DOAG 2017 contributions overview

With DOAG 2017 conference, I am done with my conference year. You can find the complete conference program here.

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But – as always – after a conference is always before the next conference. With this in mind, I just quickly wanted to provide a quick overview on my contributions and where to find respective materials.

At this years conference I had 3 presentations, which I gave with with my congenial partner Danilo Schmiedel. We covered different topics all around strategies, guidelines and technologies on the area of digital transformation

Strategies for efficient Delivery with APIs, Containers, Microservices, DevOps

A central challenge for today’s IT is how to ensure business agility and how to keep the robustness of core business functionalities. A microservice-based architecture in conjunction with APIs for decoupling the building blocks becomes more and more important. By using modern container technologies, companies can leverage all the advantages of modern software development. This session covers the impact of modern software architectures based on a real-life scenario, which we implemented to establish faster delivery cycles and to start innovations. Learn different strategies for how modernized software architectures can be introduced. Slides are available on Slideshare.

Cloud meets On-Premises: Guidelines and Best Practices

Integrating distributed systems or microservices with each other has been a challenging topic over the past years. The architecture blueprint which will be explained in this session considers highlights and lessons learned from our real life experiences with hybrid and multi-cloud environments. As part of that we will demonstrate how to bring back architectural best practices into modern solutions that are suitable for organizations of any size and industry. Slides are available on Slideshare.

Dynamic Processes & DMN Accelerate Digital Transformation

Business Process Management (BPM) as a Service, that is what the Oracle Process Cloud Service (PCS) is about. It provides tools to collaboratively create business processes, forms, rules, documents, services and data in a zero-code web-based environment. Of course BPM is not a new topic and quite a few initiatives failed in the last decade. However, with dynamic processes and decision modeling, Oracle PCS provides two very important enrichments which avoid the main challenges from the past in order to deliver real value to the knowledge workers. But is BPM dead or is it still relevant with respect to digital transformation? This is a question, we’re trying to clarify. Slides are available on Slideshare.

In summary, we had very interesting sessions at the conference, with great feedback and discussions. I am really looking forward for the next year. Until then, I’d like to say thank you and see you next year in Nürnberg.

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My Oracle Open World 2017 contributions in a nutshell

OOW 17 is behind us and is was again an amazing and informative experience to attend one of the world biggest and relevant IT conferences.

Time to give you an overview on contributions and outcomes I was involved in. In total, I delivered 4 sessions:

  • Modernize Your IT Landscape with API-Driven Architectures (delivered 2 times, once at OOW and once at JavaOne Oracle Code track)
  • Strategies for Efficient Delivery with APIs, Containers, Microservices, DevOps
  • Soaring Through the Clouds: Live Demo of 17 Oracle PaaS Services Working Together

In addition, my colleague Danilo Schmiedel and me did an Dev interview with Bob Rhubart about APIs and Microservices and it’s meaning with respect to modern software architectures.

Concluding the conference, I also wrote a blog post, containing my thoughts and impressions of Oracle Open World 2017, which was published on the OPITZ CONSULTING CattleCrew Blog.

As you can, a significant number of contributions have been delivered and, more important than that, tons of information and impressions that I took home form an impressive conference!

 

Oracle API Platform Cloud Service – The Next-Gen API Management Platform

Nowadays APIs are omnipresent. In a world of intelligent Virtual assistants (a.k.a. Chatbots), like Google’s Alexa, and a “Connect everything”-mentality this is not surprising. In addition, APIs are essential building blocks of modern software applications build on top of new architectural patterns like Microservices. That’s the technical side.

From a corporate perspective, APIs provide the chance to create new digital business models and economies by exposing services and data to business partners and customers. The challenge: How to ensure Usability, Security, Transparency and Discoverability for the exposed APIs?

Design-Driven API Management

With API Platform Cloud Service (APIP CS), Oracle launched the next big thing today making their Platform as a Service (PaaS) offering even more complete.

APIP CS is a lightweight, cloud-native platform that is capable for covering the complete API Lifecycle from Planning to Retirement.

API_LIfecycle

Having an integration with Apiary.io, which was acquired by Oracle in the beginning of this year, the platform comes with a powerful API Design component and thus supports an API First approach, where API designers, API developers, architects and API consumer developers respectively App developers can consistently work collaboratively to create an appropriate API definition. This results in a consistent, intuitive API, driven by design.

