Category Archives: Customers

WSO2Con Insights–Trimble Builds an Enterprise PaaS Framework with Open Source

A large part of the value of Trimble solutions is that they enable customers to build and manage their own positioning-centric solutions for employees in the field—a key requirement for customers in the agriculture, construction, and transportation sectors. Trimble also needs this capability in-house, since its various divisions are set up to be entrepreneurial and have the speed and agility to execute. As Prakash Iyer, Trimble’s vice president for software architecture and strategy, explained during his session at WSO2Con 2013 US, building an enterprise platform as a service (PaaS) framework with open source solutions helped Trimble meet these goals.

The Move to a Cloud Platform

When Trimble first considered building a flexible development platform, the question was whether to go with a traditional platform versus a product-driven platform, Iyer recalled. With a traditional platform, by the time the hard work is done, the technology is likely to have changed, he noted. The better solution, the Trimble team realized, was a product-driven platform where selection of the platform elements is driven by the product. Users can then build applications on the platform and deliver them efficiently.

PrakashIyer1The Trimble Platform as a Service, known as TPaaS, provides the core services needed to build any modern enterprise application, and also provides an architectural framework to build loosely coupled SOA applications, Iyer explained. Providing a foundation for TPaaS are four multi-tenant, cloud-enabled WSO2 Carbon products: WSO2 Enterprise Service Bus, WSO2 API Manager, WSO2 Application Server, and WSO2 Identity Server.

“Our first implementation of TPaaS had Identity Server, App Server, API Manager and ESB. We didn’t use the whole stack but then we incrementally added to it,” Iyer noted. “We’re able to then build an app on that platform and then deliver it to the team, and prove it can be done efficiently. And that creates momentum.”

TPaaS Supports Internal and External Users

Iyer explained that Trimble’s development platform includes deployment infrastructure and managed hosting services, all of which help reduce the cost, time, and complexity of application development.

A key advantage of TPaaS is that it is accessible to Trimble’s network of partners and dealers, who often need to use the system to exchange data and flow transactions through it, Iyer said. It can be offered as a service framework to these partners and dealers to host their applications. He noted that the platform also provides a cloud container that can host any Trimble service, and act as a gateway to share any Trimble service for wider reuse.

The Benefits of Open Source

While the cost savings of open source were attractive, Iyer stated that other aspects of an open source licensing model were important.

“We can take WSO2 and customize it. If we don’t find everything we need, we can PrakashIyer3 customize it. We don’t have to take everything, just the part needed for us,” Iyer observed. “The other advantage is portability and ownership. I want to take my PaaS across multiple infrastructures and services; some divisions may want to deploy in Rackspace, some in Amazon, or even internally.”

Additionally, since technology changes so quickly, using WSO2 open source products allows  Trimble to avoid costly investments in solutions that will become out of date, or can’t be customized. Finally, there was the issue of focus. Iyer recalled that Trimble needed to build a solution, and using open source would allow the team to focus on those areas where Trimble could differentiate.

“My goal was always to eventually have everything from writing the code to deployment; things we could assemble and put together our own platform, and then we can focus on the applications,” Iyer said. “That was the strategic alignment part we shared with WSO2.”

For more information about Trimble’s development of an enterprise PaaS framework, view Iyer’s WSO2Con 2013 presentation.

WSO2Con-US-2013--Building-an-Enterprise-PaaS-framework-using-Open-Source-Components

WSO2Con Insights – BarclaycardUS Optimizes Backend Services and Performance Across 10 Distinct Environments with WSO2 ESB

As one of the world’s largest and most respected financial services companies, with partnerships that include over 60 best-in-class companies and brands, BarclaycardUS is dedicated to making the purchasing experience simple and rewarding for its customer community. A key part of serving those customers is working with backend service providers using multiple protocols at very high volumes, explained Alex Brown, BarclaycardUS group lead, in his presentation at WSO2Con 2013 US.

For BarclaycardUS, the solution has been to integrate to integrate WSO2 Enterprise Service Bus (WSO2 ESB) with its existing service-oriented architecture (SOA), and leverage REST APIs with the ESB to boost performance and monitoring across 10 distinct environments.

Different Partners with Different Domains

BarclaycardUS’ partnerships involve handling credit cards for large companies such as Apple and LL Bean, and specializing in the backend services for these types of businesses. Additionally, BarclaycardUS works with different vendors to conduct its credit checks, rewards and fulfillment.

“This creates an interesting perspective, since we have to integrate with a lot of different partners with unique and different needs,” Brown said.

