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Book Review: Getting Started with Oracle SOA B2B Integration

Before last OOW my only experience with Oracle B2B was Ronald van Luttikhuizen's presentation at OUGN this year. After some sessions at OOW, and reading this book on the plane back I now know more about it. Unfortunately I do not have any practical project experience yet.

I like this book - it gives a good summary of what B2B is and what the Oracle B2B product can do. Not all of you will come across B2B, but when you need it - then you really need it. B2B functionality is not something you would like to code yourself from scratch. I like that it is a "Hands-On Tutorial", so you can try it out using the virtual image of the Oracle SOA Suite patch release PS5 (11.1.1.6).

Here are the book details:

Publisher: PACKT
Title: Getting Started with Oracle SOA B2B Integration: A Hands-On Tutorial
Link to site: here
Language :  English
Paperback : 332 pages
Release Date : July 2013
ISBN : 1849688869, ISBN 13 : 9781849688864
Author(s) : Krishnaprem Bhatia, Alan Perlovsky, Scott Haaland

We may believe that integration and its standards is something that is relatively new, but that is not true. According to the book - in the 1960s, when the rail line and transportation industries began transmitting data electronically, electronic data exchange was officially born. Only the emergence of Electronic Data Interchange (EDI) was able to finally provide a mechanism for standardized electronic exchange. We can see how mature these standards after reading this chapter. If you hear about EDI X12, EDIFACT, EDIINT, ebXML, HL7, RosettaNet - buy this book and start reading Chapter 1. The essence of B2B is the need for a secure way to exchange documents - based on industry standards. Look at Ronald's presentation at slide 12 to compare SOAP WS vs B2B (ebMS) vs REST across the Flexibility axis. There is a reason why REST has become popular is some areas - Simplicity and Flexibility. B2B must be reliable, but not necessarily simple for developers.

Chapter 2 introduces you to the Oracle B2b product, and how you can install it. Chapter 3, which you can actually read online - it is about document definitions. Chapter 4 is about trading partner management, and Chapter 5 about B2B Transactions.

Chapter 6 is about SOA Suite integration- and the good thing is that the Oracle B2B product is actually a component of SOA Suite. When you install the SOA Suite 11g and start your managed server, the B2B engine is running and ready for use. There are several mechanisms of communication between SOA and B2B: Default (In Memory). JMS, AQ and Web services (outbound only). You can run SOA Suite and B2B in same domain, or in separate domains. This chapters shows how you can create a composite.

Knowing the status of the messages is important, so Chapter 7 is about reporting and monitoring, and how B2B integrates with Oracle BAM. Chapter 8 is about Exception Handling, and Chapter 9 about Security Management.

One chapter which many books lack is the "Preparing to Go-Live"-chapter, but this books has it in chapter 10. It explains how to build your production B2B topology, how to migrate your B2B installation from test to production, what tools are available to perform B2B administration and tuning. But as the book says - there may be WLS or SOA bottlenecks that maybe should be addressed as well. At the end there is also an Advanced - chapter.

The most interesting B2B session for me at OOW last year was from British Telecom - Oracle B2B Integration: Introduction and British Telecom Case Study [CON8730], It was by David Robinson (BT), Scott Haaland and Vikas Anand (Oracle).  This session presented an extreme customer case study of British Telecom, which has hundreds of partners connecting to its enterprise through Oracle B2B. We saw how they had upgraded their installation from an previous version of B2B, and designed its system for maximum connection uptime by using high-availability B2B gateways. This gives them trading availability, operational reliability, and business agility and reduce commercial, delivery, and operational costs. A good thing is that you can download the presentation. What impressed me was the number of message exchanges (see slide 28) and the topology they use for HA (slide 30). The presentation also include some roadmap-information that may be of interest to you.

You should read this book because you do need to know in which situations you may need the B2B product. A good thing is that is part of the SOA Suite license.  The bad thing is that what you probably need it for is under a separate license - see the product data sheet, where it says:

Oracle B2B is a multi-protocol server. A separate license is required to use the EDI, Healthcare, RosettaNet and ebXML related functionality they are called “adapters”

I therefore can recommend reading this book - the authors have done a good job! I especially like the best practices and GoLive-tips.

 

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