Platform architecture

The picture below depicts the platform architecture of APIP CS (Graphic by Luis Weir, Capgemini):

APIPCS_Architecture_numbered

Besides Apiary (1) as the API Design Platform, the graphic depicts the other basic components of APIP CS, which are the Management Service (2) and the API Gateway component (3). For Identity and Access Management purposes APIP CS integrates with the Identity Cloud Service (IDCS), which can connect to different Corporate directories.

Apiary

As mentioned before Apiary is the API Design environment giving users with different responsibilities the chance to collaboratively work on new Business APIs, defining it in an API First style.

To support the API Lifecycle from the very first beginning, the Design phase, Apiary comes with an intuitive and easy-to-use browser-based UI, supporting API Blueprint and Swagger for describing APIs. In addition, Apiary provides Source Code Management System integration, e.g. with Github, to further collaboration and offers a Mock Server, so that App developers can directly work against newly defined APIs. This ensures short feedback cycles and furthers an efficient API delivery.

Management Service

The Management Service is the central heart of APIP CS and is used for implementing, managing and discovering APIs. It is a cloud-based component which “lives” in the Oracle Cloud. Out-of-the-box the Management Service provides two UIs: the Management Console and the Developer Portal.

The Management Console is the main tool for API Managers. Using the console, new API implementations can be created, deployed, managed and monitored. In addition, the API Manager can publish a documentation of the API to the Developer Portal. for which simply a link to Apiary can be created.

The Developer Portal is the main UI for App developers that can use the portal to discover the published APIs and to register applications for using those APIs for their app development. If no appropriate API could be found by the App developer, it potentially needs to be created.

Through it’s Platform APIs, the Management Service is customizable and extendable. Basically all functionalities, provided by the Management Portal or the Developer Portal can be also executed using the corresponding REST-based Platform APIs of the Management Service.

API Gateways

A Gateway is the component responsible for executing the Policies defined for the APIs at runtime. APIs are deployed to a Gateway node using either the Management Service or a REST API.

The Gateway as such is a standalone component which can be installed either to Oracle Cloud platform, 3rd party Clouds (Azure or Amazon) or On-Premise. A Gateway periodically reaches out to the Management Service to check for updated API implementations and to send analytics informations to the Management Service.

This “Hollywood”-style communication approach (“Don’t call us, we call you”), makes life much more easier, because there is no need for explicitly opening firewall ports per Gateway, since every Gateway does outbound calls to the Management Service and not the other way around.

Conclusion

Oracle APIP CS has a very strong and clear vision, how API Management should be done today – and how it should not be done, of course. It supports users to ensure Usability, Security, Transparency and Discoverability for the exposed APIs and convinces with it’s API First philosophy, is extendable as well as customizable.

From an User experience (UX) perspective, the implementation of APIs using the Management Console is intuitive and straight-forward; there’s no need for extensive training on how to implement APIs using APIP CS. The same is true for the Developer Portal and also for the Design platform Apiary.

From an infrastructure respectively architecture perspective, the hybrid deployment model of the API Gateway components, allows the creation of flexible, consistent and robust API-based architectures.

To make a long story short: APIP CS is a flexible, scalable and easy-to-use solution to thrive innovation by unleashing the power of APIs.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Oracle Code Berlin – Personal impressions from a surprisingly different conference

Monday the 24th of April, 3:15 a.m.: My alarm clocks rings me up – yes, this is of course brutally early! But it was necessary to catch my train from Cologne to Berlin, where the newly invented conference format “Oracle Code” opens the doors. With respect to these early hours, knowing that this will be a long day and not sure what to expect, I made my way to Berlin – and this was a very good invest!

The facts of Oracle Code 2017 in Berlin:

  • 350 attendees
  • More than 20 sessions covering relevant topics like
    • Micorservices
    • API Management
    • Chatbots
    • Docker
    • DevOps
    • Kafka
  • 2 Hands-On-Labs (Docker introduction and Oracle Bare Metal Cloud)
  • Experienced, international speakers

The focussed audience of this conference were developers and architects, so the focus of the conference presentation was on technology, real-world problems and solutions – no marketing, which was very welcomed! If you want to know more about the agenda: here we go.

Our contribution to the conference

My colleague Danilo Schmiedel and myself had two talks at the conference this time.

The first one was about “API Management and why it matters”. In this session we were presenting an internal project, where we’re currently working on breaking up a monolithic application, following modern architecture approaches and concepts, like Microservices, API Management and modern UI technologies. We showed to the audience how this looks like form an architectural perspective and focussed also on how the implementation is done.

In the second talk “Improve Your Cloud Integrations with Test-driven Development”, we were talking on how to establish a consistent DevOps in integration respectively cloud integration projects. We explained this based on experiences from customer projects and described why Test-Driven Development is also or especially important in (cloud) integration projects as well as how to support a DevOps approach using Oracle Developers Cloud Service.

