Public Services Gateway and Internal Services Gateway Patterns

I wrote earlier about defining a Generic API in your SOA by encapsulating the heterogeneous service platforms that you find in your infrastructure. The two patterns I’ll discuss today are sub-patterns that we can refine from the features provided by the Generic API pattern.

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The Internal Services Gateway (ISG) pattern exposes services in the underlying service platforms to internal service consumers by using the Generic API pattern. The WSO2 Enterprise Service Bus (ESB) is deployed in the local area network (LAN) and exposes backend services as proxy services. This aggregates the backend services into a unified services layer and simplifies the backend service contracts.

Security policies for authentication and authorization can be designed appropriately for the context that only internal consumers will be allowed access to the services. Some ISG deployments only consider network level security provided by the infrastructure, others leverage Single Sign-On (SSO) through an internal user store hosted by Active Directory, LDAP, and RDBMS, or Windows-based Kerberos tokens.

The Public Services Gateway (PSG) pattern exposes select services to external service consumers. In a normal infrastructure this is achieved by deploying a WSO2 ESB in a “DMZ” (demilitarized zone where security is carefully managed – I’ll provide more information about DMZ practices in a future post) and exposing the services to external service consumers. The DMZ ESB pre-processes service requests coming from the public service gateway, and thus originating outside the core network, and routes only valid and authorized messages to the actual service platforms deployed in the LAN.

Pre-processing steps typically consist of message validation, filtering, and transformation. Compared with the ISG, a PSG should maintain a higher level of security due of course to the origin of service requests coming from outside. The PSG should be configured to use the relevant security policies and bridge into the internal security policies by using the security protocol switching capabilities of WSO2 ESB. SSO support for external consumers can be implemented using SAML2 tokens or any other Secure Token format (such as OpenID).

Two implementation models are popular: a PSG consuming services through an ISG or a PSG directly consuming the backend services. In addition to message-level validation the PSG can extend validation to the attachments coming with the message, for example executing virus checks by configuring WSO2 ESB to execute a virus check program.

In summary these two patterns provide clean, proper control of services exposed variously to the internal and external consumers. Security policies appropriate to each type of customer can be developed, deployed, and managed simply through the internal registry in the ESB or through and external WSO2 Governance Registry instance.

Asanka Abeysinghe, Director of Solutions Architecture
Asanka’s blog: http://asanka.abeysinghe.org/

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Enterprise Architects Appreciate “Lean”

Standing out from our conversations with dozens of Enterprise Architects at last week’s Forrester Enterprise Architecture Summit 2011 in The cloud descends on San Francisco for the Forrester EA Summit 2011 [Jonathan Marsh from the Golden Gate Bridge 2/16/2011]San Francisco was the interest in and appreciation of “lean” approaches to integration challenges.  From a lot of nodding in the room after Paul’s assertion that a lean solution was a key factor in eBay’s choice to use the WSO2 ESB in their ultra-scale deployments, to expo floor conversations with Enterprise Architects who are tired of suffering under bloated old industrial middleware and perking up at the idea that this is not inevitable, I came away with the impression that we may be on the cusp of a “lean” wave.

Let me be clear, while the WSO2 Carbon platform is lean it’s not skinny.  Through a sophisticated componentization model based on OSGi, there are hundreds of features to choose from, comprising a complete middleware platform from data to screen.  You just don’t typically need them all at once.

What are some of the factors that are driving the lean movement?  I think they include:

  • Simplified installation, configuration, and provisioning.
  • Low resource use, specifically modest disk and memory footprints.
  • High performance as a result of a simple straight-line approach to the problem at hand.
  • Immense productivity and reliability gains which occur when a tool addresses the problem at hand directly, not through multiple layers of generalization and abstraction.

This lean mentality kind of reminds me of my Microsoft days during which Windows Server Data Center Edition was introduced.  DC is essentially a version of Windows Server stripped down to its leanest, most performant and secure core.  It surprised me at the time that they charged significantly more for less actual code.  But it does demonstrate the value proposition of “lean,” and why it may now be a trending topic in the field of Enterprise Architecture.

Jonathan Marsh, VP Business Development and Marketing
Jonathan’s blog: http://jonathanmarsh.net/blog

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Think Again.

