Role-based IBM tools for creating converged services

This article provides an overview of the IBM® Rational® Unified Services Creation Environment and the various role-based IMS and SIP tools and toolkits available from IBM that use it to build next-generation, converged communication services.

Vijay Bhadriraju (vbhadrir@us.ibm.com), Senior Software Engineer, WAS SIP Technical Enablement, IBM Research Triangle Park Lab, North Carolina, IBM, Software Group

Vijay Bhadriraju is a Senior Software Engineer working for IBM Software Group in Research Triangle Park Lab, North Carolina. He has 14 years of IT industry experience with 6 years spent in developing Rational and WebSphere Studio IDEs and 6 years spent in Smalltalk consulting services. He currently works on enabling IBM Business Partners on IBM IP Multimedia Subsystem and WebSphere software. He holds a Bachelor of Engineering degree in Computer Science.



Derek Baron (ddbaron@us.ibm.com), Offering Manager, Communications Industry, IBM

Derek D. Baron is the Offering Manager for the IBM Rational Communications Sector team. He is responsible for analyzing and responding to market trends in the communications industry. He previously held positions in IBM Rational field sales and field technical consulting. Before joining IBM Rational software, he worked as a software development leader and an architect at Sprint.



11 November 2008

Also available in Chinese

Introduction

This article provides an overview of the various tools and toolkits available from IBM to build next-generation converged services for the communications industry. The tools provide support for the three most important and widely used standards and protocols:

  • SIP (Session Initiation Protocol), including convergence with HTTP
  • IMS (IP Multimedia Subsystem), including SIP, Diameter, and XCAP
  • Web services, including Parlay X Web services

The IBM® Rational® Unified Service Creation Environment is a collection of products and services specifically designed to help communications service providers (CSPs) improve performance in delivering next-generation, revenue-generating products and services.

The term service creation refers to the software development process, people, and tools Figure 1 shows the typical phases in that lifecycle, which occur most often in an iterative and incremental fashion.

Figure 1. Service creation as a lifecycle
detailed diagram

Examples of these communication services include new multimedia applications, such as interactive gaming, ringback and personalized ring tones, business messaging and Virtual Private Network (VPN) services, which combine interactive voice and data functionality. The unified HTTP and SIP application development tools available in this unified environment help developers create converged services.

Prerequisites

Business analysts, software architects, developers, and testers of SIP and IMS applications and services will all learn from this article. It is based on the assumption that the reader has a good understanding of Java™ programming and has basic knowledge of SIP applications and the JSR 116 SIP Servlet specification.

What you can learn from this article

This article describes the various role-based tools available from IBM Rational and WebSphere software for building new communication services that are based on industry standards and protocols, such as SIP, IMS, and Web services. You will learn about the features of these tools, how to access them, and various configurations that these tools can be installed in to enable someone with multiple roles to take full advantage of them.

Eclipse and service creation environments

The Eclipse platform has become a strategic platform for tool integration among many vendors. The CSP network and IT environments invariably consist of runtime environments that include application server middleware, such as IBM WebSphere Application Server, interoperating with a network equipment p and specialty software from various vendors. Many of these vendors provide toolkits built on the Eclipse platform. These toolkits are broadly termed "service creation" tools. Companies such as IBM, Ericsson, Alcatel-Lucent, and Avaya all use Eclipse, as these examples show

  • Eclipse-based Alcatel-Lucent Service Creation Environment
  • Eclipse-based Ericsson Service Development Studio
  • Eclipse-based Avaya Ubiquity Developer Studio

For more examples, see Figure 2: A role-based view of selected products with communications industry features.

The Rational service creation platform is designed to embrace and extend vendor-specific toolkits yet unify and integrate the CSP team by offering full lifecycle support for process, requirements, change requests, test management. and deployment. All parts of this unified environment also support geographically and organizationally distributed teams.

