Try out Business Rules on Bluemix!
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If you have worked with and are a fan of IBM ODM (who isn't?), you should give the Business Rules Service on Bluemix a try. You should try it out even if you just typed “ODM” in Google search.
Wait, what are business rules again? And since Wikipedia was not very helpful, what does ODM do?
Businesses define repeatable decisions or policies that govern their operations. What this means is they define certain rules to live by to earn money (or try to not lose money at the very least). For example, charge a high insurance premium to a young driver who has had accidents. Traditionally these policies are defined and captured within long unwieldy documents, monotonous software code, even more monotonous business processes and within the minds of people (obviously not the most efficient form of storage).
IBM ODM (Operational Decision Manager for the uninitiated) provides a way to capture these decisions within a unified platform in the format of business rules, which are readable and editable by business users, and which can be executed by software applications.
What this means is, a decision which previously looked like this:
if ((driver.getAge() >= 18 && driver.getAge() <=21)
Now looks like this:
It looks like English, but is captured in code that can be executed (extremely fast), once invoked by your software applications.
The two main components of IBM ODM are IBM Decision Server and IBM Decision Center. They allow users to manage and execute business rules to help make decisions faster, and also change them faster, outside of the normal (slow) software development cycle. Business rules are created and edited within Rule Designer (on Eclipse) by developers, using a web console (Decision Center) by business users. They are stored in a repository and are deployed to the Rule Execution Server for testing and execution.
What does Bluemix have to do with this? Actually, what is Bluemix again?
To quote the documentation,
IBM® Bluemix™ is an open-standards, cloud-based platform for building, managing, and running apps of all types, such as web, mobile, big data, and smart devices. Capabilities include Java™, mobile back-end development, and application monitoring, as well as features from ecosystem partners and open source—all provided as-a-service in the cloud.
In lay-speak, you can create apps of all types (using free tools!) and deploy them on Bluemix, and not worry about providing the resources to keep your application running. In not-so-lay speak, Bluemix is a Platform as a Service (Paas) cloud offering from IBM. You can see Valerie's description of Platform as a Service in her blog entry: "How can MQ be used in the Cloud? Try MQ Light with Bluemix!!"
Back to ODM, and what Bluemix has to do with it.
IBM now offers the Business Rules Service on Bluemix, which is not ODM, but certainly looks very familiar if you have worked with ODM. It offers a Rule Designer, which is a plugin on Eclipse to edit the rules.
Once you have written the rules, however, you no longer have to install the Rule Execution Server on your application server of choice to execute the rules. Instead, you simply log in to your Bluemix account, create a Business Rules Service instance, and create a Rule Execution Server configuration to point to the Business Rules Service instance. In the Rule Designer, you will then connect to the Rule Execution Server console on Bluemix using this Rule Execution Server configuration. You can now deploy your RuleApp to Rule Execution server, and manage it using the console. You can also test it via the Decision Services tab of the Business Rules Service on the Bluemix console. Once you bind the service to your application, you can call it to execute the rules.
Wait -- my business rules are deployed for the whole world to see? My competitors will have a field day!
Nope, you are in luck! Only you can see your ruleApps that are deployed on Bluemix, no one else. Your RES console access is only for you.
Note that I did not mention a Decision Center on Bluemix. That's right, because there isn't one!
Keep an eye out for more on the Business Rules Service on Bluemix.
If you really can't wait, get started here. You won't be disappointed!