In 2006, Andrews Consulting Group released a white paper entitled The Transformation of JD Edwards Applications that you can download from our white papers section. This year, we are revisiting the subject of how Oracle is transforming our applications with a new series of articles. We welcome your comments and questions as the series evolves.
As I explained in the previous article in this series, Oracle wants to make it easy for users of its Applications Unlimited (AU) products — including JD Edwards — to invoke “best of breed” functions from other Oracle applications. Oracle is repackaging these functions as composite business processes that other applications can access via service-oriented architectures (SOAs). The technologies that make all of this possible are contained in Oracle’s Application Integration Architecture (AIA).
Over the next one to two years, Oracle plans to implement AIA fully within almost all of its applications. This could make it possible for the then-current JD Edwards releases to invoke functions from other AU applications, Fusion Applications, and software that Oracle has acquired from Agile, Demantra, G-Log, and other vendors.
While AIA is an important body of technologies, it is not a product you can purchase. To use AIA, companies must use middleware and development tools that support AIA technologies and the standards by which they abide. That is what makes Oracle Fusion Middleware (OFM) so important. While it is possible to use middleware from other vendors to work with AIA, Oracle is building comprehensive, optimized support for AIA into OFM and its JDeveloper tools. As such, any company that wants to invoke Oracle’s growing body of composite business processes should seriously consider using these products.
The following diagram provides a high-level view of how Oracle Fusion Middleware acts as a vehicle for AIA. As it indicates, Oracle is packaging the AIA industry reference models (its best practice models of business processes such as “order to cash” and “procure to pay”) and Enterprise Business Objects into its Business Process Analysis Suite. This is Oracle’s tool for visually modeling business processes and converting the models into executable code. In addition, all Enterprise Business Objects are embedded in Oracle Application Server Enterprise Edition. This product acts as the runtime engine for all AIA-based executables.
As I explained in our previous article, AIA packages Enterprise Business Objects within object-oriented containers called Enterprise Business Services (EBS). Each EBS provides standard methods for accessing functions such as “find a customer”. It is through these methods that JD Edwards and other applications access these functions. While Oracle may embed parts of the EBS library in application-specific web service registries, it puts the full EBS library in the Oracle Service Registry. Users can manage access and security policies for these services through the Oracle Web Services Manager (OWSM).
As the diagram indicates, Process Integration Packs (PIPs) use Enterprise Business Services to integrate business functions from one Oracle application with those of another. Oracle is designing PIPs so that they can be modified and managed via the tools in Oracle SOA Suite. While some PIPs may not require customers to deploy a full-blown instance of SOA Suite, most of them will probably come packaged with a license to the product.
I realize that for those of you who are not familiar with Oracle Fusion Middleware, this quick walkthrough of the product line could be tough sledding. However, if you’re interested in AIA and the Process Integration Packs that Oracle is rolling out for JD Edwards, I would encourage you to learn about OFM. By the way, we’ve written a white paper about Oracle’s Fusion Middleware strategy for JD Edwards users that you can access from our white paper library.
Now that we’ve addressed the technical underpinnings of Oracle’s plans to transform JD Edwards applications, we’ll turn our attention to how those plans will play out for EnterpriseOne and World customers. That will be our focus in the next article in this series, so stay tuned.