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Posts from the ‘TIBCOmmentaries’ Category

21
May

TIBCO Deployment

Researched and written by Xmarter TIBCO Consultants

Traditional deployment of business integration project requires a lot of configuration effort. The administrator needs to ensure that the configurations for multiple interactions are supported and configuration files are required for different components on different machines. TIBCO ActiveMatrix BusinessWorks, in contrast, provides an interface for creating deployment configuration and then deploying the project. To deploy TIBCO ActiveMatrix BusinessWorks Projects, TIBCO Administrator is used. It is a central administrator server for creating, deploying, managing, and monitoring TIBCO applications and machines within the administration domain. Upon deployment, TIBCO Administrator will create deployment configuration that will be sent to the machines where the projects will be deployed.

All TIBCO BusinessWorks Projects undergo same project phase: design, deploy, and run. After designing and testing the process in TIBCO Designer and setting up the required resources, projects will be deployed in TIBCO Administrator to run on its designated machines. There are two ways to deploy the project in the TIBCO Administrator Server: using the TIBCO Administrator GUI or using scripting deployment utilities. TIBCO Administrator GUI is a web-based graphical-user interface where administrators can easily manage and deploy TIBCO BusinessWorks Projects using a web browser while scripting utilities allow TIBCO Administrator functions to be executed from the command-line.

In using TIBCO Administrator GUI to deploy projects, an Enterprise Archive (EAR) file needs to be created using TIBCO Designer. The EAR file must contain all the required resources such as adapter configurations and process definitions that need to be deployed. After building the EAR file, it will be uploaded to TIBCO Administrator GUI to create the application and to set deployment configuration. On the other hand, in using command-line utilities for deployment, only the Buildear and AppManage utilities are used. Buildear utility is used to build the EAR file based on an archive defined in a TIBCO Designer project while AppManage utility creates an XML based deployment configuration file then uploads the deployment file and EAR file into TIBCO Administrator.

TIBCO Administrator allows applications to be deployed multiple times. However, only one deployment configuration can run anytime. It has a Configuration Console which provides options for deploying and updating applications and it maintains a deployment configuration history that allows reverting of deployments in the future. Updating of application is very important if new TIBCO software is installed on the machines where the application is deployed.

Once an application is deployed, TIBCO Administrator imports all the values defined for global variables from the EAR file. This allows global variables to be changed during deployment. Global variables may vary depending on the environment and these variables might use environment specific values. Thus, setting correct variables during deployment is critical for the application to run.

TIBCO Administrator enables administrator to manage deployed processes and services included in the application. Processes deployed in TIBCO Administrator can be assigned and run on any machine that belongs to the same administration domain. The target machine where processes and services are deployed is called ‘container’. Services can also be enabled and disabled. Disabled services will not be deployed in the next application deployment unless enabled before deploying. Service’s process instances execution can be controlled by changing process configuration properties like Max Jobs, Activation Limit and Flow Limit. This is helpful if process instances need to run sequentially due to limited CPU resources and memory. Max Jobs property is used to limit the number of concurrent process instances that can be loaded in memory. Meanwhile, Activation Limit property is selected if process instances that are loaded in memory will stay in memory until completion. However, Flow Limit property sets the maximum number of process instance that can be started before suspending the process starter.

Project deployment maybe a simple task but it’s at least as important as the project design. Deployment needed to include required resources and configurations to have a smooth run in production. Thus, TIBCO ActiveMatrix BusinessWorks allows business integration project deployment to be easily configured and run on any machine in the domain.

In another perspective, TIBCO lets you integrate different incompatible applications in a service-oriented architecture (SOA). This can be achieved through ActiveMatrix (AMX) Service Grid and other AMX family of products. In AMX Service Grid, you can create a composite, which contains services, components, and references. You can think of a composite as a circuit board which holds several important electronic modules.

Services simply refers to web services, which are standardized methods of communication between two contracting parties, commonly a service provider and a service consumer/client, in a language only both of them can understand. Communication happens through message exchanges either one-way or two-way. In a two-way communication, the consumer sends a request message and expects a response message back. This message comes in a specific format usually SOAP or JMS.

Components are implementations of web services. You can use TIBCO ActiveMatrix BusinessWorks, Java, .NET, or Ruby to create the implementations of web services provided that these applications conform to the specifications that describe your web services. A common model used to describe the specifications of web services is the Web Services Definition Language (WSDL). However, there are circumstances when the service provider or the implementing applications cannot change the structure of the message format they are using, yet the client must conform to their specification. This is where mediation comes in. One of the things mediation does is translating the message into a format which can be understood by the receiving end.