Tomorrow at the Forrester Enterprise Architecture Forum 2011 (WSO2 is a Gold Sponsor and talking about Ultra-scale deployments) we are launching a new campaign – the “Think Again” campaign.  The theme of our booth and materials is:

Think there’s nothing new in middleware?  Think Again.

This campaign idea originated during a conversation we had recently during an investor analysis of WSO2 technology and business.  The comment was “WSO2 is the only new thing in the middleware space.”  We received similar excitement from analysts over our platform at the Gartner AADI conference last year, a recognition that our deliverables today match the Platform-as-a-Service vision predicted at the conference for five years out.

The foundations of this claim are solid:

  • Our lean and modular approach is unique and provides clear customer value.
  • Our cloud-native platform gives you a full range of deployment options, from on-premise server installations, virtualized environments on- or off-premise, or fully multi-tenant, elastic cloud deployments on public or private infrastructure.
  • And our open source business model and world-class support services raise the bar on software vendor-customer relationships.

A small taste of the campaign is available at http://wso2.com/thinkagain.

So, think we’re just a low-cost alternative to IBM, Oracle, Tibco, and the rest?  Think again.

Jonathan Marsh, VP Business Development and Marketing
Jonathan’s blog: http://jonathanmarsh.net/blog

WSO2 Workshop tours: an easy intro to an easy platform

The workshop series just completed in the US (San Jose, Salt Lake City, Orlando) was attended by a diverse set of people having interests in the platform and on particular set of products. I had the pleasure of meeting people who were there to build their own skills in imageSOA, Cloud, and WSO2 technology and those who were looking to evaluate and potentially deploy WSO2 platform in the enterprise.

Since the workshops run pretty much like a discussion with lots of white boarding and demonstrations, everyone is able to pose their questions and get a clear understanding of the platform. It was quite interesting to hear from people who have already used WSO2 as well as from those who have not.  The questions ranged from “What exactly does an ESB provide to an enterprise?” to “What mechanisms support LDAP within the WSO2 Identity Server?” to “Tell me in concrete terms what is Cloud?”

One particular message that echoed throughout this workshop series was the fact that WSO2 technology is very easy to understand. Within the short span of one day, the audience learns the product well enough to run a basic end-to-end scenario and literally start to answer each others questions! That is a pleasant moment to experience. 🙂

I’m sure as much as the audience learned from WSO2, we learned from them as well. Nothing like a teaching moment to bring home both the great ease of use of the product — and what can be even easier to achieve the same effect. The simplicity and straightforwardness of the product are prime ingredients on which the WSO2 platform is built, and we continually strive to improve on these goals through user contact opportunities like the workshop.

My thanks to everyone who came to visit us and give us the time to share the world of WSO2. We’re planning many more workshops this year, on a wider array of topics, and we hope to meet even more of you through these great events.  Keep an eye on the WSO2 events calendar — and let us know where you’d like to see a workshop!

Devaka Randeniya, Director of Sales
Devaka’s Blog: http://devakar.blogspot.com/

WSO2 Message Broker Beta Leaked by CTO

Ok, not a completely truthful headline.  As an open source company with a completely open development model, the source code has been hosted publicly for some time and the roadmap for it has been discussed on our public architecture mailing list.  How can you leak something that’s already public?

But the real story is still interesting: WSO2 CTO Paul Fremantle has posted a blog entry helping early adopters download, install, and configure the soon-to-be-released product.

The WSO2 Message Broker marries Apache QPid with the Carbon OSGi architecture for JMS (Java Message Service) support and AMQP protocol support.  It is designed to help SOA adopters and those building on the WSO2 Carbon/Stratos platform to easily add messaging patterns to their toolkit of best practices for enterprise integration.

Look forward to more announcements soon, or follow Paul’s directions for your early adopter investigation!

Jonathan Marsh, VP Business Development and Marketing
Jonathan’s blog: http://jonathanmarsh.net/blog

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Adding the dynamism of events to a Master Data Management solution

The WSO2 platform provides all the capabilities to address two common architecture patterns — Master Data Management (MDM) and Event Driven Architecture (EDA).

