Oracle SOA Suite 12c Pushes the Envelope for ‘Unified Integration’ for On-Premise, Mobile and Cloud
A major update to Oracle SOA Suite delivers a “unified integration platform” for a range of enterprise projects across on-premises, cloud, mobile, SaaS and even Internet of Things. It also offers unified UIs across crucial components to spur dev and admin productivity. IDN explores Oracle SOA Suite 12c with Amit Zavery, group vice president for Oracle Fusion Middleware.
by Vance McCarthy
group vice president
Oracle Fusion Middleware
"Architects and integration developers are challenged by today’s multiple use cases for cloud, mobile and on-premsies. In Oracle SOA Suite 12c, we’re unifying all these capabilities into one platform."
A major update to Oracle SOA Suite delivers a “unified integration platform” for a range of enterprise projects across on-premises, cloud, mobile, SaaS and even Internet of Things. It also offers unified UIs across crucial components to spur dev and admin productivity.
The idea behind Oracle SOA Suite 12c differs from some integration trends, where different tools are required for on-premises, cloud, SaaS, mobile and other “extended enterprise” integration projects (e.g., Internet of Things, Managed File Transfer, etc.).
Rather than suggest an enterprise adopt different integration solutions to match the location of a project it’s working on, Oracle presents Oracle SOA Suite 12c as a single, unified platform for any on-premises, cloud, SaaS, mobile or device endpoint, Amit Zavery, group vice president for Oracle Fusion Middleware told IDN.
“Our customers want to be able to move their data between [application] front-ends and their enterprise backend systems, and do it fast and securely. We see architects and integration developers are challenged by today’s multiple use cases for cloud, mobile and on-premsies and having to work on many different endpoints,” Zavery said. Simplifying integration is the backbone for that solution. So, in this release of Oracle SOA Suite [12c], we’re unifying all these capabilities into one platform.”
Oracle SOA Suite 12c provides easy access to a rich set of out-of-the-box functionality for all these tasks from a single platform. “Oracle believes this ‘unified’ approach to integration significantly simplifies these [tasks] and will let customers more quickly and effectively leverage their current resources and staff for new opportunities,” Zavery said.
Inside Oracle SOA Suite 12c
‘Unified’ Integration Architecture
Under the covers, Oracle SOA Suite 12c is a unified package of best-of-breed components that work together to deliver integration lifecycle capabilities that can simplify many of the technical infrastructure tasks that go into the integration of apps and data for on-premsies, cloud, SaaS, and mobile. Oracle SOA Suite 12c handles connectivity, transformation, data sharing, policy creation and management, and more.
Cloud, SaaS Integration: Oracle SOA Suite 12c uses a set of Oracle Cloud Adapters (OCA) to integrate SaaS apps with on-premises as well as other SaaS systems.
OCA’s framework uses the same intuitive adapter methodology customers are familiar with for on-premises integration. “We want to use the same type of integration architecture for cloud as we offer for on-premises integration. Your deployment choice should not be defining how you do things. We feel you should be able to develop to meet your integration requirements, and then deploy those where they make sense,” Zavery told IDN.
OCAs are not your typical “adapter” technology from the last decade. OCAs include the smarts to shield integration modelers and devs from complex hand-coding or configuring custom logic for connectivity, security, and session management. “We designed OCAs to handle many of the complexities of integrating with SaaS apps, including session management, and handling complex WSDL tasks,” Zavery said. For example, rather than requiring devs to expose complex WSDL interfaces, OCAs include configuration wizards that provide simplified views of objects to help automate these complicated integration-related tasks, such as CRUD-style interactions.
OCAs also sport features to support compliance, security and governance requirements, Zavery added.
This added OCA simplification comes as a relief for many dev teams, Zavery said. “Some cloud integrations can be ten times more complicated than a traditional on-premises one – mainly because IT doesn’t have control over a cloud resource,” he said.
For Oracle SOA Suite 12c, OCAs are available to help organizations integrate with Oracle’s cloud-based apps, including Oracle Sales Cloud, Oracle Marketing Cloud, Oracle Service Cloud, as well as Salesforce.com, and other popular SaaS apps. Oracle will continue to roll out OCAs for other popular SaaS solutions, Zavery added.
For those who can’t wait, Oracle also released an OCA SDK to allow devs to build their own cloud adapters. The SDK is available on Oracle Technology Network for target integrations. Zavery also confirmed to IDN that Oracle continues to work on a cloud-based iPaaS (integration platform-as-a-service) option.
“The Oracle iPaaS Integration cloud service, based on components of Oracle SOA Suite, will provide the ability for customers to do their integration in the cloud. It will be scalable and high-performance, and provide mapping recommendations based on thousands of mappings to help customers speed and simplify their [cloud] integrations,” Zavery added.