AlexBrown-Barclaycard1According to Brown, the company has to accommodate applications and services relying on SOAP, REST, Android and Apple iOS mobile operating systems, Voice XML, and OFX, along with many different APIs. In the wake of increased cross-domain orchestration, BarclaycardUS realized the need for an ESB to serve as a common backbone for connecting these different services.

After exploring various offerings on the market, BarclaycardUS decided on WSO2 due to its ease-of-use and comprehensive middleware stack, which represented endless possibilities for growth.

“The other open source platforms we looked at during the time didn’t have that, and WSO2 was very complete and robust and supported all the modern protocols, which was a big advantage for us,” Brown explained.

Strengthening Services with WSO2 ESB

Today, Brown noted, “We’re leveraging the ESB and different parts of it, and we have a lot of different use cases.” At WSO2Con he reviewed three of those use cases to highlight how WSO2 ESB is enabling BarclaycardUS to optimize business services.

Prepaid Platform is a new service the company has rolled out, which works as a mobile application available on iPhone and Android application stores. It supports balance inquiry and mobile application and origination, Brown noted. The mobile bill payment platform also is leveraging external prepaid vendors.

“To do that, we had a mobile app that was talking in REST to the ESB, and behind the scenes AlexBrown-Barclaycard2 we had to orchestrate to many different systems,” Brown explained.

Core Domain Services: are hosted in many locations and pull data from data sources and different vendors. As a result, company wants to gain control over what is happening and have a cohesive view of service APIs in the organization, Brown explained. The company’s goal is to have customers, accounts, devices and some of these core domain services facade with each other. Working with the ESB, the company has an effective intermediary to do this.

“In the ESB, behind the scenes, it’s talking to many different things like partners, existing services we have, and different vendors—this is what we’re heading towards and is in production now,” Brown said.

Account Aggregators is a new service that is currently in development and will go live soon, Brown noted. It will address the challenge of screen scraping, programmatic collection of visual data, which can often be a heavy process that requires aggregators to login, pretend to be a customer, go through and load Web resources. BarclaycardUS didn’t want these aggregators to take valuable processing away from its regular customers. With the WSO2 ESB, BarclaycardUS can have its aggregators support the OFX standard used by banks and boost performance.

“In the ESB, the aggregators are coming in and are authenticating themselves, and I’m loading all of this data at exactly the same time. So the aggregators were able to get the info off of our website, scraping it in a minute or two—this takes less than a second, around 900 milliseconds—we’ve loaded 100% of that customer’s information and given it to the aggregator,” Brown said.

He added, “We’re also using the throttle, so if they’ve indicated they won’t go above a certain threshold but there are multiple aggregators, we need to make it so they don’t accidentally go above that threshold.”

Investing in the Future

In addition to WSO2 ESB, BarclaycardUS takes advantage of WSO2 Governance Registry and WSO2 Business Activity Monitor. Looking ahead, Brown noted, the company plans to further enhance existing services and the use of coesb-logo-h42mposite services.

“The goal is to make this a cohesive API,” Brown greg-logo-h42explained. “We’re finding that we have a lot of services that had to be handwritten, which involves talking with bam-logo-h42our backend service providers and developers, and taking the time to test and deploy.”

BarclaycardUS plans to integrate the WSO2 Identity Server into its system to implement OAuth for RESTful services, which will be important for mobile applications. Additionally, the company is looking at the potential to leverage the WSO2 Complex Event Processor to help manage business operations and events streams and the WSO2 API Manager to gain insight into metering and monitoring of different service consumers.

“It sounds like we’re going to get exactly what we need with WSO2 in 2014, it’s a very cool product we’re going to be playing with more.”

For more information about how BarclaycardUS works with different backend service providers across 10 distinct environments using the WSO2 Carbon enterprise middleware platform, see Brown’s WSO2Con 2013 full presentation.

WSO2Con-US-2013-Powering-an-enterprise-with-messaging-and-APIs

WSO2Con Insights – Accenture Solves IT Integration Challenges Using the Cloud-Enabled WSO2 ESB to Support the Accenture Cloud Platform

As the world’s largest independent technology and outsourcing services provider for nearly 25 years, Accenture has extensive experience in helping global clients navigate through the
complex cloud choices in the market. Igor Mameshin, a manager within the Accenture Cloud Platform (ACP), explained in a presentation at WSO2Con US 2013, how the company is using WSO2 technology to help address today’s cloud demands.

