Tuesday, 28 October 2008

ESB vs OESB vs ALSB vs OSB vs, um....

Given Oracle's BEA acquisition earlier this year, and various announcements by Oracle around the middleware stack including their 2008 July 1st announcements and various reinforcements at OOW08, there's a lot to learn and keep track of.

(And I thought Christmas was to be a quiet period this year)

I'm currently investigating Oracle's movements in the Oracle Enterprise Service Bus arena, and following my research I thought I'd share my findings for others to use. I'm sure to anyone in the ESB and SOA arenas this is all immediately obvious, but to an outsider looking in there's a lot of information to digest.

Warning: you're mileage may vary on the following information. I'm not an ESB or SOA expert in anyway, thus my research. Please take time to confirm these facts. I'd appreciate if you find
a glaring hole in my understanding that you post a comment so other readers aren't mislead.


  • Oracle's traditional Enterprise Service Bus is known as ESB or OESB. On the internet the concept of an Enterprise Service Bus is a rather generic and loosely used term. For Oracle's offerings I'll refer to it as ESB or classic ESB here on.

  • I haven't been able to determine if it was possible to buy ESB by itself, or it only came as part of the SOA 10g suite; it would seem conceivable to me you might want ESB without the SOA wrappings. ESB is not currently listed on the Oracle Australia Shop

  • Checking Oracle's website 23/Oct/08, the Oracle site at times referred to ESB as OSB, a confusion with the future OSB->ALSB platform name (see below). I assume this was a transitional marketing misnomer and to be ignored. However as of 27/Oct/08 given the OSB->ALSB 100-day-release (again see below), the ESB website link has gone, for reference existed here and the Google cached page here,

  • From a conversation with another Oracle ACE Director, my understanding is the classic ESB was not heavily used by the SOA 10g Suite; BPEL could exist mostly without. I guess this implies classic ESB was more of an option in the 10g release which you could make use of.

  • The primary interface for working and configuring ESB is JDeveloper 10g.

  • Within the future FMW 11g platform as part of SOA, classic ESB is mostly removed with a part remaining known as "Mediator", purely remaining for the SOA suite. Mediator within SOA ties existing EDN (Event Delivery Network) and SCA services together.

  • Speculation: it seems odd that Oracle has kept a part of ESB for their future platform, given the adoption of OSB/ALSB (see below). Maybe Oracle considered dropping ESB completely for the upcoming FMW 11g release, but Oracle decided this target was too ambitious for the 2009 deadline? The logical conclusion is ESB will be totally dropped in the future, possibly by FMW 11gR2?


  • Upon Oracle's acquisition of BEA they obtained BEA's SOA suite known as Aqualogic. Aqualogic like Oracle's own SOA suite included an Enterprise Service Bus platform known as Aqualogic Service Bus. An internet search reveals the commonly used acronym ALSB.

  • ALSB has been re-badged by Oracle as Oracle Service Bus (OSB), and should not be confused with the classic ESB/OESB offerings from Oracle.

  • The latest version of ALSB v3.0 was certified against BEA WebLogic Server v10, not 10.3 (source - see pre BEA acquisitions section).

  • A significant difference for Oracle customers between classic ESB and ALSB is the missing JCA Adapters. Classic ESB included a range of adapters for connecting ESB to different sources and destinations, the most important being for Oracle customers the Oracle database.
  • OSB will mostly replace classic ESB in FMW 11g and the SOA Suite, except for the classic ESB "Mediator" component.

  • OSB is considered to be a more sophisticated product than classic ESB. The recently published OSB statement of direction from Oracle infers that they were written for different markets, but given that ESB has nearly been removed this would imply that classic ESB is inferior.

  • The current OSB release as of 27/Oct/2008 as blogged by Chuck Speaks most importantly includes a framework for JCA Adapters which was missing from the original ALSB platform (see the ALSB vs OSB section above that discusses the JCA Adapters for more information). Note it's a "framework" allowing for JCA Adapters, not the actual adapters themselves. I've been told that Oracle plans to release a range of JCA Adapters in January 2009 including those for the Oracle database. I'm unsure if that is a "hard-date" from Oracle or an unconfirmed fact; be careful to base any future OSB adoption plans on the date published in this blog. This conclusion seems to be supported by this OTN forum post.

  • Somebody mentioned to me OSB (and ALSB) support raw JDBC calls to a database, though I believe read-only at this time, and I haven't found a reference to this in the documentation. Otherwise I also believe its supports EJB v2.1; of not significant benefit because of the complexity of anything EJB prior to v3.

