Thursday, July 21, 2011

A Service Based Development Process - Part 4

The first three of these blog posts (here, here and here) have looked at the process behind developing business processes and services that could be deployed into an appropriate environment, including a cloud (private, public or hybrid). In this final post I'll take a look at how to make this 'real' by describing an architecture that could be used for developing and deploying services, together with some software products for realising that architecture.

The diagram below shows both the development time and also run-time logical level architecture of a system that could be used for both developing and deploying business processes and services. This has been created using the sketching capability of Rational Software Architect.


Here's a brief summary of what each of the logical components in this architecture sketch do (i.e. their responsibilities):
  • SDLC Repository - The description of the SDLC goes here. That is the work breakdown structure, a description of all the phases, activities and tasks as well as the work products to be created by each task and also the roles used to create them. This would be created and modified by the actor Method Author using a SDLC Developer tool. The repository would typically include guidance (examples, templates, guidelines etc) that show how the SDLC is to be used and how to create work products.
  • SDLC Developer - The tool used by the Method Author to compose new or modify existing processes. This tool published the SDLC into the SDLC Repository.
  • Development Artefacts Repository - This is where the work products that are created on an actual project (i.e. 'instances' of the work products described in the SDLC) get placed.
  • Business Process Developer - The tool used to create and modify business processes.
  • IT Service Developer - The tool used to create and modify services.
  • Development Repository - This is where 'code' level artefacts get stored during development. This could be a subset of the Development Artefacts Repository.
  • Runtime Services Repository -Services get published hereonce they have been certified and can be released for general use.
  • Process Engine - Executes the business process.
  • Enterprise Service Bus - Runs the services and provides adapters to external or legacy systems.
Having described the logical components the next step is to show how these can be realised using one or more vendors products. No surprise that I am going to show how these map to products from IBM's portfolio however clearly your own particular requirements (including whose on your preferred vendor list of course) may dictate that you choose other vendors products. Nearly all the IBM product links allow you to download trial versions that you can use to try out this approach.
  • Rational Method Composer - This enables you to manage, author, evolve, measure and deploy effective processes (SDLCs) tailored to your project needs. It is based on Eclipse. Rational Method Composer allows publishing to a web site so effectively covers the needs of both the SDLC Repository and SDLC Developer components.
  • IBM Business Process Manager - This is the latest name for IBM's combined development and runtime business process server. As well as a business process runtime, ESB and BPM repository it also includes design tools for building processes and services.  The Process Designer allows business authors to build fully executable BPMN processes that include user interfaces for human interaction. The Integration Designer enables IT developers to develop services that easily plug into processes to provide integration and routing logic, data transformation and straight-through BPEL subprocesses. See this whitepaper for more information or click here for the IBM edition of the book BPM for Dummies. IBM Business Process Manager realises the components: Business Process Developer, IT Service Developer, Development Repository, Process Engine and Enterprise Service Bus.
  • WebSphere Service Registry and Repository - Catalogs, and organizes assets and services allowing customers to get a handle on what assets they have, making it easy to locate or distribute. Also enables policy management across the SOA lifecycle, spanning various domains of policies including runtime policies as well as service governance policies. Included in the Advanced Lifecycle Edition is
    Rational Asset Manager which provides life cycle management capabilities to manage asset workflow from concept, development, build, deployment, and retirement as well as Build Forge integration. WebSphere Service Registry and Repository realises the Development Artfefacts Repository as well as the Runtime Services Repository.
So, there it is. An approach for developing services as well as an initial architecture allowing for the development and deployment of both business processes and services together with some actual products to get you started. Please feel free to comment here or in any of my links if you have anything you'd like to say.

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