Mameshin explained that, as companies use hybrid cloud integration—combining private computing resources and public services with integration touch points between the two environments—new and more complex risks arise.

For Accenture, the solution was to build a cloud-based infrastructure that accelerates the successful adoption and integration of cloud services, without compromising quality, standards or security. The Accenture Cloud Platform, powered by WSO2’s enterprise middleware platform, Mameshin explained, provides a rich portfolio of application adapters that simplify the connectivity to external systems such as ERP applications like SAP, Salesforce.com, social platforms and other integration endpoints.

The Service Integration Challenge

“Governance was a challenge in the past, but the cloud introduces new and even more complex risks. Service interoperability is a critical problem to solve,” Mameshin observed. Without consistency to this solution, IT users take over the issues, and a company loses control over defining any IT infrastructure within its organization. Multiple business units in the enterprise go to multiple public providers. “Thus, you never know what goes on within the enterprise,” he said.

IgorMameshin-AccentureTo address integration challenges around connectivity, system configuration issues, application customizations, non-functional requirements, reliability, scalability, and security, Accenture realized that the solution could not rely on existing on-premises integration tools. The resulting solution was the Accenture Cloud Platform, a cloud-enabled middleware platform based on a SOA, to better implement the interoperability between the cloud and on-premises environments for its customers.

By acting as both a governance entity and a cloud broker, the Accenture Cloud Platform allows an enterprise to provision services in public cloud providers. Accenture currently works with Amazon Web Services, Azure, NTT Communications, and Terremark. A proof of concept was developed to explain the integration between Salesforce.com and SAP ERP using a cloud-based implementation of WSO2 Enterprise Service Bus.

Integration Approach Overview

Accenture has employed WSO2’s Enterprise Service Bus as a cloud-based integration backbone to pass messages from system to system, Mameshin explained. This has provided agility and flexibility to adapt to future change and growth. Moreover, it provides location transparency, transformation, routing, and protocol conversion, and it has helped with security issues, reliable messaging, and monitoring and management.

The platform has a management portal that provides a self-service interface where customers can engage with the service catalogue and pre-integrated multiple services, and order cloud services through this front-end. WSO2 ESB is installed on one of the virtual machines that Accenture has provisioned in the entity public cloud. IgorMameshin-Accenture2

Within WSO2 Enterprise Service Bus is WSO2’s Salesforce.com Certified Force.com Developer (SFDC) mediation library, which contains a set of ESB templates and offers operations that simplify a customer’s interactions with Salesforce.com. Supported operations include log in, log out, create, update, Query and QueryMore. On the Salesforce.com side, Accenture used SOAP API, REST API, and the WSO2 Salesforce.com Connector to work with these APIs. A new feature of the WSO2 Developer Studio integrated development environment (IDE) allows for developing integration flows when integrating via the Salesforce.com connector.

Mameshin noted that an advantage of WSO2’s application-level integration approach, which uses real-time integration based on the native application’s integration frameworks and APIs, is that it preserves the application’s data integrity. It also allows for real-time integration between Salesforce.com and SAP, he said, and provides application-level security and an audit trail.

In implementing WSO2 Enterprise Service Bus to create Accenture’s cloud platform, Mameshin concluded, “We established that WSO2 ESB is a powerful and stable product—it did the job quickly and correctly. It has been working for three months without needing to re-boot to fix any issues.”

For more information about how Accenture uses WSO2 products to power the Accenture Cloud Platform, see Mameshin’s WSO2Con 2013 full presentation.

WSO2Con-US-2013-Using-WSO2-ESB-to-integrate-Salesforce-com-and-SAP-ERP-Accenture (1)

WSO2Con Insights – Spectrum Health Evolves Healthcare System with Custom SOA Infrastructure Solution Powered by WSO2 Carbon Middleware

As a leading not-for-profit, integrated, managed care health care organization, Spectrum Health’s subsidiaries include hospitals, treatment facilities, urgent-care facilities, as well as physician practices that serve the western Michigan area. In healthcare today, uptime is critical and there is an increasing demand for real-time results.

In his presentation at WSO2Con US 2013, Paul Tjapkes, Spectrum Health SOA architect discussed how the company is addressing these and other healthcare industry demands through its service-oriented architecture (SOA). The SOA, which takes advantage of WSO2’s open source middleware stack, has helped to merge Spectrum Health’s internal IT departments and optimize information sharing and security.

A Custom SOA Infrastructure Stack

An SOA training session served as the initial introduction to WSO2 Enterprise Service Bus, Tjapkes recalled: “We brought in because it was easy to put into a virtual machine and on users’ laptops. It worked great in training, so we ended up using it in production.”