  • The OSB release is certified against WLS 10.3 as per the following OTN post (thanks to Eddie and Mark for their assistance on confirming that fact).

  • Currently OSB allows the user to configure it via the WLS console or an Eclipse add-on. Future support will be added to JDeveloper, conceivably for the FMW 11g Bulldog release in 2009.

  • At the time of writing, the licensing options for OSB via Oracle Shop Australia are AU$24, Processor Perpetual, or AU$480.00 Named User Plus Perpetual.
Sources of information and references

AMIS: http://technology.amis.nl/blog/3566/the-amis-team-reports-from-oracle-open-world-big-and-small-announcements-guidance-and-tips#more-3566 (see slide 19)

Oracle OSB website: http://www.oracle.com/technology/products/integration/service-bus/index.html

Oracle OSB statement of direction (SOD): http://www.oracle.com/technology/products/integration/service-bus/docs/Oracle-Service-Bus-SOD.pdf

Note the SOD mentions migration paths for existing ESB and ALSB customers that may be of interest to some readers.

Thanks to....

My thanks for assistance with the above summary to Lucas Jellema and Peter Ebell from AMIS, and Eddie Ho at Oracle Australia. Please note any facts above that are wrong or misleading are 99% probable my fault and in should in no way be attributed to these folks.

Sunday, 26 October 2008

Down-under events: Lucas Jellema on SOA and SQL Puzzles

I note Lucas Jellema will be down-under early in 2009 to present SOA for Database Professionals and Oracle SQL Inside Out - Challenging Puzzles and Puzzling Challenges under the Oracle University Seminar series. It's great Lucas is heading down our way (though not Perth I see!... we miss out again!!!!) and I highly recommend if you can check out Lucas's presentations. Lucas is a very knowledgeable and enthusiastic Fusion Middleware Oracle ACE Director, well worth a few training dollars to see.

A little bit of a twitter

I'm taking a little break from the blogging gig while I recoup my enthusiasm after finishing the ODTUG-OOW-AUSOUG-AUSOUG conference circuit, and catch up on about a zillion forgotten tasks.

For a change of pace, I'm giving the Twitter lark another go, feel free to follow me along.

Wednesday, 15 October 2008

JDev 11g masterclass wrap-up

Today was the last leg of my JDeveloper 11g Masterclass sponsored by OTN and part of the AUSOUG Gold Coast conference series.

The 1 day masterclass has run around Australia, seeing the largest class yet at the Gold Coast. It was a bit of rush last week between AUSOUG conferences to update the JDev 11g TP material to the 11g production release, but it was important to show the students the latest release.

I'm certainly happy with the result, here's some of the feedback:
  • Excellent course without the Oracle marketing spin!
  • Awesome! better, quicker than a drawn out 5 day bore.
  • Perfect for Forms to JDeveloper presentation overview. Pretty impressive stuff.
  • Enjoyable & informative. Good overview and reasonable overview of the tool.
  • Great overview of new features.
  • Yes it was a good overview to what JDeveloper/ADF Faces combination can do.
  • The course satisfied my requirements: spot on!
  • Chris Muir was excellent, thoughtful and knowledgeable.
  • Very good overall overview of Oracle JDeveloper 11g. Enjoyed the workshop today.
I'd like to thank OTN for sponsoring the event series, thanks to AUSOUG for holding the series and organising the logistics (especially AUSOUG's General Manager Burke Scheld), and finally thanks to the delegates for signing up in the first place. It was great to meet you all and share my passion.

Thursday, 9 October 2008

JDev 11g: ADF Faces RC: new component af:noteWindow

I'm currently having a bit of fun hunting around the JDev 11g production release for features that weren't in the earlier TP releases. Today I stumbled across the af:noteWindow tag within ADF Faces RC.

The af:noteWindow tag displays a speech bubble popup similar to the tooltips on other components. The following screenshot shows the af:noteWindow displayed via a mouseOver af:showPopupBehavior tag:

The following code demonstrates how I achieved the above:

<af:panelGroupLayout layout="horizontal">
  <af:spacer width="10" height="10"/>
  <af:outputText value="SAGE Computing Services">
  <af:spacer width="10" height="10"/>
  for more information.
<af:popup id="sagePopup">
    <af:panelGroupLayout layout="vertical">
      <af:image source="/sageWeb2.0LogoSmall.gif"/>
      <af:group>Contact enquiries@sagecomputing.com.au.