Between the two presentations I was interviewed by Javed Mohammed from OTN, where we talked about different topics with reference to our sessions and about me current thoughts regarding relevant challenges to be solved with modern software architectures. The complete interview can be found here.

Wrap up

To make the story complete, I just wanted to mention that my Oracle Code journey ended yesterday at 11:30 p.m.

It was an exhausting, but very valuable conference day. I really enjoyed, to be part of this great conference. Great sessions, interesting topics, an interesting audience and also a great finale, since there was beer and pizza at the party afterwards!

Thanks to the organization team for this wonderful event – I will definitely come back next time!

Chatbots, Cloud and beyond – Impressions about the PaaS Forum in Split

The yearly PaaS Forum should be a fix appointment in every Oracle-focussed IT Specialist. Why do I think that? Here are some reasons:

  • Get aligned with the newest products, features and roadmap information regarding Orcale’s massively growing Cloud offering
  • Get into touch with Oracle Product Management, Architects from the A-Team and leading experts from diverse Oracle Partners
  • Use the productive atmosphere at beautiful locations to network and talk about the newest trends and challenges in the IT market

This year the conference took place in Split at the beautiful Croatian coast in an excellent hotel; ideal settings for a productive and valuable working atmosphere.

The topics of the conference were all related to the Oracle Cloud Platform and insights into the roadmap as well as the strategy and where things are heading to. The key aspects of that will be briefly covered in the following.

Chatbots awakens

It sounds a little more scary than it really is; we will not run into a Terminator-like Skynet vision! But, it’s fact that chatbots seems to become more and more relevant, even for the business world.

In the consumer area chatbots are commodity. Intelligent asssitents like Siri or Alexa are helping us to organize daily work. Companies can also leverage from that. With today’s technologies the creation of those virtual assistants is possible in a quite easy way.

Key to be successful is to train the bot to identify the intent of the conversation partner, so that it can provide an appropriate answer. Since natural language is not that easy and straight-forward this can be challenging, because the bot also needs to know about synonyms, etc. In addition, a chatbot must be enabled to be self-learning, which is supported throug Machine Learning algorithms.

With their Chatbots Development Platform, Oracle allows the implementation of those virtual assistants. With Facebook as a strong cooperation partner in this space, Oracle seems to be well prepared to be at top, when the broad business adoption of chatbots begins.

APIs as a key enabler for new business models

APIs are doors to an enterprises data, services and processes, which might be exposed to the outbound world. Those APIs need to be managed to allow the definition of security, thread protection and throttling. In addition, things like API usage monitoring and monetization are also very important since a consistent API management approach is a key enabler for new business models.

With Oracle API Platform Cloud Service (APIP CS), which will come out soon, Oracle addresses the needs for implementing a consistent API Management approach, which covers the full API lifecycle from design over implementation to deployment, monitoring and management. The acquisition of Apiary, which covers the full API design lifecycle, makes the platform even more complete. You should definetly keep an eye on this upcoming product.

Integration is not dead yet

The basis for adopting new concepts, like for example IoT, are integrated enterprise systems. Even if integration as such is not as sexy as chatbots, since it purely happens in the background without user interaction, it is essential for keeping backend systems into sync with each other and for supporting concepts like a harmonized data model.

With Integration Cloud Service (ICS) and SOA Cloud Service (SOA CS) Oracle provides a first class integration offering, which enables the implementation of hybrid integration architectures. Those architectures are relevant to support companies on their way to the Cloud.

Containerization as basis for flexible architectures

Markets are very dynamically today, which causes companies to react on that. Furthermore technology is also evolving faster. To keep up with that, an ability to change mindset is needed throughout an organization. This means the business side as well as the IT. Therefore applications, which depict business capabilities, need to be changeable in an appropriate amount of time, without disturbing the business continuity.

With the Oracle Cloud Platform it is possible to create applications in a Microservice architectural style, by using Servics like Application Container Cloud Service (ACCS) or Container Cloud Service (CCS). A broad palette of technologies is supported by ACCS and CCS, applications can be scaled out at runtime and containers can be orchestrated, which makes the solutions even more powerful and flexible. To support flexibility agility a complete DevOps approach can be established by leveraging Oracle Developers Cloud Service’s collaboration and development features.

With that services, Oracle provides a very consistent approach to develop next gen applications and services, adressing the volatility of markets, business requirements and technologies.