Spectrum Health had worked with other ESB products, Tjapkes noted, but some of them required thousands of lines of code and hundreds of files just for a simple proxy to pass through. By contrast, he said that using WSO2 ESB, he and a colleague could create ten lines of configuration and a full proxy with security enabled. Since then, WSO2 ESB has become one of the company’s primary integration points.

PaulT-SpectrumFollowing its success with WSO2 ESB, Spectrum Health has implemented other WSO2 middleware products. WSO2 Governance Registry is used to communicate and manage service deployments across different environments, Tjapkes explained.

The company also uses WSO2 Business Activity Monitor (BAM), said Tjapkes, noting, “It’s important to know who’s doing what. My favorite use case is it gives us capacity planning info. We can see if a service spikes up in usage, so you potentially build out better capabilities there.”

Additionally, Spectrum Health relies on WSO2 Identity Server for its healthcare-focused XACML Policy Decision Point (PDP).

Insights for Success

In his presentation, Tjapkes also reflected on lessons that Spectrum Health learned in building its SOA infrastructure. The most important lesson was following a SOA roadmap to keep goals on track. Tjapkes explained that defining a multi-year plan, understanding the benefits and costs involved, and securing company executive support for the project are crucial for executing an effective roadmap.

“If you don’t have a plan, you’re not going to be happy with the results,” Tjapkes said. At thePaulT-Spectrum2 same time, he said, “Standards are what makes SOAs work, and it’s important to have vendors follow them as well.”

Tjapkes noted that an advantage of the open source community is that it’s founded on standards such as Simple Object Access Protocol (SOAP), Web Service Definition Language (WSDL), XML/XSD, WS-Security, Transport Layer Security (TLS), and the X.509 ITU-T standard for a public key infrastructure (PKI) and privilege management infrastructure (PMI). These technologies need to become part of the business.

Tjapkes then highlighted the importance adhering to SOA principles and having a team dedicated to supporting the SOA, explaining that it’s important for the team to organize outside of projects, so that service development doesn’t become project-driven.

Tjapkes concluded, “We’re solving problems in a different way in healthcare than we have been traditionally. Our goal is to give our patients and members a better experience. I recently met with one of the VPs, and she told me we never could’ve accomplished what we did this year without the investment we made in SOA. After doing all the heavy lifting, we can finally focus on innovation.

For more information about how Spectrum Health created its custom SOA infrastructure solution, see Tjapkes’ WSO2Con 2013 full presentation.

WSO2Con-US-2013-Case-Study--Reflections-on-Enabling-Change-in-Healthcare-with-SOA- Spectrum-health

WSO2Con Insights – West Interactive Solves Multichannel Communications Challenge With Cloud Solution Powered by WSO2 Carbon Middleware

As the leading provider of technology-driven communication services, West Interactive has developed and managed large-scale, mission-critical transactions for clients’ communications needs for more than 25 years. However, Pranav Patel, West Interactive vice president ofWest Interactive logo systems development, explained in a presentation at WSO2Con US 2013, past solutions deployed by the company weren’t flexible enough to support today’s dynamic business needs.

For West Interactive, the solution was to create West Connect, a cloud solution powered by WSO2 Carbon middleware that enables organizations to provide an improved, personalized experience for their customers.

The Multichannel Challenge

The primary business of West Interactive is to provide contact center solutions, which include cloud-based interactive voice recognition (IVR) and speech automation, mobile applications for customer care, and a hosted contact center—all based on carrier grade, scalable and reliable platform. The company now handles some 4 billion minutes of customer engagement annually.

“Today’s challenge is that there are multiple channels available,” Patel observed. “It’s no longer just a phone call or an IVR that people use to get in touch with your enterprise or customer care.  You have mobile apps, text messages, social media, email, the Web—and enterprises have to manage those and provide customer care solutions across all these channels.”

Patel then explained that, because today’s consumers demand anytime and anywhere access West Interactive-PranavP to data and services, across more channels of communication than ever before, it is not enough to simply provide the channels.

“These channels have to be wholly integrated,” Patel said. “The systems that provide these should be very intelligent—that’s the business challenge at hand.”

In seeking to address these business demands, West Interactive realized that the solution would rely, not on extending its existing legacy systems, but by taking advantage of a service-oriented architecture (SOA) based on modern middleware technologies.

