|Oracle8i Integration Server Overview
Release 3 (8.1.7)
Part Number A83729-01
This chapter provides an overview of Oracle Integration Server (OIS). OIS is a complete suite of software that addresses the e-business requirements for integrating different components. It has the breadth of functionality, the robustness, and the tools to address the most demanding and complex integration scenarios.
This chapter includes the following topics:
OIS addresses a wide range of integration problems ranging from simple front-office to back-office integration within a company, to creation of a strategic IT integration infrastructure within a company, and finally to business-to-business integration. The functionality provided by the Oracle Integration Server includes:
Oracle Data Access Gateways enable applications to access and manage data from heterogeneous data sources
The Oracle Integration Server includes Advanced Replication, which provides powerful and flexible replication capabilities for synchronization of data across multiple distributed databases. The key features include:
Advanced Replication is centrally managed, configured, and maintained with the Oracle Replication Manager.
The Oracle Integration Server supports synchronous-communication-based integration with a built-in Java-based CORBA 2.0 compliant Object Request Broker (ORB) and an Enterprise JavaBeans (EJB) server.
Additional CORBA facilities in the Oracle Integration Server include:
java2idlsimplify application development.
The Oracle JDeveloper is the development tool used for developing EJB components. Caffeine is the Java-to-IDL compiler. Oracle Integration Server can interoperate with the Microsoft Com+ component model through third party bridges.
Oracle Integration Server provides support for asynchronous integration of application through its Advanced Queuing feature. Advanced Queuing is a full-service messaging queuing system. Some of the key features include:
The Oracle Integration Server, along with related tools, provides enterprises with the ability to analyze and gather intelligence about their business processes.
The Advanced Queuing feature of the Oracle Integration Server automatically retains and tracks every message that flows through its queues. It tracks all relevant details of the message: enqueue times, dequeue times, destinations visited, identification of transactions that processed the message, and the relationship between the message and exception conditions. It retains this information in queryable queues that are accessible through standard query and reporting tools. You can exploit this information to improve business processes in two ways:
The warehouse can answer such questions as:
Oracle can create extremely large message warehouses and perform complex analytical queries on them with fast response times. Oracle tools to help you in information analysis include Oracle Report, Oracle Express and Oracle Discoverer. Business process analysis provides business managers with the information they need to make intelligent decisions about their business, streamline processes, deploy resources more effectively, and increase overall efficiency.
Oracle Integration Server connects heterogeneous applications and smooths the flow of data, messages, business objects, and business events between applications. Each application has its own definitions of business objects, schema, and message formats. To enable applications to communicate, the Oracle Integration Server provides transformation services that convert the output format of one application into the input format of another.
OIS offers a design-time visual tool for definition of datatypes and transformation between different types of data. Transformations that can be defined using the visual tool include string operations, mathematical operations, date formatting, and shape changes. You can provide your own transformation routines through call-out mechanisms. The tool can import type definitions from the repositories of Oracle and SAP applications. It also can import XML Document Type Definition (DTD) for transformation of XML messages. Future releases of the Integration Server will also support XSL-T-based transformation of XML messages.
The data types and the transformation between types are design-time activities. The results are stored in the server repository. The runtime transformation engine in the Oracle Integration Server uses this information to transform data as it flows between applications. The Oracle Integration Server defines an open API that enables you to use any other compatible transformation instead.
Oracle Integration Server is a non-intrusive integration solution. This implies that it requires no reengineering of existing applications, or only minimal reengineering. Because most applications were not designed to be integrated, they have no simple way of communicating with the Oracle Integration Server. Thus, adapters are required to bridge between applications and the Integration Server.
Adapters interface with applications to do the following:
The architecture of adapters varies depending on the application with which they interface. Typically they run on a computer in close proximity to the application. In some cases, they run in the execution environment of the application itself, such as in the Oracle Application/Database Server. They can also be deployed in the execution environment of the database, especially if they are implemented in Java or PL/SQL. In all cases, the goal of Oracle Corporation is to provide a centrally managed environment for hosting and executing adapters.