References are external web services which provide operations you want to reuse as implementations of your own web services. Alternatively, you can refer to another composite within your AMX SOA project.

After creating the composite, you need to be able to run the web service by deploying it to logical and physical servers. Now that you have pieced all the components together in the circuit board, you need to make sure that these components will work harmoniously as a single unit. Deploying web services in AMX Administrator, which supports both graphical and command-line interfaces, is very simple and straightforward and takes less time to achieve.

First, you need to create a service assembly. A service assembly is simply a collection of composite, shared resources, connections, metadata, and other necessary files in your AMX SOA project. Think of it as a CPU composed of a motherboard, which is like a composite, together with other essential stuffs, to make the whole system working. The service assembly is compressed into a portable ZIP file which is uploaded to AMX Administrator GUI during deployment. You can create a service assembly by using a utility provided in TIBCO Business Studio, which is the main development tool for creating AMX SOA projects.

When you upload the ZIP file, AMX Administrator will automatically determine what components are present and are ready to be deployed in nodes. Nodes are instances of the Java Virtual Machine, which run containers, software that executes the code, and the messaging bus. Nodes are installed on a physical server and they can be started, stopped, and uninstalled anytime, while containers can either be activated or deactivated. You can deploy various components, which become service units during runtime, into multiple nodes for fault tolerance and load balancing. You can map several nodes to one service unit.

The environment lets you logically manage the nodes, the messaging bus, which can be one or more instances of the TIBCO Enterprise Message Service, and the connectors, containers, shared resources, and keystores contained in nodes. Shared resources enable services to connect with physical resources such as a JMS or an HTTP server. You can have one or more environments to enable and maintain system scalability and flexibility depending on system requirements. Environments also let you configure logging events for tracing errors easily and manage substitution variables or enterprise level variables which could potentially alter from one environment to another. Examples of these variables are queue destinations, service URLs, among others.

When it meets all the requirements for deployment, the service assembly now becomes deployable. On AMX Administrator, you can just simply click the Deploy button to deploy the service and after it is deployed, you can start the service. When the status changes to Running, your web service is now usable and ready to accept requests from service clients.

AMX Administrator GUI comes with monitoring and management tools such as dashboard, infrastructure, service, deployment, and log views which let you track the status, health, and performance of the AMX infrastructure and the services running on that infrastructure.

AMX Administrator also provides a utility that gives you an option to deploy services through the command-line interface. All you have to do is write build scripts which are in XML format and specify the deployment options with the target resources you want to execute. Scripting makes it easier and faster to deploy services especially if it requires you to deploy a lot of services into multiple nodes and environments. It also makes deployment possible for operating systems that don’t support GUI.

TIBCO ActiveMatrix simplifies the life cycle of web services and empowers you truly create SOA applications easily, rapidly and efficiently. With the accelerating adoption of SOA in enterprise applications, you can be assured that your business will realistically benefit in the long run from using this software. With absolutely shorter integration phases and quicker, zero downtime deployments, the TIBCO ActiveMatrix solution strongly brings business advantage and growth together to a much higher level.

6
May

TIBCO ActiveMatrix BusinessWorks – Excellent Graphical Modeling of Business Processes

Automation of business processes is crucial, and doing it manually prophesies a higher probability of detrimental risks. In the business context, they can be bombs against profitability such as time delays, improper implementations, deployment problems, or buggy application. TIBCO provides a way out with its ActiveMatrix BusinessWorks product which allows modeling of business processes graphically. Such graphical rendition of a business process is called a process definition. BusinessWorks comes with a Designer tool which provides an environment for developing and testing process definitions. The execution of process definitions involves creation of their corresponding process instances which is seamlessly handled by the TIBCO ActiveMatrix BusinessWorks process engine. Each process instance is an automated business process in action.

A TIBCO process definition has five building blocks, namely: Activities, Transitions, Groups, Shared Configuration Resources, and Subprocesses. The logical combinations of these components define how a process definition intends to function.