West Connect for Modern Communications Demands

The resulting solution was West Connect, a cloud-enabled middleware platform based on a SOA, which is equipped with a set of technologies and core services that are open and flexible. It sits between the top layer of the architecture where there are applications across different channels, and the West Manage API services below, which is where the company can expose services or APIs for customers to use.

Describing West Connect, Patel noted, “The vision here is to build several services on top, as it provides for multichannel communication, multi-tenancy and services like identity management, context awareness, analytics, notifications, rules engine, and more.”

PranavPatel-WestWest Connect is based on several products within the cloud-enabled, fully multi-tenant and 100% open source WSO2 Carbon enterprise middleware platform. These include WSO2 Application Server, WSO2 Data Services Server, WSO2 Enterprise Service Bus (ESB), WSO2 API Manager, WSO2 Identity Server, WSO2 Governance Registry, and WSO2 Business Activity Monitor (BAM)

In describing the roles of the products, Patel explained that, “The API will need WSO2 API Manager and Identity Server for exposing the APIs out. West Connect is essentially WSO2 ESB, Governance, and BAM. A lot of the services reside on the Application Server, and when you talk to databases you use the WSO2 Data Services Server.”

The WSO2 Advantage

Patel recounted the factors behind West Interactive’s decision to work with WSO2; “We wanted something we could do a POC with, that would start out quickly and wanted a low cost of entry. The flexible, pluggable architecture made it even much better; we can choose and pick only the products we want. And a low infrastructure footprint—we can run several of these products on a VM.”

WSO2 API Manager was also a major selling point for Patel. “API Manager really gives our business the ability to go outside, not just internally, cataloguing the APIs and providing the APIs with documentation as part of the API store.”

Looking ahead, West Interactive is evaluating how other WSO2 products can contribute to expanded capabilities within West Connect.

According to Patel, “We still continue to evaluate all the WSO2 products out there and we can easily see some fitting right here, business rules, complex event processing, and also how to use things like App Factory. The work continues.”

For more information about how West Interactive uses WSO2 products to power West Connect, view Patel’s WSO2Con 2013 presentation.

WSO2Con-US-2013-West-Connect-Powered-by-WSO2

WSO2Con Insights – Algar Telecom Delivers Innovation Through Next-Gen Server-Side JavaScript Framework

As telecommunications continue to compete on service, they  look at new ways to enrich the customer experience. For Algar Telecom, one of those ways is enabling customers to create their own Web applications using the popular JavaScript language.
At WSO2Con US 2013, Cesar William Alvarenga, front end engineer at Algar Telecom, described how the company  is taking advantage of Jaggery, WSO2’s server-side JavaScript framework for composing Web applications.

Building on Initial Success

Before describing the company’s use of Jaggery, Alvarenga began by talking about the company’s first project using WSO2 software: Algar Telecom OCS (online charging system). OCS is used to charge customers in real-time, based on their service usage, and all mobile and fixed line traffic will run through this platform. The traffic is passed through WSO2 Enterprise Service Bus (ESB), transforming the data and integrating with legacy services.

“Today we are processing over 200,000 transactions per day and this number will increase every day,” Alvarenga said. “The performance of the ESB is agreeable and it supports our telecommunication requirements.”

CesarWilliams2Algar Telecom also uses WSO2 products to support its Coreo platform, which is used to deliver a range of applications. For example, Alvarenga noted, an application could let a user send in the airport and flight number and receive the flight information—all using SMS.

Currently Algar Telecom deploys WSO2 ESB and WSO2 Business Activity Monitor (BAM) across the Coreo platform, Alvarenga explained. WSO2 ESB is used to create an interface between all the Coreo modules and transform the data, while the company uses WSO2 BAM to collect and present all of the platform’s data. The company is now testing Jaggery to facilitate Web app development.

The Jaggery Advantage

“Web developers love JavaScript, but typically must alternate between two languages when they want to build applications on the server side,” Alvarenga said. “Using Jaggery allows our developers to work strictly with JavaScript to build Web applications across the Coreo platform.”

With Jaggery, users can generate HTML and they can exchange messages with JSON, CesarWilliamsAlvarenga observed; “Another benefit is you can reduce the number of layers in your solution. You can access directly the ESB or database for example, and this helps the developer to build a small solution, accessing directly the main services.”

Working in JavaScript using Jaggery also supports Algar Telecom’s vision of a mobile platform that inherently supports Web-native applications.

