Friday, July 16, 2004

Week 3 - It's getting interesting

We're working on a very interesting proposal.
A client is concerned that the corporate IT approach to EAI is flawed and wants us, as an independent, objective, expert party, to prove him right.
So we have to prove a negative.
After several iterations we finally have a presentation ready for him that's just rife with a salesman's version of Agile.

What I take away from it though is the following:

There are three different Integration Models:
  • Multi-step processWorkflow - Transactions or activities need to be orchestrated between various applications
  • Composite applicationPortal - Provide single application into a range of back-end systems
  • Data integrationCommon Data Layer – Data from incompatible systems are transformed into a common format

And there are four Integration Styles

  • Batch Data ExchangeExport/import data via flat files, aka ETL
  • Central DatabaseMake all applications access a common database
  • Remote Procedure CallsApplications call another directly or indirectly
  • MessagingPropagate documents and events via a common bus

Styles and models can be mixed to suit specific requirements.
Just to give you another push for Agile development (as if you needed it...)

Agile practices and benefits  

  • Manageability of project investment
    • Visibility of project progress
    • Adaptive planning
    • Incremental delivery

  • Test-driven development
    • Regression basis
    • Design evolution

  • Close Customer Collaboration
    • Create what customer really needs
    • Be able to respond to shifting priorities

This wealth of knowledge is gleaned from presentations that our main man Gregor Hohpe and others have given at the various conferences.

At another client, there is an issue with the use of MS BizTalk.

A lot of manual work is going into mapping data from legacy systems to a generic API. Strangely enough, they do this ad-hoc and have a cluster of people field data mapping calls from users.
Sounds like they need themselves some SOA...

Remember the client with the TIBCO InConcert/Integration Manager throughput problems ?We were right in our assumptions that the root cause of their workflow pileups lies in SQLServer locking problems.

But it is more pervasive and conniving than we expected. Get this:

The TIBCO tools create global temporary tables in SQL Server to store workflow data.These tables are not session-related or carry some kind of session ID. So when there are a lot of workflows being created and managed, they deadlock on the temp tables !
Using DBCC TRACE, you can quickly determine who deadlocks what.You can also use the Enterprise Manager tool to configure tracing options for rthe entire server instance.

Guess TIBCO has some "esplainin" to do...

See here for some info on MS SQL Server trace flags:

Rumour has it that I need to go and do some Agile enablement in California...


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