In its simplest form, a process definition is a sequence of activities and transitions. It starts with either a Start activity or a process starter and ends with an End activity. Activities are the specific individual units of work which defines the actual operations and processing. They are logically grouped with their related counterparts into sets known as palettes. For example, all operations pertaining to file processing, such as reading, writing, or copying a file, are represented with their corresponding activities: Read File, Write File, and Copy File. These activities are grouped in the File palette. Similarly, all tasks that pertain to database access and manipulation are grouped in a single palette – the JDBC palette. On the other hand, transitions define the control flow as to when activities in the process definition take their turn. It is graphically represented by a unidirectional arrow between activities. It directs how interaction between activities should proceed, dictating how and when activities get executed. Although an activity may exists in a process, when there are no transitions that connect it to the entire flow with other activities therein, it can never be executed.

There are situations when an activity or a certain collection of activities in a process definition must be treated as a single task, be bound to a particular repetition, or be constrained by certain conditions. This is where Groups come in to support extended capabilities for the process to handle loops, transactions, collective error trapping, or synchronization. TIBCO provides nine group actions; each is unique for a particular purpose. These are as follows: No Action, If, Critical Section, Pick First, Iterate, Repeat Until True, While True, Repeat On Error Until True, and Transaction.

Each activity contains specifications that must be configured in order to meet the required behavior from it. A configuration can be properties, pieces of input and output information, or error schemas that must be supplied with proper settings or entries. However, there are specifications that are shared among activities like database connections, WSDL files, schema definitions, etc. With this, it is necessary to use Shared Configuration resources. They actually do not form part of the explicit flow but are created outside process definitions and are used in the Configuration tab of activities. Activities make references to these shared resources in order to make use of them.

What about a subprocess? A subprocess is a process definition called within another process definition. This is ideal when modeling a very complex business process. Plotting the entire logic flow in one gigantic process definition complicates how the business process is represented. Turn it into bite-size bits by chopping one complex process into smaller processes definitions and then call the latter from the main process. Subprocesses make process diagrams more readable and easy to comprehend, trace, and countercheck. Another good thing is that subprocesses are reusable across different process definitions. Just a note, they cannot contain process starters.

In short, TIBCO ActiveMatrix BusinessWorks provides the convenience and efficiency of graphically modeling business processes and executing them automatically. It saves you the pain and agony of weaving complex business processes manually like you have to do in other programming languages. Our TIBCO consultants use this graphical style of development to productively create business applications for our clients.

15
Mar

TIBCO tibbr Takes Workplace Communications to a New Level

Social networks and microblogging sites enable information exchange among various people. We have been using these tools for quite a while now and we receive short updates coming from people (or friends) all the time. But, what if we are not interested with what a particular person is eating for today but we want to know more, for example, about the latest report on Haiti? Twitter makes it possible to filter phrases or topics from tweets but you may not end up finding the right information you want from among the hundreds of results.

It’s amazing how TIBCO, a company that offers business integration solution to disparate systems, pioneered the twisted ‘Twitter’ for the wokplace that “allows information to easily find you,” instead of the other way around, with the release of its new product tibbr. Powered by TIBCO Silver, the first software platform for cloud computing, tibbr permits you to follow subjects and not just people. A subject can be a grain of significant information which may be more relevant in a business scenario than the person where the information came from. If you want to know about the performance of your sales or the status of your marketing, you can follow those subjects and the relevant information you need and want will come knocking at your door. In addition to following subjects, tibbr also permits following machines which means you can subscribe to important messages from different automation systems. While Twitter is built on a public network, tibbr maintains a scalable, secured, highly available and reliable delivery of information which is private and more suitable for the enterprise.

Twitter and tibbr both have one thing in common, that is, both of them are real-time communication tools. One notable thing about tibbr, however, is that it has the functionality that gives the users the ability to discard duplicate posts or re-posts (called retweets in Twitter lingo), and eliminate lengthy “reply all” email strings. By centering on the subjects, tibbr eliminates what TIBCO calls as “static and unwanted information clutter.” Unlike social networks, tibbr is geared towards the delivery of needed and wanted information relevant to an employee working on a specific part of the enterprise context at a precise time. Subjects can include not just topics but users and business processes as well.

It is therefore time that this software technology in its newest shape become a part of the enterprise. TIBCO has again taken the lead in the attempt to make communications better within the workplace.

NOTE: This article was written by one of the TIBCO Certified Professionals of Xmarter, Inc., a technology consulting firm that specializes in delivering business solutions using TIBCO technology. To schedule a technical interview with the consultants, send an email to info@xmarter.com.