“I think the future evolution shows that the mobile platform will support these Web  applications,” Alvarenga said, “Today we have some operating systems that support only this type of application, like Ubuntu phone, HP WebOS. Tizen from Linux, and Firefox OS from Mozilla. Using Jaggery, you have a lot of functionality, so if you know JavaScript, for the server-side application, you don’t have to do much. It’s very easy.

Alvarenga wrapped up by providing a detailed explanation of how Jaggery is used with the Coreo platform—using the Jaggery template to generate HTML for the user, granting access to the user with Jaggery and an OAuth module, executing the application using the WS-Request module, and using the ActiveMQ module to get the result back to the user.

For more information about how Algar Telecom is using Jaggery and other WSO2 solutions to develop web and mobile applications, view Alvarenga’s WSO2Con 2013 presentation here.

WSO2Con-US-2013-Using-Jaggery-in-Telecom-Web-and-Mobile-Applications

WSO2Con Insights – How Boeing Transformed Commercial Aviation Using WSO2

Keeping airplanes in the air and operating safely and efficiently is the job of Boeing’s commercial aviation division—specifically, the service known as Boeing Edge, which provides support and service to the manufacturer’s aviation customer base.

As Boeing senior product manager Jim Crabbe explained at WSO2Con US 2013, providing this level of agile, informed service, and allowing customers to share information among many disparate systems, brought about the need for platform as a service (PaaS), which is powered by WSO2 software.

“Our Boeing Edge solutions need to help customers’ planes spend less time on the ground, and more time in the air,” Crabbe said. “For airlines, time is of the essence, and creating operational efficiency requires connecting people, processes, and sources of data.”

Boeing’s job, Crabbe explained, is to reduce the complexity of these mission-critical processes. “Some airlines are running very old applications and systems, but they work and they’re solid,” Crabbe said. “The cost of moving those systems to a new state is large, and could disrupt their operation.

That’s where Boeing has taken on these challenges to help our customers—how to break free from their data, and how to integrate better with the applications and products we provide to them, to create business process-driven workflows and new applications.”

Boeing chose the entire stack of WSO2 solutions for its PaaS—including WSO2 Private PaaS and WSO2 Carbon multi-tenant enterprise middleware products—because of WSO2’s reputation, and its commitment to open source.

“Our development direction has always been a service-oriented architecture, so we use open-source modular solutions whenever possible,” Crabbe said. “We like to leverage emerging technologies and try to stay vendor-agnostic because our customer ecosystem uses a wide variety of tools and software. That’s where working with WSO2 has been so advantageous.”

By using WSO2 solutions to build its PaaS solution, Crabbe observed that Boeing has been able to leverage the advantages of the cloud, such as elasticity and scalability, helping the company to deliver services in a consistent manner. “For example,” Crabbe said, “We can tie in line mechanics with maintenance systems, and allow users to upload pictures and other documentation, and integrate it with the back-office system of the airline.” Jim Crabbe

Deploying a flexible PaaS built on WSO2’s modular solutions helps Boeing maintain the agility it needs to support its customers, Crabbe noted: “We need to be able to continue to innovate, and we can’t be afraid to try something new.”

Another way Boeing provides value, Crabbe told attendees, is with data governance. “That means the right data to the right person for the problem at hand,” Crabbe told attendees. “You have to put your data governance process in place and protect your API, but enable people to do the work they need to do.”

For more information about Boeing’s use of WSO2’s platform, view Crabbe’s WSO2Con US 2013 presentation.

WSO2Con Insights – How WSO2 Middleware Powers Deutsche Telekom’s Connected Car Platform

Like many telecommunications companies, Deutsche Telekom is seeking new ways to drive revenue and business growth. One of those initiatives, the “connected car” program, is being driven by the company’s T-Systems unit, which delivers information and communication technology (ICT) solutions.

As Thomas Wieger, solutions architect for T-Systems International GmbH, explained to WSO2Con US 2013 attendees, connected car is a modular, service-oriented architecture (SOA) based platform that integrates vehicles with the Internet and enterprise processes. For instance, trucks can be connected with a back-end infrastructure, or fleet management software can be used to monitor vehicle maintenance and driver efficiency. Electric vehicles, which are also growing in popularity, also require technology such as mobile applications that provide monitoring and control of energy usage.

“The great thing about connected car in the activities here is that it leverages all capabilities of Deutsche Telekom,” Wieger observed. “So we can provide connectivity, especially mobile Internet; we can provide worldwide operations in our data centers; provide platform development with T-Systems system integration; and application management with T-Systems. All these capabilities are already in place and we want to put these together to do new and exciting things.”

