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IBM WebSphere Developer Technical Journal: Developing adaptive composite business services using WebSphere Business Services Fabric, Part
Introducing IBM's new platform for business service modeling, assembly, and deployment

04 Apr 2007

This series of articles discusses the end-to-end process of creating composite business services with IBM® WebSphere® Business Services Fabric Version 6.0. Part 1 introduces the idea of composite business services, and how WebSphere Business Services Fabric supports the development of these services.

From the IBM WebSphere Developer Technical Journal.
Introduction

With Service-Oriented Architecture (SOA), a business can be visualized as a collection of loosely coupled reusable building blocks, called business services. A business service, which can be derived from freestanding components, derived from disparate legacy IT assets (such as legacy systems, packaged applications, custom applications, and so on), or provided by a third-party, provides a discrete business function (for example, check credit, open account, and so on) whose behavior can be adapted at run time based on the business context.

A composite business service (CBS) is a collection of business services that work together, along with a client’s existing applications, to provide a specific business solution. An enterprise can flexibly wire composite business services, user interfaces, and data services in innovative ways to create new composite business applications (aka service-oriented business applications, coined by Gartner, Inc.) to support business needs.

Figure 1 shows the conceptual layers of an SOA-based solution. At the bottom are existing enterprise and third party systems exposed as Web services: service interfaces defined using WSDL and messages encapsulated as SOAP documents. These IT services are then assembled into business services to automate or support a specific business function. A set of business services combined together represent a business solution: a CBS. At the top of the layer are the subscribers that consume the CBS, and who can be internal or external to the enterprise.
Figure 1. SOA layered architecture
 1_6.gif

What is WebSphere Business Services Fabric?

WebSphere Business Services Fabric is the platform to model, assemble, deploy, manage, and govern business services, and is packaged as follows:
IBM Business Services Tool Pack
(hereafter called Tool Pack)

The Tool Pack includes:
WebSphere Integration Developer
, which enables you to assemble and integrate composite services.
Business Services Composition Studio
(hereafter called Composition Studio) is a plug-in to WebSphere Integration Developer that lets you assemble business services, create business policies, and simulate dynamic assembly of business services.
IBM Business Services Foundation Pack
(hereafter called Foundation Pack)

The Foundation Pack is built on top of WebSphere Process Server (which is included) and provides the integrated run time and management-time environment for business services. The Foundation Pack is made up of five modules:
Business Services Repository
is a standards-based business service model repository that captures information about business services, business policies, and service subscribers. This module supports discovery and federation of data from WebSphere Service Registry and Repository and Lightweight Directory Access Protocol (LDAP) systems.
Business Services Performance Manager
is a Web-based console that provides visibility and monitoring of business services-based solutions. This module includes a set of reports that enables administrators to monitor the behavior and performance of their business services.
Business Services Subscriber Manager
is a Web-based console that manages business service entitlements using an organizational enrollment and subscription model.
Business Services Dynamic Assembler
is a highly scalable run time engine that selects the best service provider based on the operating context of a request.
Business Services Governance Manager
is a Web-based console that provides lifecycle management of business services meta data. This module enables you to:

Control access and visibility to business service models and policies within the Business Services Repository.
Enforce consistency and coherency of business service model within the Business Services Repository.
Govern the changes to business service model in the Business Services Repository.
Migrate business service models between instances of the Business Services Repository.
Industry Content Packs
(Optional)

WebSphere Business Services Fabric provides optional Industry Content Packs that include industry-specific extensions and pre-built industry-common services to reduce your effort in creating industry-specific SOA solutions. Currently, two Industry Content Packs are available:

IBM Insurance Property and Casualty Pack

IBM Healthcare Payer Pack
Composite business services development lifecycle

How do the components above work together to support adaptive composite business services? Figure 2 shows the steps for creating composite business services using these components and related IBM products.

Figure 2. Composite business services development lifecycle
 2_2.gif

Let's walk through the steps:

Use WebSphere Business Modeler to enumerate the roles, activities, high-level input/output, decision flow, and business measures that satisfy your requirements.

Analyze the requirements and business process models to create a conceptual design for the solution, including service interface design in IBM Rational® Software Architect, and logical data model in IBM Rational Data Architect.

