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
IBM envisions companies publishing standards-based service components and composite business services that customers and business partners can discover and use in their own business processes. Companies can build on each other’s services, creating new loosely coupled, process- and industry-centric business service ecosystems. The complexity, cost, and risk associated with traditional, large-scale enterprise software projects is hence significantly reduced.
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
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.
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.
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.
More in this series
- IBM WebSphere Business Services Fabric product information
- IBM SOA Foundation: An architecture introduction and overview
- Patterns: Service-Oriented Architecture and Web Services
- Service-oriented modeling and architecture: How to identify, specify, and realize services for your SOA
- IBM developerWorks SOA and Web services zone
- IBM SOA products and services