Seeking a Single Platform

T-Systems has several types of clients for its connected car business, and several use cases—for example, big car manufacturers want to provide mobility service to their fleets, and auto dealers want to improve customer satisfaction by remotely diagnosing car problems.

Thomas-Wieger-at-WSO2ConUs-2013However, Wieger told attendees, “If we do everything like a solitary project, we would get a lot of different software with different components. We would be reinventing the wheel, re-developing the same component over and over again.”

Instead, Wieger explained, T-Systems recognized early on the need for a single platform to enable solution development and services across all of its customers and services, using common components as well as a modular, SOA.

Open source middleware at the core of the platform was a requirement, Wieger observed, since T-Systems was building a platform to serve millions of cars and customers and wanted to avoid the burden of licensing costs. In addition, the company wanted the ability to troubleshoot and fix solutions on its own if the vendor was not addressing the issue.

Working with WSO2

T-Systems first decided to work with WSO2 in 2011 after evaluating WSO2 Enterprise Service Bus (ESB) and choosing the software for its scalability and cost-effectiveness. Today, everything in the connected car platform is connected to WSO2 ESB, Wieger said.

“One ESB is used as a device gateway or vehicle gateway for data from the car; all that is exchanged between the embedded side and the backend side goes through the device gateway,” Wieger explained. “We are also using the ESB for integrating all services in our platform, so all end user services and platform services are using the ESB to work together, and we also use the ESB for integration of third-party content end services.”

T-systems-WSO2-Backend-platformIn addition to WSO2 ESB, T-Systems also uses WSO2 Identity Server for access management—since security is a high concern for many customers, WSO2 Application Server to host services in the connected car platform, WSO2 Business Activity Monitor (BAM) for monitoring and control, and WSO2 Governance Registry.

With an eye to the future T-Systems is currently evaluating WSO2 Complex Event Processor (CEP), Wieger said; “It’s very interesting to have fast reactions on events from devices—to get continuous streams of data in the backend—so we can react on data.”

Using the WSO2 middleware with components that we have enhanced for the domain of connected car, we have an operating system for connected car solutions,” Wieger concluded. “We have the first cornerstones of our platform already in action and running, and are enhancing it continuously to implement the vision”

For more information about T-Systems development of its middleware platform, view Wieger’s WSO2Con 2013 presentation.

WSO2Con-US-2013-How-WSO2-Middleware-powers-Deutsche-Telekoms-connected-car-platform-architecture

WSO2Con Insights – How APIs are Driving StubHub’s Business

Transforming a business to an API-centric architecture is a major undertaking, but it’s one that yields many benefits, most notably the ability to grow the business by extending processes to partners. In his keynote presentation at WSO2Con US 2013, Sastry Malladi, chief architect for StubHub, explained how the company has implemented an API-centric architecture to capitalize on this opportunity.

According to Malladi, adopting an API-centric architecture was driven by two factors. First, the company wants to expand from an online marketplace for tickets to become an end-to-destination for fans, including sharing their event experiences and getting information about things to do in event locales. Second, StubHub, which currently has a presence in three countries, plans to expand worldwide.

He observed that to achieve this goal, StubHub needed to build a developer community and enable partners to bring their content and services to the StubHub audience.

For example, Malladi noted, “If you’re at a hotel, and say you want to do something this evening to a concierge—how do we integrate those? You need to go to places where people are instead of expecting them to come to your site.”

Reusable Components Are Key to API Architecture

Sastry-at-WSO2ConUS-2013-2Before StubHub could extend APIs to partners, Malladi told attendees, the company first had to break down StubHub’s monolithic, hardwired application into shared, usable components, or services. This was necessary, he explained, because an API is an externally exposed “service,” which includes a developer program and typically has a “functional” contact as well as a “non-functional” contract, such as a service-level agreement (SLA). Moreover, the API potentially maybe orchestrated across multiple services, he said.

As part of this effort, Malladi explained, StubHub has established a domain meta model in which each domain is separate and independent and has one or more functions; each of these functions can have one or more APIs, but there is a one-to-one relationship between an API and an endpoint. Additionally, he said, the StubHub team does dependency modeling, so when someone is developing a function or API, the dependency is understood. Finally, he explained that domains are done in such a way that the entities belonging to a domain are owned by that domain, and the only way to access those entities is by going through the domain.

“Bottom line,” Malladi noted, “These APIs are giving us the business agility that we need and the operational excellence.”