User roles in the software lifecycle

In this article, the various IMS and SIP tools and toolkits are explained according to roles. In general, in the information technology (IT) industry a role is associated with the kind of job responsibility that the person holds in the lifecycle of building new software. Basically, the role describes a person who focuses on a specific aspect of the service or application under construction, thus a user who requires a specific set of tools. These are some of the common user roles in a software lifecycle:

  • Business analyst: Primarily focuses on gathering the business requirements and defining the use cases for the new service (see SIP Modeling Toolkit)
  • Software architect: Provides a high-level design of the service, based on the use cases, by using a commonly used modeling language, such as Unified Modeling Language, or UML (see SIP Modeling Toolkit)
  • Software developer: Responsible for writing, debugging, and unit testing the software code that makes up the business logic for the use case (see SIP Modeling Toolkit)
  • Software tester: Responsible for functional and system testing and for reporting defects found during testing of the new service (see Rational Performance Tester)

In software development projects, one person often performs more than one of the roles and works on tools that span more than one role. The IBM Rational Unified Service Creation Environment provides tools for all of the roles listed for creation of new services or enhancing existing IMS- and SIP-based communication services.

Role-based IMS and SIP tools

Figure 2 depicts the role-based SIP and IMS toolkits and their prerequisite Rational tools that are available from IBM. Each includes features specific to the communication industry. The Rational suite of tools contains a wide range of tools to help manage the complete lifecycle of service design, creation, deployment, and testing. Each Rational software tool provides an integrated development environment (IDE) with a different set of features that focus on particular roles in an IT or network organization. All Rational tools emphasize governance and make it easier to track the overall development process, thereby making it easier to meet increasingly complex software compliance requirements.

Figure 2. A role-based view of selected products with communications industry features
detailed diagram

The remaining sections of this article explain the features of the Rational IMS and SIP toolkits and the roles that are intended to use them. To learn more about the prerequisite Rational software, see by IBM Rational Software Architect. See the tools version support matrix in Resources.

Modeling, development, and testing tools

This section provides details on selected products from the Rational and WebSphere portfolios that provide the CSP with performance improving tools for architects, developers, and testers. Figure 3 gives you an overview.

Figure 3. Modeling, development and testing for converged communications applications
Detailed diagram

SIP Modeling Toolkit

Roles:Software analyst, software architect, software developer

The SIP Modeling Toolkit adds SIP-specific extensions to the UML modeling platform provided by IBM® Rational® Software Architect. See the tools version support matrix in Table 1 for the supported versions of the Rational Software Architect, which addresses three key areas of SIP service modeling:

  • Call flow modeling: Rapid modeling of SIP call flows using enhanced sequence diagrams
  • Servlet modeling: Using tools and dialogs to design SIP servlets in the context of your applications
  • Transformations and transformation extensions: Generating SIP servlet code and deployment descriptor entries

The toolkit also provides code generation extensions to the existing UML-to-Java™ transforms that then update the SIP-specific artifacts of the service implementation. Figure 4, ";Converged Services Design in UML" shows the UML editor and SIP modeling tools in Rational Software Architect.

Features of the toolkit

These are the major features:

  • Call flow modeling and visualization
    • Create SIP and HTTP call flow diagrams complete with full header and body content
    • Import network traffic log files to create call flow diagrams
    • Import SIP configuration files to populate call flow diagrams
    • Merge multiple call flow diagrams into their emergent state machine to visualize combined behaviors
Figure 4. Converged Service Design in UML
detailed diagram
  • Servlet modeling and code generation
    • Model SIP and HTTP servlets with class diagrams
    • Generate code skeletons along with deployment descriptor information directly into JSR116 projects
    • Reverse engineer SIP and HTTP deployment descriptor content from existing projects
  • Rational Performance Tester extension for SIP test case generation
    • Transform call flow diagrams into IBM® Rational® Performance Tester Extension for SIP test cases
    • Note: This tooling can be installed in Rational Software Architect. For the SIP call flow transformation to IBM Rational Performance Tester test cases, the extension must be installed in the same shell as Rational Software Architect. The tools version support matrix in Table 1 again for the supported version of the Rational tools.