According to the documentation the af:noteWindow must be located as the direct child within a af:popup tag.

I guess the primary benefit of this component is to display help text inline within a page.

Wednesday, 8 October 2008

Another Aussie Oracle ACE Director - Richard Foote

I'm very happy to hear that Richard Foote has been voted in as the next Australian Oracle ACE Director. Given Richard's rich history with Oracle, user groups, presenting, his blog and his recent educational tours, the award has been due for sometime. In particular I admire Richard's long and well thought out blog posts which challenge assumptions and promote discussion, unlike my disjointed ramblings, ah, posts, no rambings, ah forget it.

So it seems we have an Oracle ACE Director in Perth, Brisbane, and 2 in Canberra. Can it really be the 2 biggest Australian Oracle capital cities Melbourne and Sydney have no ACE Directors? Ah, that's why the 2 biggest Oracle offices are located there, to make up the fact for they're missing ACE Directors! ;-P

Good work Richard.

Perth AUSOUG leg over, Gold Coast to go

Yesterday concluded the AUSOUG Perth 2 day annual conference. This is probably the best conference of all to catch up with my local peers and colleagues. It seems each year I'm having to remember more and more names and faces at the Perth event which is great; it feels much like a highschool reunion of sorts (and apologies to those whose name I forgot - given I celebrated my 33rd birthday yesterday, old age is my excuse ;-)

Once again Connor McDonald took line honours on the best speaker award, and Tim Hall runner up. I know Tim was pretty chuffed with the award and I'm particularly happy I had the chance to originally invite him down for the AUSOUG conference, because the members obviously liked what Tim had to say..... not as much as Connor, but nearly ;-) (and also another great endorsement for the Oracle ACE Director program).

I thought the DBA corner was particular strong this year, what with (in no particular order) Connor, Tim, Penny Cookson, Alex Gorbachev, Guy Harrison, Barry Matthews (the rumour is Barry actually sold 4/7 an Exadata server ;-) and more presenting. I couldn't understand a word they were talking about, but I am a "developer" anyway. As Alex identified on his blog the local DBA audience is small, but they appreciate real technical content from people who are excited about presenting the latest database concepts, and I think it shows the top 2 papers were taken by DBAs.

I also caught up with David Peake of Apex fame, had a punch up out back of the convention centre over Apex vs ADF, which I lost, and now I'm an Apex convert (insert slightly bruised smiley face here ;-( David is on a somewhat mad dash around the world presenting Apex topics; and I thought my trip from OOW was bad enough, David's is just nuts. However jet lag or not, David's presentations ran well and were well attended; especially popular in the local market. Brenden Anstey's Apex/JDev showdown was a popular topic, showing there's life in this classic debate yet, and I was happy he took time out to present given his current silly work schedule.

The SAGE Computing Services crew were in full presentation force again this year, with Penny Cookson and Eddie Harris introducing Apex reporting solutions, Ray Tindall a security smack-down with Oracle, Scott Wesley on PL/SQL conditional preprocessor code (or how to insert malicious code), and myself on database based web services (of which I had a full room which was pretty good IMHO - though it's so hard to fit a 1hr OOW presentation in 45mins so it was very rushed). For such a small company I think we punch way above our weight at these events. Yet I think we mostly get a buzz out of seeing familiar friends and work colleagues each year who are keen to hear what we have to say and to share war stories, so that's pretty rewarding in itself (everybody say: awwwwwwwwww). We'll get around to putting the presentations up on the website soon.

I worked out by the end of next week I'll have done about 5.5 days (5 x JDev 1 day masterclasses, 4 x 45 min presentations, + 1hr online eTraining event) members facing presentations to AUSOUG this year, which is a pretty reasonable effort if you ask me, especially given the amount of effort behind the scenes to prepare such. I'd be really happy to hear of some new topic ideas for next year from you the reader along the JDev/Oracle developer lines, so if you have a few ideas shoot me an email please.

Next I'm off to the AUSOUG Gold Coast conference to do pretty much the same thing again, + the addition of my JDeveloper masterclass this time with a Queenslander accent. Most annoyingly JDev 11g went production yesterday, so I'm rushing to update the masterclass notes before my trip. Oracle, you could have at least waited another week! Oh well, no rest for the wicked, or Oracle ACE Directors for that matter.

If you're going to the GC conference, please come up and introduce yourselves, I'd love to have a chat. See you at GC!

(and yes, the post title was deliberate ;-)