API Architecture Opportunities Vs. Challenges

Malladi observed that an API-centric architecture offers several benefits for StubHub in addition to business agility:

  • Sellers have the flexibility to build their own customized solutions, and systems scale well to inventory and traffic.
  • Buyer experiences are enhanced, since it allows the developer community to extend the StubHub fan experience.
  • API brands serve to drive revenue and increase visibility.
  • Developers are encouraged to explore the APIs and see what they can accomplish with them.

However, becoming an API-centric organization presents challenges as well.

Screen Shot 2016-03-14 at 11

Malladi noted that while a new business could start from scratch, an established company, such as StubHub needed to balance the re-architecture with meeting other commitments to the business and customers.

A second challenge according to Malladi is that consumption patterns are not fully “baked” at the time of building an API; you won’t know fully who is going to consume them and what their patterns will be. Similarly, chargeback models and SLAs will not be clearly baked at first.

That is why it is important to build the API in such a way that it is flexible and can adapt to changes, he said. Moreover, exposing APIs to a lot of partners is not free, so architects and developers need to incorporate capacity planning and accountability into their models, he added.

At the same time, fraudsters are looking to make money off of Internet business sites. For this reason, companies need to be able to detect and prevent them from leveraging the API, and impersonating and collecting confidential data, Malladi advised.

The Role of WSO2 API Manager

For its own API architecture, StubHub is using the Store and Publisher in WSO2 API Manager, WSO2-api-manager-logoAPI Gateway based on WSO2 Enterprise Service Bus, and WSO2 Identity Server, Malladi said. The Publisher is where internal team members publish their APIs and manage the lifecycle of the APIs, he explained.

The Store is where an API is exposed both to the external and internal consumers, so they can create their applications. Malladi noted that the Store works the same way both internally and externally on both the website and mobile apps. He also invited attendees to visit StubHub’s implementation of the Store, the Developer Portal, at https://developer.StubHub.com.

WSO2 Identity Server manages user authentication, key management, JSON Web Token (JWT) assertion, Malladi said. Meanwhile, the WSO2 ESB-based API Gateway routes all incoming requests and works with WSO2 Identity Server to authenticate them.

Malladi noted that the combination of WSO2 API Manager and WSO2 ESB has enabled StubHub to address the need to manage APIs across Web and mobile domains. This is an important feature, since mobile is where StubHub sees the biggest growth, he explained.

Big Data Insights into APIs

To support StubHub and its expanded business model, the company is creating a big data platform to answer key questions, Malladi said. For example: How does the API manage social data and business analytics? How do StubHub APIs use these data sources, process the data, and bring it back in real time?

“It’s not just about creating an API but how it works on the backend,” Malladi observed. ““It’s so important to understand who your customer is and what they are doing.”

As Malladi then closed his session, he noted that building an API-centric architecture is a key driver for business growth, but as with any initiative there are challenges as well.

“The good news is you aren’t alone,” Malladi said. “And there are solutions.”

For more information about StubHub’s process for creating APIs, you can view Malladi’s WSO2Con US 2013 keynote address.

 

Codenvy and WSO2 Bring Cloud Development to the Enterprise

As the cloud empowers enterprises to innovate in new ways, we know its important to disrupt vendors of both large legacy middleware and PaaS by dramatically simplifying the entire application life cycle. We are excited about our new partnership with Codenvy, the “Code Better Instantly” company, to collaborate on extending cloud development deeper into enterprises.  We will design new systems to provide full lifecycle development capabilities for complex middleware using cloud integrated development environments (IDEs).

Codenvy will integrate directly with the new WSO2 Cloud platform as a service (PaaS) to enable development and deployment of advanced middleware applications, integrations and APIs in the cloud.  They will produce and publish a variety of enterprise cloud plug-ins for visual editors for WSO2 Enterprise Service Bus, data mapping, and business process management.

In addition we will create a special packaging for WSO2 App Factory, a complete cloud-enabled life cycle solution that blends pre-production workflows with production runtime environments.  When all of this is combined, enterprise developers will be able to instantly provision development projects, develop code and configuration, collaborate with other developers and QA teams, and deploy middleware applications—all directly in the cloud.

The collaboration has already begun, with previews planned for WSO2Con (October 28-31, 2013 in San Francisco) and first releases later this calendar year.  Developers can get an evaluation account on WSO2 StratosLive today, at stratoslive.wso2.com and can get a community subscription of Codenvy Developer immediately at www.codenvy.com.

– Selvaratnam “Shankar” Uthaiyashankar, WSO2 VP of Engineering