We're into the third day of Oracle Open World. Time to have a look at a few of the changes in the product portfolio. As Thomas Kurian already said: over 2000 product changes. So I'm not going to cover all, but point out some that in my opinion will have an impact.
Some of you will already have looked at Oracle SOA Suite 11gR1 and will be interested to know that 11gR1 PS1 (Patch Set 1) will be out shortly. In this patchset there will be a number of changes. One important thing to note is that PS1 is a new install, not a real patch. The patchsets coming after this one will be patches in the real sense of the world. This one just has too many consequences. One of the limitations that we have seen in 11g is the lack of domains. BPEL domains were a nice feature to be able to discern different deployemnts. For example you could have a domain per department or per tuning requirement, or even for OTAP purposes. With the introduction of SCA we have the SOA domain, but .... you can have only one: default. This is not going to be fixed in PS1 or even PS2, however PS2 will show the introduction of Composite folders where you can at least group different composites. Oracle Product Management is aware of the use cases of this feature and is currently looking into the possible revival of the domain. However, the repercussions of this feature are massive, if you stop to think about it. For now, we'll wait and see.
So what does PS1 bring? For one: it will be possible to have a BPEL process participate in a pub/sub EDN event. I'm sure you can see the advantage of that. It's the 'marriage' of SOA and EDN starting to get shape. Another nice BPEL feature is Monitor Express, where you're have BAM dashboards out of the box for a specific process or process step.
Another feature that has come back is the web-based rule designer and DVM (Domain Value Map) editor. With the MDS available for all configuration items this is just one of the first steps in opening up the MDS for runtime editing. I can't wait for the rest to come!
PS1 also includes some preview functionality that is to come in PS2. I really like the Spring component which enables you to include sping context into an SCA composite. The best part: it works two ways, inbound and outbound.
On to BPM. At this time, BPM is 'lagging behind'. Product management ensures us that after the 11g release of BPM early next year, BPM will adjust its schedule to conform with all the other 11g components. That's good news. What will 11g BPM bring us? Well, we will finally have a Unified Process Engine that's capable of running BPEL, BPMN, Human workflow and business rules. As BPM is a separate layer on top of the SOA Suite infrastructure, it will NOT impact any BPEL instances, even though the UPE is unified. With the introduction of BPM 11g, BPEL can leverage BPM as well.
In my opinion - and I guess it's Oracle's opinion as well - BPM is going to stand much clsoer to the business user. So I expect BPEL to become more integration focused whereas BPM will be more process/workflow focussed.
So far I've only scratched the surface of all the changes that I've noticed or told about. Before I end however, there's two last things I'd like to present to you. The first one is BPEL Roundtrip. To be honest, this was never one of my favourites. In the new setup it will be possible to roundtrip from BPA to either BPEL or BPMN, which opens up new opportunities.
Always good to go out with a bang, so I've saved the best for last. With the introduction of BPM 11g comes the Process Composer. This is an web-based tool aimed at the business users, where they are able to modify any process before it's deployed. Based on available rules, services and process activities, they can modify the process to their needs. This will make imtroduction of new products (based on a default process) an undertaking that can be handled purely by the business, without the need for IT.
The Process Composer initially will have limited functionality (only to be used BEFORE deployment) but will get additional features like runtime editing etc soon thereafter. Way to go guys!