Click here to close now.



Welcome!

You will be redirected in 30 seconds or close now.

ColdFusion Authors: Yakov Fain, Maureen O'Gara, Nancy Y. Nee, Tad Anderson, Daniel Kaar

Related Topics: Weblogic

Weblogic: Article

Application Environments, Migration, and Transactions

Application Environments, Migration, and Transactions

No, don't worry, it's not a a floor-wax/dessert-topping/toothpaste article this month; it's simply a look at how multilanguage application environments might be used together in highly distributed systems. Interested? Well, don't worry, somebody has to beS Swallow your pride and read on, MacDuff!

Looking at the IT systems of most large organizations is often closely akin to going on a fossil hunt. You dig through the J2EE surface to find a strata of C++ code in the supporting layers. Dig a little deeper and you start finding relics of a bygone age when C and Unix ruled the world. A little more scraping and an outcrop of COBOL is likely to be revealed, or maybe a little PL/1 and then, brushing aside the minicomputers that everyone forgot about, you might be lucky enough to unearth some real assembler. The archaeological metaphor starts to decay here, however. In archaeology, all the creatures in the various strata are dead. In many (most?) IT shops, the creatures from each period in history are actually cohabiting. They are working together to run the business! It's pretty scary stuff.

In short, heterogeneity is the norm. No surprises here; that's the main issue that Web services technology and service-oriented architecture are trying to address in their joint attempt to provide some kind of "Esperanto" and rules of engagement that all these systems can use to communicate (a less costly and more flexible proposition than the custom bits of string that have spent the last few years multiplying out of control). Of course, along with the strata of technology tend to exist strata of technologists, indispensable due to their business knowledge, not to mention their business application knowledge, but hardly next year's news. "That bearded guy in the corduroy trousers and Arran jumperS what does he do?!" (And we haven't even talked about client-side or small-scale systems and their associated entourage).

"So, that's a fascinating statement of the obvious", I hear you yawn. "What's it got to do with WebLogic and transactions?" I'm getting to that...

Well, Hold Up and Stop Getting Shirty
It will not have escaped the notice of the more attentive readers that BEA has application-server technology that addresses two of these strata; J2EE and COBOL/C/C++ on Unix. WebLogic Server (as you all know) is arguably the industry's preeminent Java application server. Tuxedo, meanwhile (as many of you may know), is indisputably the industry's leading C/COBOL/C++ on nonmainframe application server. So why is that interesting? For a large organization it's highly probable that there are pockets of expertise that fall into both Java and non-Java open-systems camps (to take but two strata). Clearly, the best way to get value for money from your developers is to set them to work doing what they do best - a C/Unix guy can't be expected to be a J2EE guru overnight, however good the training course. For the maximum short-term bang for the buck, get him writing the C that he knows and loves; over time, let him migrate to the modern Java world. Wherever he is at any point in time, BEA can provide him with an application server to underpin his endeavors, bringing to bear the required scalability and reliability whilst he concentrates on the business rules - where his focus is adding value to the business. Here, we have a technology migration scenario.

Just Opening a Port and Listening for HTTP Won't Cut the Mustard
Alternatively, maybe the organization is looking to expose a service-based interface to some of its Unix legacy code in order to include it more cost effectively into the new interconnected world. Web services are the key to the language it should speak, but what about the runtime characteristics? If the new service-oriented interface will generate a significant volume of requests to the old logic, just opening up a port and listening for HTTP SOAP requests isn't going to cut the mustard. A runtime infrastructure will be needed to throttle and balance load, not to mention making the resultant online system manageable in production. A good solution would be to move the old C/COBOL/C++ Unix code into an application server environment and we've already agreed (well, I already asserted, and I have the references) that Tuxedo is by far the preeminent UnIX non-Java application server environment. So here we have introduced Tuxedo to provide new levels of scalability and visibility to existing business logic - a technology renewal scenario.