SIP tools

Role: Software developer

The basic SIP tools offered by IBM are shipped for free along with the IBM® WebSphere® Application Server Toolkit and IBM® Rational® Application Developer. See Table 1 the tools version support matrix in Table 1 for the SIP tools included in the version of Rational Application Developer and the toolkit. These basic SIP tools are built in accordance and adhere to the JSR 116 SIP Servlet specification. These tools help a developer in quickly building standards based converged HTTP and SIP applications. These basic SIP tools provide the following features:

  • A wizard to create a Converged Project. A Converged Project can hold both SIP and Web artifacts
  • A wizard to create a SIP servlet based on the JSR 116 specification
  • An editor to create, delete and modify the artifacts of the SIP application deployment descriptor
  • A wizard to import a .sar file (a deployable SIP artifact) into a Rational Application Developer workspace as a converged project
  • An export wizard to export a converged project as a Web- or SIP-deployable archive

Using these tools, you can build rich converged applications and deploy them on the converged SIP container in IBM® WebSphere® Application Server Version 6.1 and later. The converged SIP container is built as an extension to the existing Web container and supports the deployment of both plain SIP and converged applications.

WebSphere Telecom Toolkit

Roles: Software developer, software tester

The IBM® WebSphere® Telecom Toolkit supports Parlay X and custom Web service development and supports IMS enablement. Rational Application Developer is required to install this toolkit. The kit provides two features that can be installed together or separately:

  • Telecom Web services feature
  • IMS enablement feature

Telecom Web services feature
This feature assists developers to easily build or enhance enterprise or new telecom service applications. These tools include easy-to-use communication features, such as SMS or MMS messaging, as well as location, presence, and call control that use Parlay X V2.1 Web services open standards. The Telecom Web Services Toolkit simplifies building applications by providing Web service code snippets that are easy to insert into their application code. Additionally, pop-up messages prompt the developer for the appropriate parameters to use, and the Help section explains each parameter. To further assist developers, sample applications and simulators that work in the Rational Application Developer integrated development environment (IDE) provide a self-contained platform for testing Parlay X client applications. The Telecom Web Services Toolkit puts telephony functions into the hands of IT professionals, helps lower development costs, and speeds time-to-market for new services. See Table 1 for the version of the Rational Application Developer that is supported. Figure 5 shows the various views of the Telecom Web Services feature of the toolkit in IBM® Rational® Software Architect.

Figure 5. Rational Software Architect and the telecom toolkit
Screen capture with 5 views labeled

IMS enablement feature
This feature consists of a set of tools for traffic generation, samples, and snippets to help speed IMS application development. It provides the tools necessary to develop Diameter, Presence Server, and XML Document Management Server (XDMS) applications. The IMS enablement feature enables systems integrators or application developers who work for the service provider or the service provider's partners to quickly and easily build rich applications that are Presence- or XML-enabled or that require Diameter-supported charging or subscriber profile access. This feature includes these capabilities:

  • Import wizard to import IMS resources into any of these current projects:
    • Diameter WSDL files and libraries to aid in developing Diameter applications
    • Presence libraries to aid in developing Presence Enterprise Java™Beans (EJB) plug-ins
    • XDMS (XML Data Management Server) resources to aid in XCAP and applications
    • Useful SIP scenario files and SIP utility library for SIP header parsing
  • "Add Library" option to add Presence, Diameter, XDMS, or SIP libraries to the classpath during application development.
  • IMS client views to test Diameter, SIP, and XCAP (XML Configuration Access Protocol) applications:
    • Diameter Rf client
    • Diameter Sh client
    • SIP client
    • XCAP client
  • Several XDMS, Diameter, and SIP application samples. The SIP samples include an IMS Session Control (ISC) sample that demonstrates use of ISC header and outbound Diameter calls in a SIP application.

