With the current Cloud strategy that drives Oracle also the release cycle approach has changed. Currently there is a 3 months release cycle for most cloud services. Oracle strives to shrink the release cycle even more in the future. One of these cloud services is the Integration Cloud Service.
Between november and the begin of december the fall updates were released. In this article we will look into the features that were released. Certainly two of the features will be discussed in more detail in a separate article i.e. about content-based routing and the agent.
So, what is the Integration Cloud Service?
ICS lets your organization create integrations between cloud applications, but also between cloud and on-premise applications. Create connections to well known and less known SaaS applications using a bunch of cloud adapters, publish or subscribe to the Messaging Cloud Service, or use industry standards like SOAP & REST. The available set of cloud adapters will certainly grow in the future. ICS focusses on the LOB user, or citizen developer, to easily create integration without the need of a specialized developer. Check out my earlier article introducing the Integration Cloud Service.
What is included the Fall Updates?
In the fall of 2015 Oracles updated the Integration Cloud Service to version 18.104.22.168.0. The following features are available in this version or above. The main features are as follows.
Business Indicators now visible at Instance Tracking level
In ICS it was already possible, at was even required, to assign business indicators to an integration. These business indicators are now visible when tracking instances. Business indicators can be set when editing the integration.
Look-and-feel updates creating Integrations
The first thing that you notice when you look at existing integrations is that some changes are made to the look-and-feel. When having a source that uses events e.g. Sales Cloud it shows both request and response operation, because of the asynchronous callback. Before it only showed the source type and name the user specified. Other subtle changes are the way the overall interface looks like.
Data/File Integration with Schedule
In the fall updates a new connection type is added i.e. FTP. With this connection type it is possible to transfer files from a source location to a target location or transferring large amount of data matching certain characteristic to be sent to target application via file for processing. A use-case for this type of connections is that the Sales Cloud Master data such as customer / item synchronizations happen at periodic intervals instead of real time. Transferring files from one FTP to another FTP can be done with or without mapping.
Besides the FTP connection the scheduler is introduced. The scheduler allows data to be pulled from SaaS applications (ROQL/SOQL/Get operations) at a given schedule. A schedule can be defined by hour/day/month or even year. A schedule can be repeated e.g. every hour on weekdays. Schedules can also be monitored / tracked.ret
New this fall is a feature that brings more flexibility to integrations. The update introduces content-based routing, which essentially mean that based on a value in the payload a different flow is executed. A use-case for this type of routing is the possibility to retrieve data from a different application based on the country code.
You can add multiple branches on different expressions or use the else branch of any other value. For each branch you can create a totally different integration flow. Each branch can have a different target. Soon more on this topic in a separate article.
The agent is still not yet generally available, but it should be released soon. With the Agent you can connect Oracle’s cloud services with On-Premises applications. With the Agent you can for instance connect with your “on-prem” database or ERP application using the existing JCA adapter framework.
When Oracle developed the Agent the following guidelines where the basis of the solution:
- It is not required to open inbound ports to communicate with on-premise applications
- It is not required to expose any private SOAP based web services
- It is not required to host on-premise assets on DMZ
- It is not required to have an existing J2EE container to deploy Agent on
- It is not required to have IT personnel monitor on-premises component
The Agent consists of two components; one Cloud Agent installed on ICS & one Ground Agent installed at on-premises. The Agent uses the Messaging Cloud for message exchange between cloud and on-premises. It only allows connections established to Oracle Cloud. It dis-allows explicit inbound connections for 3rd party consumers. At the core the Agent uses the JCA adapter framework to invoke on-premises endpoints.
More on this topic in a separate article when the Agent is generally available. This article will describe the usage in detail.
Whats Next for Integration Cloud Service?
This concludes this article about the fall update, but there are some great things coming to Integration Cloud Service. The biggest thing I saw at OpenWorld 2015 is the story about orchestration. ICS will get a new flexible, free-form UI Canvas which lets the user drag & drop endpoints, connect wires, configure routes and branches.
It supports the already existing ICS features like tracking, mapping data. endpoint configuration, content-based routing and customization. New features are branching, looping and pipeline/chaining of callouts.
This smells like BPEL to me, but more on this when it is available in the next year.