The common thread between the two scenarios is that both envisage a Java application server (and a person of your exquisite taste is bound to have chosen WebLogic!) and Tuxedo coexisting in an operational environment.

The good news is that BEA understands this. WebLogic Server contains a piece of technology called the WebLogic Tuxedo Connector (WTC). WTC's sole purpose is to allow you (from a runtime perspective) to view Tuxedo and WebLogic as a single logical platform - messages can flow back and forth as needed, with the connectivity all defined by administrative configuration. In the technology migration scenario, this allows for the maximum return on developed assets - C or C++ developed in Tuxedo today does not need to be replaced tomorrow with Java, since it can be used from the Java code. Mixed skill development teams can put together applications composed of new (and existing) code in Java and non-Java languages with no integration pain. For the technology renewal scenario, the connectivity was an explicit requirement; it was the driver for the whole effort.

Now I hear a murmur going up: "Hang on, I thought SOAP was the way to do technology strata integration. And how can you be pushing WTC with a clear conscience? It's WLS specific, and I know there are competing Java 2 Connector Architecture-based products available from third parties!" So before you go into a frenzy, let me come back on those points.

WTC is architected after J2EECA, but it would be impossible (at this point) for it to be a J2EECA implementation; for a start, I already mentioned that it's bidirectional (unlike the standard) and as for SOAP and Web services, wellS the standards as they are today lack some features that are needed for enterprise-grade solutions. One of the lacking areas (and finally, I get to the point that ties all this to the theme of my column!) is transactions!

Finally, I Get to the Point
The WebLogic Tuxedo connector can propagate two-phase commit transactions between the BEA WebLogic and Tuxedo environments. In my mind, that is implicit in making them a logically united platform (but that's just the kind of mind I have, I guess). None of the alternative products on the market that I know of (however standards based they claim to be) can do that. They all claim to support transactions, but what they mean is that they can start a Tuxedo transaction from the Java side - not that they can flow a transaction from it (or to it, come to that). In the migration scenario, it could be common for atomic updates to be needed where the data to be persisted has been computed on both sides of the technology fence; remember the scenario involved a mixed-skill development team. Full two-phase commit is needed and it is needed in such a way that it spans the two technologies. WTC provides that. Even for the renewal scenario, it would be lovely for all the systems to be interconnected in such a way that they were loosely coupled enough that they never needed to coexist in the same transaction. Life isn't always like that, and until implementations of WS-Transaction hit the market, WTC is the only game in town.

Oh, and don't forget those client-side, small-scale guys. Wouldn't it be great if they could apply their PowerBuilder/Delphi/Visual Basic- style skills to this unified applications environment! Oh, sorry, I must have forgotten to mention... they can! With BEA WebLogic Workshop, not only can they access the Tuxedo-based resources via an out-of-the-box control, but since the fruits of their labors run atop WebLogic, their transactions can flow as freely as anyone else's between the old and the new technology worlds.

So, in conclusion, the WebLogic Tuxedo Connector is a kick-ass piece of technology (if you'll excuse the hyperbole). By its ability to stitch together the WebLogic and Tuxedo worlds with transactions (and security, come to mention it), it gives you maximum ability to leverage assets in the Java and non-Java worlds with the minimum of developer effort. And did I mention it's free?! Now that's what I call return on investment!

More Stories By Peter Holditch

Peter Holditch is a senior presales engineer in the UK for Azul Systems. Prior to joining Azul he spent nine years at BEA systems, going from being one of their first Professional Services consultants in Europe and finishing up as a principal presales engineer. He has an R&D background (originally having worked on BEA's Tuxedo product) and his technical interests are in high-throughput transaction systems. "Of the pitch" Peter likes to brew beer, build furniture, and undertake other ludicrously ambitious projects - but (generally) not all at the same time!

Comments (0)

Share your thoughts on this story.