19
Jan

A TIBCO Spotfire Fun Drive to Faster and Better Decisions

Decisions are like rudders that steer business operations. Making right and timely decisions is crucial for businesses that want to stay on top of their game. Decision making is often based upon raw data and information that come in flooding the enterprise every minute. The question whether streams of information will impact a breakthrough and relevance to the enterprise lies in the hands of business analysts to discover and uncover insights from data which will aid in making outright decisions. Enterprises invest greatly their finances on Business Intelligence (BI) tools to guide them to their target. The challenge is how instant could they come up with a good accurate decision with their current BI tool?

Business Intelligence is a domain of skills, technologies, and practices used to shore up better decision making. BI systems also called decision support systems can mirror the past, present and future of business operations. Traditional BI systems require large data from which reports and statistical analysis are generated. This also requires time and skill from an expert IT team. By the time findings reach the analyst, more often data as they are dynamic have already changed and might not be realistically applicable. Unlike traditional BI tools, TIBCO Spotfire sets itself distinctly apart as a pure analytics platform that gives the analyst a hands-on game-like user experience that is visual, interactive, immediate, and contextual.

TIBCO Spotfire is different from conventional business intelligence platforms in such a way that it has enormously faster analytic capabilities and befits rapidly changing industries in order to adjust with the challenges of business. What makes TIBCO Spotfire truly different is its visual way of wrapping up data or data visualization. Data visualization presents meaningful information through graphs, maps, colored matrices, scatter plots, and more. Decision makers can consequently grasp, absorb, and comprehend information having a visual appeal leading to critical decisions made very quickly. These visual capabilities allow you to see trends and unexpected relationships among data in real time. Thus, enterprises can keep up to the level of the competition in business and even increase their edge over close competitors.

Like any fun and enjoyable games, Spotfire employs the principle of interactivity. Spotfire lets users tweak data and observe the resulting trends and answer unanticipated questions right away. The user is free to move and explore by selecting filters and changing their values. Immediacy keeps data up to date and reflective of the current state of the business which serves as the basis of viable decisions. Spotfire can be configured with rules-based event processing using BusinessEvents to monitor new data as they come streaming in. Most importantly, data must make sense and must be relevant and in the right context. Which of the information can address the current need of the business and how it will be correctly interpreted are substantial in making decisions and in taking the business to the exact course of business goals.

Spotfire has contributed tremendous advancements in life sciences research analysis through introducing integration solutions in this field. The Integromics Biomarker Discovery 2.0 for TIBCO Spotfire, developed by Integromics S.L., a company that provides excellent software solutions for data management and data analysis in Genomics, Proteomics, and Drug Discovery, in partnership with TIBCO, provides an environment for scientific study of human genomes or the aggregate of all human genes through analysis of DNA sequences. TIBCO Spotfire Lead Discovery 2.0 offers an interactive and highly visual environment that allows drug experts to explore the effects of chemicals on biological activity. TIBCO Spotfire Connector for Pipeline Pilot enables users to maximize and access the Pipeline Pilot protocols, component functions provided by Accelrys, to help in accomplishing research goals from within their Spotfire session. The TIBCO Spotfire Clinical Graphics reduces the effort to develop and format graphs which are opted for as best tools for humans to observe patterns or deviations from represented data and to improve decision making. Through this, you can create graph specifications faster by pointing and clicking without programming required and you can improve resource utilization by not having skilled workers do repetitive tasks and by letting them do more important activities instead.

Definitely, Spotfire is another state-of-the-art software tool from TIBCO. Spotfire is currently being offered for trial download so that enterprises may evaluate this software before purchasing. With TIBCO Spotfire, your enterprise will reach its greatest potential, will enhance its performance, and will surely give you an acclaimed advantage in business.

NOTE: This article was written by one of the TIBCO Certified Professionals of Xmarter, Inc., a technology consulting firm that specializes in delivering business solutions using TIBCO technology. To schedule a technical interview with the consultants, send an email to info@xmarter.com.

9
Dec

Tweeting… the TIBCO way!

In an article by Chris Kanaracus, TIBCO disclosed that it is preparing to release Tibbr, a messaging system with strong echoes of a popular microblogging service, Twitter. This is developed by the leading middleware vendor to be used by its employees starting next week with general availability set for early next 2010.

According to TIBCO, “unlike social networking applications that focus on the concept of ‘following people,’ Tibbr is the first to take an entirely new approach to social computing by allowing you to follow subjects too.” Above this, it sends a clear message: there is still a better way to connect with each other, yet to be created. And I am quite excited to see it coming…

Read the article here.