own clusters, without having to pay
for expensive cluster packages.

The second half of the presentation dealt with Oracle VM,
available since a couple of months.

Oracle VM, consists of 2 components: Oracle VM Server and Oracle
VM Manager. Oracle VM Server is based on Xen technology that has been
optimized for Oracle. The VM Manager is private source, but available
free of charge. Again, the support is licensed, however, in my humble
opinion, it really is affordable (max US$999 per machine, unlimited
processors). It supports Windows and Linux guests, 32 and 64 bit OS.
Parametered Virtualization is supported on all hardware; hardware
virtualization is only supported on x86.
It supports hardware up
to 64way SMP machines, the virtual machines are supported to a
maximum of 32 processors (virtual, that is).

Building E-Business Suite Interfaces using BPEL

Asif Hussain, Innowave Technology

This presentation in fact was a very much compressed version of
the Oracle Fusion Middleware Bootcamp that I did in October/November
last year in Chicago. Asif explained the benefits of developing
interfaces using BPEL to communicate with E-Business Suite. A lot of
the information I got here I already heard during previous sessions
yesterday.

For me the session didn’t bring so much new information. However
Asif gave a very nice demonstration building a BPEL process that
interacts with the E-Business Suite.

Here it became very clear that the Oracle E-Business Suite Adapter
provided by the Oracle SOA Suite is a very powerful tool. Don’t get
me wrong, (almost) anything that the EBS Adapter does can be done
using the other adapters as well. For example initiating Concurrent
Processes using the database adapter is possible, however you need to
know the exact procedures for this. The EBS Adapter delivers this via
wizards and preconfigured routines. It also uses the integration
repository, when on Release 12, which is a great benefit, because any
changes in the iRep are immediately reflected and available in the
EBS Adapter.

Using BPEL and Workflow to build Integration
Components for the E-Business Suite

Ryan Stefani and Chad Coffman, Solbourne

This presentation, by it’s title only, would look very much like
the previous one, with the exception of the mentioning of Workflow.
And that made all the difference, almost.

One of the questions one might ask when considering BPEL to use as
an integration tool for the E-Business Suite is “Why can’t I use
Workflow?”. You can in a way, but Workflow is a tool intended for
use with Oracle E-Business Suite only. It is a proprietary
tool, that was developed for the E-Business Suite, an orchestration
language for communication within the E-Business Suite. The advantage
of BPEL is that it is industry standards based, it is much broader in
it’s perspective, like a glue that ties all your applications
together.

It would even be possible to put all of the functionality of
Workflow into BPEL. However, you wouldn’t want to do that, because
that would mean a lot of work. Leave that to Oracle, because Oracle
has indicated that Workflow will most likely be replaced by BPEL, so,
take my advice: don’t start doing it yourself. You will be sorry…

However, for any new processes that you would want to develop, it
might be profitable to consider BPEL,
because it has many advantages over Workflow, as indicated above.
Another few examples:

  • Workflow is table-based. It uses many tables, and finding out
    what exactly went wrong in a Workflow process can be very difficult.

  • Workflow requires additional skills, knowledge of the
    E-Business Suite (sysadmin, concurrent programs, etc.)

The most interesting thing Ryan and Chad told us was that they
developed a so-called “Enterprise Foundation Framework Dashboard”
This is a solution based on a number of custom tables and a way of
developing BPEL Processes that dehydrates the status of a process at
any given time (through a process activity), logs information about
payload of any activity, transformation or whatsoever and makes it
viewable through a dashboard in the style of a self-service page in
EBS. I must say, I was thrilled to see something like this, because
that is the very thing lacking from the BPEL solution that Oracle
offers currently. These guys were able to show the status of a
process, error reporting, which concurrent process was being called
from the BPEL process, linking directly to the instance of the
process, to view it from the Process Manager Console. They also
provide the possibility to resubmit the process, and using the logged
status from the log tables, the process would start from the point it
stopped. Really interesting stuff, that would be very useful at the
customer I am currently working with. However, this dashboard is not
a stand-alone product that you can buy or install, it must be
included into the project development. Pity, but nevertheless very
interesting to investigate a bit more.

After this final session for today, I was invited to the OAUG
international reception where I had the opportunity to meet with some
very interesting people.

That was it for today.

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3 Comments

  1. Arnoud,

    Thanks for coming to our presentation and being so engaged. It was a great conference and having guys like you there makes it much more fun. I wanted to revisit our conversation regarding your interest in the Enterprise Foundation Framework (EFF) and accompanying OA Framework Dashboard for your company. Shoot me an email when you have a moment.

  2. Patrick Roozen on

    Arnoud I was wondering if Oracle mentioned something about licensing and number of processors in a VM. I mean that in the past (to my knowledge) Oracle’s policy was to license based on the actual hardware used by the VM not wat was allocated to the VM. Thus an 8 CPU machine with a VM that has 2 CPU’s you still needed to have a license for 8 CPU’s for an Oracle database in the VM.