Add your comment
You must be signed in to add a comment. Sign-in | Register

In accordance with our Comment Policy, we encourage comments that are on topic, relevant and to-the-point. We will remove comments that include profanity, personal attacks, racial slurs, threats of violence, or other inappropriate material that violates our Terms and Conditions, and will block users who make repeated violations. We ask all readers to expect diversity of opinion and to treat one another with dignity and respect.


@ThingsExpo Stories
SYS-CON Events announced today that Commvault, a global leader in enterprise data protection and information management, has been named “Bronze Sponsor” of SYS-CON's 18th International Cloud Expo, which will take place on June 7–9, 2016, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY, and the 19th International Cloud Expo, which will take place on November 1–3, 2016, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. Commvault is a leading provider of data protection and information management...
The cloud promises new levels of agility and cost-savings for Big Data, data warehousing and analytics. But it’s challenging to understand all the options – from IaaS and PaaS to newer services like HaaS (Hadoop as a Service) and BDaaS (Big Data as a Service). In her session at @BigDataExpo at @ThingsExpo, Hannah Smalltree, a director at Cazena, will provide an educational overview of emerging “as-a-service” options for Big Data in the cloud. This is critical background for IT and data profes...
SYS-CON Events announced today that VAI, a leading ERP software provider, will exhibit at SYS-CON's 18th International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on June 7-9, 2016, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY. VAI (Vormittag Associates, Inc.) is a leading independent mid-market ERP software developer renowned for its flexible solutions and ability to automate critical business functions for the distribution, manufacturing, specialty retail and service sectors. An IBM Premier Business Part...
SYS-CON Events announced today that Alert Logic, Inc., the leading provider of Security-as-a-Service solutions for the cloud, will exhibit at SYS-CON's 18th International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on June 7-9, 2016, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY. Alert Logic, Inc., provides Security-as-a-Service for on-premises, cloud, and hybrid infrastructures, delivering deep security insight and continuous protection for customers at a lower cost than traditional security solutions. Ful...
Fortunately, meaningful and tangible business cases for IoT are plentiful in a broad array of industries and vertical markets. These range from simple warranty cost reduction for capital intensive assets, to minimizing downtime for vital business tools, to creating feedback loops improving product design, to improving and enhancing enterprise customer experiences. All of these business cases, which will be briefly explored in this session, hinge on cost effectively extracting relevant data from ...
With the Apple Watch making its way onto wrists all over the world, it’s only a matter of time before it becomes a staple in the workplace. In fact, Forrester reported that 68 percent of technology and business decision-makers characterize wearables as a top priority for 2015. Recognizing their business value early on, FinancialForce.com was the first to bring ERP to wearables, helping streamline communication across front and back office functions. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Kevin Roberts...
SYS-CON Events announced today that Interoute, owner-operator of one of Europe's largest networks and a global cloud services platform, has been named “Bronze Sponsor” of SYS-CON's 18th Cloud Expo, which will take place on June 7-9, 2015 at the Javits Center in New York, New York. Interoute is the owner-operator of one of Europe's largest networks and a global cloud services platform which encompasses 12 data centers, 14 virtual data centers and 31 colocation centers, with connections to 195 ad...
With an estimated 50 billion devices connected to the Internet by 2020, several industries will begin to expand their capabilities for retaining end point data at the edge to better utilize the range of data types and sheer volume of M2M data generated by the Internet of Things. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Don DeLoach, CEO and President of Infobright, will discuss the infrastructures businesses will need to implement to handle this explosion of data by providing specific use cases for filte...
As enterprises work to take advantage of Big Data technologies, they frequently become distracted by product-level decisions. In most new Big Data builds this approach is completely counter-productive: it presupposes tools that may not be a fit for development teams, forces IT to take on the burden of evaluating and maintaining unfamiliar technology, and represents a major up-front expense. In his session at @BigDataExpo at @ThingsExpo, Andrew Warfield, CTO and Co-Founder of Coho Data, will dis...