If an applicable industry model is available, you should try to leverage it to facilitate the tasks described above. For example, IBM Information FrameWork provides a banking industry model which comprehends banking data and process definitions. Building with the available industry model eliminates the effort of rebuilding the cornerstone.

Define WebSphere Business Services Fabric extensions (ontologies) based on the requirements, business process model, and industry model (if any). WebSphere Business Services Fabric extensions are then deployed into the Business Services Repository.

Develop executable business processes, service components, and modules using the business integration, Java™ EE, and Web service tooling in WebSphere Integration Developer. Optionally, some of these components can be developed using IBM Rational Application Developer.

Use Composition Studio to define the business service meta data and submit it to the Business Services Governance Manager for approval.

Business service meta-data definitions will be reviewed by stakeholders in Business Services Governance Manager and published to the Business Services Repository.

Define subscribers' entitlement to the created business services in Business Services Subscriber Manager. The entitlement information is stored in the Business Services Repository.</li><li>

Deploy the service components and executable processes into WebSphere Process Server.

WebSphere Process Server executes the business processes with the optimal services instances selected by Business Services Dynamic Assembler, based on the business context and meta data in the Business Services Repository.

The execution record is sent to the Business Services Performance Manager for capturing and future analysis.

Conclusion

Part 1 of this series provided some background and a brief overview of what IBM WebSphere Business Service Fabric is, what composite business services are, and what their development lifecycle looks like. In next installment, we will depict a business case, then perform the analysis to define the business services and associated service meta data Subsequent installments of this series will offer detailed steps to guide you through the creation of your first adaptive composite business service using the WebSphere Business Service Fabric platform.
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WebSphere Business Services Fabric, Part 2

Analyzing the business requirements


09 May 2007

With a conceptual understanding of composite business services from Part 1, this article looks at a sample business case to illustrate how IBM® WebSphere® Business Services Fabric supports the development of these services and how it can help resolve business problems.

Introduction

This series of articles discusses the end-to-end process of creating composite business services with IBM WebSphere Business Services Fabric Version 6.0. Part 1 introduced the idea of composite business services, and how WebSphere Business Services Fabric supports the development of these services. In preparation for performing indepth composite business service development, this article begins with a review of a business case, explains how WebSphere Business Services Fabric can help resolve the proposed business problems, and illustrates the resulting analysis and design steps.


Case Study: Bank loan application

Our example involves the fictional International Bank (INT Bank), which is undertaking a modernization effort of their loan application service through a services-oriented approach.

INT Bank is the parent company of International Bank of Texas (INT-TX) and International Bank of California (INT-CA). The major business of INT Bank is in providing loan services. To achieve a better understanding of their customers, and to be able to provide valuable loan products for their customers, the roles of loan officer and loan reviewer require different quality levels of customer credit information:
The loan officer needs to analyze an applicant's credit in order to provide a loan that is suitably customized to the customer. INT Bank has an Integrated Loan Application Management portal that provides both the loan information and the integrated customer credit information.
The loan reviewer uses the company's Loan Risk Evaluation portal to evaluate the risk associated with a specific loan application, which helps in making an approval decision. In addition, the loan reviewer needs to have even more detailed customer data, like transaction history and customer credit information, in order to reduce the company's bad loan ratio. In the bank's current loan application process, each subsidiary can have different policies and solutions based on geographic marketing requirements and local state laws.
INT Bank maintains an internal Customer Credit Information System (CCIS) that manages and tracks customer loan transactions. To reduce risk and achieve acceptable credit evaluation results, INT-CA wants to provide a different customer credit evaluation service to their loan reviewers. There are many credit evaluation service providers in the market, and each of them has a different credit perspective and quality of information. INT-CA chooses a service provider called Credit Digger because of the provider's renowned high quality. Since the service cost of Credit Digger is higher than using the internal CCIS system, INT-CA's policy is to apply Credit Digger based on the size of the loan, and on the wallet share of the customer applying for loan.

In addition to the systems mentioned above, three other INT Bank internal systems are also involved in the loan application process:

Enterprise Customer Management database: Manages prospect and basic customer information. Loan Product database: Holds loan product information.
LDAP-based single sign-on facility: Provides user authentication.