Human-centric business workflows

Depicting human-centric workflows can be done Process Cloud Service (PCS) that’s nothing new. With PCS straight-forward workflows can be expressed using BPMN. But when business processes have a more dynamic character, it will be difficult to address those with BPMN.

For depicting dynamic business processes Adaptive Case Management (ACM) is needed. This was already part of Oracle BPM 12c and now will also become part of PCS. This is great and makes even more valuable for businesses, since with that capability the platform provides the basis for Enterprise decision modeling and Human-centric business workflows.

ACE world record in integrating Cloud Services

From the ACE team a showcase was delivered showing the integration of 15 (!) different Cloud Services in a Showcase in which a Voting Platform, for this years Open World music act, was created.

The team lead by Lucas Jellema showed impressingly how different Oracle Cloud Services (DevCS, APIP CS, PCS, ICS, SOA CS, ACCS, CCS,…) can be combined and integrated with each other to depict a Cloud native application.

The ACE team consists of:

  • Lucas Jellama
  • Lonneke Dikmanns
  • Richard Olrichs
  • Danilo Schmiedel
  • Mark Simpson
  • Torsten Winterberg
  • Sven Bernhardt

It was good fun and also very experiencing, being part of this great team.

Conclusion

It was again a great conference, which I personally left totally inspired with new ideas, taken from the spirit of the conference. Good to see that Oracle is making their way in the Cloud space consistently and is taking the partners with them on this journey. It is essential to build up knowledge in this space, since there seems to be lack of knowledge in the market; homework for us as partners!

Special thanks to Jürgen Kress for building up such a great and powerful community of friends!

 

 

Oracle SB12c QuickTip: Fix HTTP 403 on calling SOAP/REST Proxy Services

A few days ago, I faced a strange behaviour when I tried to test SOAP and REST services deployed to a fresh SOA Suite 12c (12.2.1.1) installation. Using SOAP UI for testing the services always gave me an response in a HTML format, which says ” Error 403 Forbidden”, like it is displayed in the screenshot below:

screen-shot-2017-01-29-at-15-04-03Going through all log files of the corresponding Managed Server, where Servicebus was installed to, I didn’t find any hint that even the request was delivered to the servers. The requests simply had no footprint in the access.log or the server’s diagnostics.log – which seemed to be very strange to me. Assuming that the behaviour might have been something to do with the security policies applied to the services, I disabled all security policies as a next step – without any success.

After testing the services successfully in another environment, it was quite clear to me that something was wrong with the domain setup and after some investigations, I found the root cause for the “Error 403 Forbidden” message: Using the deployments view in Weblogic Console, I noticed that “API Manager Starter Application” was targeted to the Servicebus Cluster. Like described in MOS Note 2087277.1, I un-targeted this application from the Cluster, restarted the corresponding Managed Servers and afterwards, I was able to test the services without receiving the mentioned exception. Like the MOS note described this behaviour might happen, if the wrong Template (Oracle API Manager Template) is chosen for Servicebus, when setting up a domain.

Since it took me some time to understand the behaviour and to fix it accordingly, I hope this short post will preserve you from running into the same issue.

OTN Appreciation Day : Integration Cloud Service (ICS) On-Premises Connectivity Agent

The notion for Cloud adoption is stepping forward and companies start thinking of how they can improve their businesses by moving applications, platforms or even their infrastructure to the Cloud. The goal: Create new, innovative business models to distinguish from competitors.

Oracle ICS is an Integration Platform as a Service (IPaaS), which supports enterprises to overcome integration challenges, while moving their business to the Cloud. You can learn more on the use cases for ICS in my latest OTN article.

One feature, which is from my point of view especially important and valuable, is the Oracle ICS On-Premises Connectivity Agent. This software component is essential to simplify Cloud adoption for enterprises since it con be used to easily integrate Cloud and On-Premise applications with each other.

agentbig

The agent’s software can directly be downloaded from Oracle ICS and has to be installed behind the firewall and needs to be registered with an ICS instance. The installation procedure is straight-forward and done within a few minutes. The agent manages the communication between ICS and the On-Premise applications. Since the agent initiates the communication with ICS using standard protocols and ports (HTTPS on port 443), there is no need to open specific ports in the firewall! This is really beneficial and makes the implementation of On-Premise to Cloud integrations even more efficient, because exhausting discussions regarding security exceptions with the security officers are a thing of the past.

This is why I really like this feature of Oracle ICS. For more information regarding installation and usage of the On-Premise Connectivity Agent, you can refer to the aforementioned OTN article. In addition, further information can also be found in blogs from Robert van Mölken and the Oracle A-Team.