SYS-CON Events announced today that Fusion, a leading provider of cloud services, will exhibit at SYS-CON's 18th International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on June 7-9, 2016, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY. Fusion, a leading provider of integrated cloud solutions to small, medium and large businesses, is the industry's single source for the cloud. Fusion's advanced, proprietary cloud service platform enables the integration of leading edge solutions in the cloud, including clou...
Most people haven’t heard the word, “gamification,” even though they probably, and perhaps unwittingly, participate in it every day. Gamification is “the process of adding games or game-like elements to something (as a task) so as to encourage participation.” Further, gamification is about bringing game mechanics – rules, constructs, processes, and methods – into the real world in an effort to engage people. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Robert Endo, owner and engagement manager of Intrepid D...
Eighty percent of a data scientist’s time is spent gathering and cleaning up data, and 80% of all data is unstructured and almost never analyzed. Cognitive computing, in combination with Big Data, is changing the equation by creating data reservoirs and using natural language processing to enable analysis of unstructured data sources. This is impacting every aspect of the analytics profession from how data is mined (and by whom) to how it is delivered. This is not some futuristic vision: it's ha...
WebRTC has had a real tough three or four years, and so have those working with it. Only a few short years ago, the development world were excited about WebRTC and proclaiming how awesome it was. You might have played with the technology a couple of years ago, only to find the extra infrastructure requirements were painful to implement and poorly documented. This probably left a bitter taste in your mouth, especially when things went wrong.
Learn how IoT, cloud, social networks and last but not least, humans, can be integrated into a seamless integration of cooperative organisms both cybernetic and biological. This has been enabled by recent advances in IoT device capabilities, messaging frameworks, presence and collaboration services, where devices can share information and make independent and human assisted decisions based upon social status from other entities. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Michael Heydt, founder of Seamless...
The IoT's basic concept of collecting data from as many sources possible to drive better decision making, create process innovation and realize additional revenue has been in use at large enterprises with deep pockets for decades. So what has changed? In his session at @ThingsExpo, Prasanna Sivaramakrishnan, Solutions Architect at Red Hat, discussed the impact commodity hardware, ubiquitous connectivity, and innovations in open source software are having on the connected universe of people, thi...
WebRTC: together these advances have created a perfect storm of technologies that are disrupting and transforming classic communications models and ecosystems. In his session at WebRTC Summit, Cary Bran, VP of Innovation and New Ventures at Plantronics and PLT Labs, provided an overview of this technological shift, including associated business and consumer communications impacts, and opportunities it may enable, complement or entirely transform.
There are so many tools and techniques for data analytics that even for a data scientist the choices, possible systems, and even the types of data can be daunting. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Chris Harrold, Global CTO for Big Data Solutions for EMC Corporation, showed how to perform a simple, but meaningful analysis of social sentiment data using freely available tools that take only minutes to download and install. Participants received the download information, scripts, and complete end-t...
For manufacturers, the Internet of Things (IoT) represents a jumping-off point for innovation, jobs, and revenue creation. But to adequately seize the opportunity, manufacturers must design devices that are interconnected, can continually sense their environment and process huge amounts of data. As a first step, manufacturers must embrace a new product development ecosystem in order to support these products.
Manufacturing connected IoT versions of traditional products requires more than multiple deep technology skills. It also requires a shift in mindset, to realize that connected, sensor-enabled “things” act more like services than what we usually think of as products. In his session at @ThingsExpo, David Friedman, CEO and co-founder of Ayla Networks, discussed how when sensors start generating detailed real-world data about products and how they’re being used, smart manufacturers can use the dat...
When it comes to IoT in the enterprise, namely the commercial building and hospitality markets, a benefit not getting the attention it deserves is energy efficiency, and IoT’s direct impact on a cleaner, greener environment when installed in smart buildings. Until now clean technology was offered piecemeal and led with point solutions that require significant systems integration to orchestrate and deploy. There didn't exist a 'top down' approach that can manage and monitor the way a Smart Buildi...