Oracle will partner with a number of vendors to provide adapters to packaged and industry-specific applications. Oracle will also provide an Adapter SDK to simplify the development of adapters for custom and legacy applications. The Adapter SDK will provide libraries to deploy triggers, parse XML messages, and use JMS.
Oracle Integration Server includes a graphical, visual process modeling tool. You can use the tool in scenarios like these:
The validation model is executed by a runtime engine called the Business Process Coordinator. The Oracle Business Process Coordinator maintains the transition state information for all the processes it is executing. It uses all the other functional components to complete its task. The Oracle Business Process Coordinator is unique in that it can automate processes that require human intervention (traditional workflow) as well as those that do not (system-to-system processes).
The Oracle Integration Server is managed and monitored by the Oracle Enterprise Manager (OEM). The OEM is a systems management tool that can also monitor Oracle applications and instances of the Oracle Databases/Application Servers. It enables an administrator to manage a distributed environment from a single, central console. It has been enhanced to manage all the moving pieces of an integrated environment. Enterprise Manager manages system objects at three levels of granularity:
The previous sections provided a high-level functional overview of the Oracle Integration Server. This section describes the design objectives of the Integration Server to help you better use and benefit from it. This section contains:
Most integration products on the market are aimed at solving a specific integration problem, for instance, connecting a particular front-office application to a particular back-office ERP application. Their value is the quick integration of two applications to solve an immediate business problem. Some products are even more limited: they just specialize in integrating a specific transaction between two applications.
Although the Oracle Integration Server can solve specific problems, it is designed to go beyond point solutions and to encourage enterprises to view integration as a strategic component of the IT infrastructure.
Oracle Corporation believes that enterprises should begin with an integration architecture designed independently of any specific application. They should choose a product that meets both their current and their future needs. The Oracle Integration Server is designed to be the integration backbone for the entire enterprise. It has all the characteristics expected of enterprise-quality software: robustness, scalability, open architecture, adherence to industry standards, and management and development tools.
The Oracle Integration Server is a comprehensive solution that offers a number of technologies to help you solve different integration problems. The Server offers great breadth of functionality within each of these technologies.
Oracle Corporation does not restrict you to the use of any particular technology: you can choose the technology that exactly solves your problem. All the technologies are seamlessly integrated. However, you can use Oracle technologies independently of each other, thus avoiding useless complexity when you choose a particular technology. For example, you can use the Advanced Queuing feature for asynchronous communication without knowing anything about the synchronous ORB-based communication infrastructure or about Advanced Replication.
This is possible because the Oracle Integration Server has been designed from the ground up to offer you a full spectrum of technologies. Most integration solutions on the market originated in niche technologies such as message-oriented middleware, publish-subscribe engines, data transformation, and workflow. The functionality of these products outside of each one's core competency tends to be weak. These products compensate for their weakness by loosely integrating with partner products. The result is a product that forces you to address every type of problem by using the same technology.
The Oracle Integration Server is designed for mission-critical enterprise-wide business implementations. Towards this end, it offers two major features:
The Oracle Integration Server is based on the proven process architecture and runtime environment of the Oracle8i platform and transparently inherits all the RAS characteristics from it. Oracle8i is proven in large-scale online transaction processing applications (OLTP) that support thousands of concurrent users and extremely high transaction volumes. It scales linearly in a both symmetric multi processor (SMP) architecture as well as in clustered architectures. Oracle8i has a number of high reliability solutions including hot stand-by servers, transparent application failover, and fast recovery from failures.
Oracle Corporation recommends a distributed hub-and-spoke deployment model to simplify integration management. We believes that, as with database servers, it is preferable to consolidate all integration logic into a few large servers, rather than to distribute it over many small servers. The Oracle Integration Server supports such an architecture with the high RAS capabilities described in the previous section.
Many products try to compensate for their limited RAS capabilities by recommending a highly distributed bus architecture. It has been repeatedly proven that such an architecture leads to extreme complexity in management and is therefore not suitable for mission-critical environments. However, note that the architecture of the Oracle Integration Server does not preclude deployment in a distributed bus topology.