Finally, INT Bank has a core IT staff at corporate headquarters who are responsible for administering the loan application service. INT Bank wants this staff to have capabilities to troubleshoot problems, monitor system performance indicators, and possibly extract a variety of business metrics, as the business dictates.

How WebSphere Business Services Fabric can help

Before analyzing the requirements, let's look at the WebSphere Business Services Fabric features that can be used in this case.

Policy

Policies define the business requirements that must be met when a consumer requests a service. A policy consists of three parts:

Context of service request
Content, which is the request itself
Contract, which are the requirements to be met.

For example, INT-CA (context) would like to use Credit Digger (contract) for customers whose wallet share and loan size meet certain criteria (content).

Service capability

In WebSphere Business Services Fabric, a service's capability is described by assertions. You can define service capabilities along five dimensions:

Performance
Reliability
Interoperability
Security
Manageability

You can extend the industry ontology to add assertions for describing the service capabilities that are custom to your enterprise IT environment.

Dynamic business services assembly

At run time, the Business Services Dynamic Assembler determines the set of policies that are relevant to the service request, and then selects the best service provider (endpoints) that meets these requirements.

Analyze the requirements

In the beginning, a design worksheet is used to analyze the business requirements behind the scenes in an organized way. Based on the functions provided by WebSphere Business Services Fabric, the business context can be analyzed according to these categories:

Multi-mode of access

What are the channels through which users can access the system? A composite business service (CBS) can provide the ability to provision a business process across multiple modes of access without resorting to duplication of applications, or requiring infrastructure or technical support, thereby providing complete interoperability among the different access modes.

Organizational entities

A CBS offers the ability to represent different entities (organizations, sub-organizations, and roles) in the domain ecosystem so that it can provide personalized services for a subscribing entity through a provisioning process.

Assets

What are the existing IT assets in the system? A CBS can interoperate with source services from disparate assets in the domain ecosystem, including legacy assets, third party outsourced assets, and new in-house assets.

Policies and assertions

Design of a CBS will involve defining the Service Level Agreements (SLAs) associated with different entities, and services as policies based on context, content, and contract. In addition, domain-specific extensions might also be required if base CBS models do not adequately address the business requirements.

Listing 1 shows the results of the business requirement analysis in the form of a design worksheet.

Listing 1. Design worksheet and analysis results for INT Bank
     
Multi-Mode of Access
  - Integrated Loan Application Management Portal; direct user interaction

Organizational Entities
  - Organizations
	1. International Bank (INT Bank), headquarters
	2. International Bank of Texas (INT-TX)
	3. International Bank of California (INT-CA)
  - Roles
	1. Loan Officer
	2. Loan Reviewer
	3. Customer
	4. IT Administrator

Assets
  - Legacy Assets
	1. Loan Product Database
	2. Customer Credit Information System (CCIS)
	3. Enterprise Customer Management Database
	4. LDAP
	5. Loan Application Management Portal
	6. Loan Risk Evaluation Portal
  - External Assets
	1. Credit Digger

Define Policies and Assertions
  - Loan request from all subsidiaries (except INT-CA) should use the CCIS as credit 
    evaluation service.
  - Loan request from INT-CA that meets the conditions should use Credit Digger as 
    credit evaluation service.
  - Loan request from INT-CA which DOES NOT meet the conditions should use the CCIS as 
    credit evaluation service.
  - Assertions for a credit evaluation service includes wallet share of customer applying 
    for loan and size of loan.

Figure 1 shows the interactions between channels, processes, and services. The loan officer and loan reviewer access the Loan Application Management portal and Loan Risk Evaluation portal through the Web channel. The loan business process runs on WebSphere Process Server. The Business Service Dynamic Assembler routes the request from the business process to the proper service according to the policies and assertions defined by INTBank. Per the business case, there are two endpoints for the Customer Credit Service, one provided by CCIS, the other provided by Credit Digger.


Figure 1. System interaction
 3_1.gif


Conclusion

This article provided an example of how to analyze the business case and produce a design worksheet. In the next installment, you will use this worksheet to develop ontology extensions, a composite business service model, and to simulate the policy-based endpoints selection with Composition Studio.