The integration of these two powerful ideas allowed a System Integrator (and WSO2 customer) to refactor and modernize their architecture in their latest release, and roll that out smoothly to their customers.  The new architecture centered around the MDM and EDA patterns.  Built-in facilities enabling MDM and EDA patterns played a factor in choosing the WSO2 SOA-based Middleware Platform.

The existing application software includes a number of RDBMS data repositories, exposed through application-level APIs from various systems. Requirements for the new architecture included the reuse of the existing data as well as support for updates to the existing data stores from messages originating in the new architecture. Even though existing data was reused, the existing data model was not proving a good fit with the new architecture. Therefore converting the data to a new data model also became a key requirement. The MDM pattern fulfilled these two requirements by connecting to the data repositories and converting the data into a universal data model.

The WSO2 platform sports a number of features useful for implementing MDM.  The OxygenTank article Implementing MDM Patterns on WSO2 SOA Platform describes a pattern called Service Adapters that applied neatly to this situation, leveraging the legacy APIs for data access.  The adapters were coded in Java and deployed in the WSO2 Application Server.  WS-Transfer facilitated transformation of the data models and exposed the new universal data model through XML Web Services.

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The message exchange pattern (MEP) used to integrate the application components was pub-sub (publish and subscribe), bringing EDA into the picture. Pub-Sub extends the loose coupling of a SOA, allowing new data sources to be integrated by a simple publish/subscribe operation.  The WSO2 Enterprise Service Bus’s native support for the WS-Eventing standard allows it to act as an event broker, while extending mediation capabilities to any pub-sub interaction as well as providing all the QoS controls available within the ESB.

By introducing a controller into the architecture, more sophisticated event flows are possible, controlled by business processes and rules. In this architecture, the controller was implemented by using WSO2 Application Server and WSO2 Business Process Server, and combined standard JAX-WS based services and rules defined in BPEL.

Dynamic discovery emerged as a key requirement to avoid tightly coupling of service endpoints.  The combination of WS-Discovery support and a compatible service deployer, endpoint availability is published as each service is deployed.

Integration of a Registry/Repository was identified as a key requirement to store service and configuration metadata as well as to enable dynamic metadata look-up. These facilities are provided by the WSO2 Governance Registry, which in addition to a metadata store hosts the topic store for topic-based event subscriptions.

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The logical architecture solution above maps to a variety of deployment patterns for different clients of the system integrator, meeting their individual demands for scalability, high availability, infrastructure constraints, and so forth.

The application of aspects of Event Driven Architecture to the problem of Master Data Management adds flexibility and increases the advantages of loose coupling so prized in modern SOA solutions.  We hope the pattern described above gives you some ideas of how your current integration challenges can be approached.

Asanka Abeysinghe, Director of Solutions Architecture
Asanka’s blog: http://asanka.abeysinghe.org/

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A WSO2 First: Multi-Tenant Tomcat WebApps

In a previous post I talked about the advantages of unifying Web Applications and Web Services or APIs into a single server runtime.  And about some of the advantages of making Apache Tomcat part of the WSO2 Carbon family.

Tomcat LogoBut there possibly isn’t any aspect of a Carbon-based Tomcat more exciting than combining it with the power of WSO2 Stratos, the WSO2 Carbon-based cloud middleware platform.  Stratos provides hosting on the cloud with all the advantages that implies: the agility of instant self-service provisioning, elasticity to automatically scale up with business peaks and down as demand subsides, the efficiencies of multi-tenant architecture, and greater intelligence through full monitoring and metering.

As a WSO2 Carbon family product, this means Tomcat Web applications can be deployed on the cloud!  Either on your private cloud infrastructure, or on the WSO2 public cloud, relieving your businesses of the chore of maintaining their own IT infrastructure.

We’re very proud to offer the first commercial release of Tomcat available as either server-based software, a virtual machine image, or as a multi-tenant platform as a service (PaaS) on private or public clouds.

You can try the Tomcat WebApp samples, deploy your own WebApp, and more at https://appserver.cloud.wso2.com.

Afkham Azeez, Senior Architect and Senior Manager

Azeez’s blog: http://blog.afkham.org/

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