Rational Performance Tester

Role: Software tester

IBM® Rational® Performance Tester is a performance test creation, execution, and analysis tool for teams to validate the scalability and reliability of complex applications. It supports testing environments that leverage SIP or other standards and protocols, such as HTTP, Web services, and Java™Server Pages (JSPs). The model-driven testing diagram in Figure 6 illustrates the transformation of a SIP call flow diagram developed in Rational Software Architect into a SIP performance test in IBM Rational Performance Tester. These two extensions are available for Rational Performance Tester:

  • IBM® Rational® Performance Tester Extension for SIP for validation of SIP application functionality, performance, and scalability. Model-driven testing is supported when combined with Rational Software Architect and the SIP Modeling Toolkit.
  • IBM® Rational® Performance Tester Extension for SOA Quality, which automates functional and performance testing of Web service applications, including Parlay X Web services. It helps testers efficiently find performance bottlenecks and determine the source of the problem for service-oriented architecture (SOA) in Web services). It also provides broad platform monitoring support for deployed Web services, plus collection and visualization of server resource data.
Figure 6. Model-driven testing of server resource data
diagram on left, screen capture on right

Tivoli Netcool IP Multimedia Subsystem Manager

Role: Software development manager

Using IBM® Tivoli® Netcool® IP Multimedia Subsystem Manager can help you manage IP Multimedia Subsystem (IMS) infrastructures and services more effectively to ensure high-quality service and reduce costs. Figure 7 shows the system administrator's (SYSADMIN's) view.

Figure 7. Monitoring SIP traffic for a WebSphere Presence server
6 screen views combined

Using Tivoli Netcool IMS Manager offers many features and benefits:

  • Improves visibility into complex IMS infrastructures and services: Provides a single, consolidated, real-time and historical view. Integrated fault and performance management enables consolidation of operations centers under a single management umbrella.
  • Proactive IMS infrastructure management: Automated problem diagnosis helps to identify potential "hot spots" and then to isolate, diagnose, and resolve problems to increase operational efficiency in complex IMS environments.
  • Intelligent reporting: Delivers real-time, historical and trended reports that provide insight into critical areas, such as service use trend analysis and resource capacity planning.
  • Increases service levels and reduce SLA penalties: Historical and trended information can be used for SLA (service-level agreement) reports and analysis and to identify potential future SLA problem areas.
  • Easy to deploy: Includes automatic installation of preconfigured, predefined event rules, policies, data collection adapters, KPIs (key performance indicators), and reports. Requires little programming skill, because it includes pre-built capabilities to save time and reduce development costs.
  • Leverages your existing Tivoli Netcool investments: Built on Tivoli Netcool. Flexible and scalable.
  • Integrates and adapts: Full-featured set of carrier class products that provide many potential integration points for existing or future systems and for definition of new services.

IMS and SIP tools version support matrix

Table 1 shows the versions of the IMS and SIP toolkits supported in the various Rational tools. You can use this as guideline for installation

Table 1. Rational software version support matrix
IBM softwareVersionSIP Modeling ToolkitWebSphere Telecom ToolkitSIP Tools
Version7.0.27.56.27.0
WebSphere Application Server Toolkit6.0XX
7.0X(1)X
Rational Application Developer7.0XX
7.5X(1)X
Rational Software Architect7.0XX
7.5X(1)X(1)X
Rational Software Modeler7.0X
7.5X(2)
Rational Performance Tester extension for SIP7.0X
8.0X(3)
Rational Service Tester for SOA Quality8.0X(2)X(1)(2)

X: The toolkit is supported on the corresponding IBM software
X(1): Specifies that support for this combination is planned but was not available yet when this was published
X(2): Rational Service Tester for SOA Quality can test the Parlay X Web services simulated by the WebSphere Telecom Toolkit
X(3): The SIP Modeling Toolkit can be used to automatically generate automated SIP test scripts from a UML Callflow diagram

Conclusion

This article explained the IBM Rational Unified Services Creation Environment and the various role-based IMS and SIP tools and toolkits available from IBM that use it to build next-generation, converged communication services. Knowing which tools provide which features and functionality helps you choose the software that best fits your needs. After installing any of these tools, you can consult the built-in Help section to get a deeper level of understanding of ways to use them in your work. We welcome your feedback about this article and any of the tools mentioned here.

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