Mobile Integration: Oracle SOA Suite 12c delivers native support for lightweight REST and JSON integration. The new release also has the capability to automatically convert XML to JSON. The combination is powerful for putting front-end and backend mobile devs on the same page to speed up the design, test and launch of mobile apps, Zavery said,
“Our support for REST and JSON integration standards means that any existing app can be mobile-enabled easily, and integrated. We made sure the REST is at the same level as anything we provide. You don’t have to figure out how to expose them or reuse. We natively route the REST interface data and the JSON between the different endpoints,” Zavery said.
Oracle SOA Suite 12c also introduces a REST binding within JDeveloper to simplify mobile enablement by exposing traditional SOAP services, Enterprise Java Beans (EJBs), JCA adapters connecting backend applications or just about any other underlying implementation through REST/JSON.
The REST binding is available for SOA composites and Oracle Service Bus services and allows the configuration of REST interactions as exposed services or proxy services. It also allows the invocation of externally available REST services.
One other mobile-optimized feature - under the covers, Oracle SOA Suite’s Oracle Service Bus provides an integration layer for REST- and JSON-enabled services to expose them as APIs. This OSB capability makes it possible to more quickly and easily create mobile apps by leveraging existing on-premises and cloud-based SaaS applications.
“Beyond a messaging engine, OSB provides the virtualization layer that is key to any sustainable multi-channel strategy and more specifically any mobile strategy,” Zavery said. This means OSB provides all the necessary mediation needed to translate and transform message formats.
Oracle SOA Suite 12c’s loosely-coupled approach brings several key benefits for mobile devs, including being shielded from intricate and complex details of underlying implementations of back-end applications, (e.g., legacy protocols, etc.) as well as from changes that might occur in the backend.
This mobile-friendly Oracle SOA Suite 12c approach also means devs can use Oracle’s associated Oracle Mobile Application Framework to keep the development of their front-end apps independent of the underlying operating system.
Managed File Transfer: An add-on for Oracle SOA Suite 12c, Oracle MFT helps customers load data securely and ensures secure file exchange and management with internal departments, as well as with offsite cloud or partner locations. The solution streamlines file transfer management and reduces much of the cost and complexity of MFT by consolidating disparate FTP point solutions across the organization.
“Many of these types of integrations use files that are hard to sequence and manage them. This feature set eliminates MFT complexities across many different endpoints,” Zavery said. Oracle MFT also provides dynamic, “just-in-time” large file support so that files are made available only to the exact systems or personnel required to receive them.
It also protects against inadvertent access to unsecured files at every step in the end-to-end transfer of files. For example, even in mid-flight, it protects data in a DMZ using the SSH/FTP reverse proxy. Reports on end-to-end transfers show per-file detail information on file name, partner name, endpoint name, transfer status, compression or encryption.
Oracle MFT is designed for easy use by non-technical staff, and offers extensive reporting to provide status on file transfers. The audit capabilities assure users can always be able to locate critical partner file status – even after files are deleted or archived.
Management: Oracle also updated capabilities for devs and admins to monitor and manage their mission-critical integration tasks, including the ability to better meet requirements for security and service levels.
“We also enhanced considerably the associated management pack for Oracle SOA Suite to monitor and manage any endpoint integration across on-premises, cloud, mobile and even IoT,” Zavery said. The update gives IT a range of real-time monitoring and management capabilities for any message-based or REST-based integration, he said. IT can define and actively manage policy, SLA and prioritize traffic.
An updated SOA Management Packs for Oracle Enterprise Manager (OEM) 12c provides deep and easily accessible visibility to SOA and private clouds.
Users can browse through running SOA servers, applications and service engines to easily recognize and trouble shoot runtime problems. For private clouds, OEM 12c introduces the Java VM Diagnostics-as-a-Service (DaaS) capability to allow admins to provide Java VM diagnostics capabilities directly to devs and QA engineers, as needed. Users can be provisioned automatically and receive their own self-service portals for accessing diagnostics capabilities.
Also, because OEM works with the Oracle Web Services Manager, admins can define security policies for services and components outside of appdev tasks, Zavery added.
Unification Across the Integration Lifecycle, Stakeholders, UIs
When it comes to unifying integration, in this release Oracle looks to unify not just platform and tooling – but even the people.
From a tooling perspective, Oracle enables a single, unified IDE with JDeveloper providing a rich set of design, analysis and development tools: Oracle SOA Suite 12c unifies the UI for Oracle SOA Suite, Oracle Service Bus and Oracle Event Processing, into a single experience.
The JDeveloper interface simplifies integration and eliminates the need to train devs, admins and architects on separate components for every aspect of integration, which lowers cost and provides a faster time to integrate, Zavery said.
Oracle designed Oracle SOA Suite 12c to provide architects and enterprise developers easy access to a rich set of functionality they will need to support all their endpoints – cloud, mobile or on-premises – or the next new thing, Zavery told IDN.
“To us, letting customers use the same enterprise [integration] framework is the best way to keep pace. So, Oracle engineered SOA Suite 12c for that kind of model, where you can design and deliver integrations out-of-the-box for multiple endpoints. It lets organizations use a common set of tools and the same [integration] teams. That’s the power of a ‘unified’ integration platform,” he said.
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