Most enterprises have invested in developing skills and expertise in Oracle database technology. Oracle Integration Server leverages and protects your investment in these skills. It uses tools with which you are already familiar: Oracle Enterprise Manager, Oracle Designer, Oracle JDeveloper, Oracle Report, and Oracle Discoverer. You can access Integration Server functionality through standard languages like Java, C, C++, as well as PL/SQL. You can use existing database administration skills to manage and administer the Oracle Integration Server.
Oracle Integration Server (OIS) comprises a number of products used together to enable applications to communicate. OIS is designed to handle complex integration scenarios.
Oracle Integration Server provides these functions:
Oracle Integration Server uses the Oracle8i database:
Oracle Integration Server includes:
These products support messaging and e-business standards such as Java Messaging Services (JMS) and eXtensible Markup Language (XML).
Oracle Integration Server takes full responsibility for the secure transit of communications from the point of creation to the point or points of receipt. It ensures the integrity of the communication between the points.
OIS stores a secure copy of the communication on a persistent medium to protect against loss in the event of a system failure and to provide an audit trail of the communication. It ensures that a communication exists only as part of a transaction so that it does not get lost in transit or recorded incorrectly. It maintains an accurate record of the receipt of the communication.
This section contains:
OIS supports the integration of Internet applications, transport layers, protocols, and the languages of legacy applications. It provides versioning capabilities and an interface for performing configuration, development, and management, in both development and production environments.
You can develop and extend OIS over time without the necessity for extensive modification of the original components. This feature is called extensibility and it makes it easier for you to:
Encapsulation makes the object self-contained by limiting communication with that object to a defined interface. All the products that make up OIS can be encapsulated.
Encapsulation enables you to replace an component without making an impact on any of the components with which it communicates. The new component can be successfully encapsulated if it communicates through the same defined interface or if it provides the equivalent or better integration services.
Encapsulation simplifies your analysis of the impact of replacing a component, it minimizes redesign of the interface of the component, and it minimize the impact on the code and interface of other components.
Component-based architecture follows logically from the concepts of extensibility and encapsulation. Its objective is to design the architecture as a set of parts, each of which provides a logically grouped set of services and functionality. The removal or replacement of any of the individual parts has only a limited impact on functionality. The basic architecture remains valid and appropriate.
Even if the requirement for a particular component changes significantly, the impact of changes on the other components is minimized. To achieve this, the components must be loosely coupled with one another and must communicate using standard protocol and communication transport.
To loosely couple the software and hardware, the software must be easily portable and able to communicate across different hardware platforms.
Oracle Corporation has developed messaging technologies that incorporate new features important to the development of an asynchronous messaging infrastructure for enterprise-wide application integration. The most significant of these include:
Electronic business must incorporate the same rigorous accounting practices that are required of traditional business. It must be possible to capture and reproduce an audit trail of business-event-driven electronic interactions. By incorporating persistent storage of messages in the database and ability to retain messages even after they have been processed, Oracle Advanced Queuing provides a strong audit trail.
Persistent storage also enables you to track business events while they are in progress, so that you can quickly see evaluate the current state of business transactions.
Business process coordination is essential to the effective management of an integration environment. Business process coordination software is a logical extension of the concept governing workflow engines. Workflow engines manage the flow of documents in business processes that include manual steps performed by users.
The principle is the same for business process coordination except that it manages an automated rather than a manual business process. Business process coordination manages the flow of messages between automated processes and also manages the state of the message flows. It lets you manage the state of long-running business transactions independently of the technology used to manage the transaction.
We have extended the Oracle Workflow product to interface with Advanced Queuing in order to provide business process coordination.
The Oracle Advanced Queuing technology creates close coupling between the database and the messaging function. This close coupling enables you to use Oracle Business Intelligence software to analyze business events and to identify trends and patterns. You can also monitor the service levels and response times that are provided by process steps called from within the Integration Server.