Tag Archives: Integration

Motorola Mobility: Using WSO2 Integration Platform to Increase Business Agility

Companies all over the globe are realizing the power of lean technology on the cloud and Motorola Mobility is one of them that’s taking action towards wielding this power. In February 2017, Sri Harsha Pulleti, an integration architect at Motorola Mobility and Richard Striedl, an advisory IT architect at Motorola Mobility, spoke at WSO2Con USA 2017 about their move to a hybrid cloud and container architecture with zero-touch automation.

A few years ago, on the day after thanksgiving, Motorola’s website crashed, resulting in the loss of many transactions from buyers who were flooding in to get their discounts. That’s when they started questioning how it happened, why it happened, and what they could do about it, explained Sri. All their web services were running through heavy-weight enterprise service buses (ESBs) in their data centers that didn’t have any other technical capability. They needed to move away from this to a lightweight platform in the cloud.

After evaluating many vendors they found WSO2 and its lightweight ESB – just what they had been looking for. Sri explained that they could quickly spin up instances of it and even set auto-healing and auto-scaling capabilities. WSO2 ESB (now extended as WSO2 Enterprise Integrator, which includes all the other key products and technologies from the WSO2 Integration Platform) also supports Amazon Web Services (AWS), which was their first option for cloud computing services. After choosing their vendor, Motorola began to make the necessary changes in their environment by re-architecting the system, setting up multiple ESBs and moving to a micro-platform architecture.

A year later, thanksgiving came along and this time everything went smoothly. “It was perfect, there were no issues and everything was absolutely fine”, explained Sri. However, a few months later, they realized that this was costly. Sri was given the challenge of finding something with the same capabilities as AWS, but at a lower cost. That’s when they started looking at OpenStack: an open source software for creating private and public clouds. It created an environment with similar capabilities to AWS and allowed them to set up their own data centers. After discussing further, they decided to run both environments (AWS and OpenStack) parallely and scale them up or down as needed.

This time, they decided to use containers, which allowed them to package their software into standardized units for development, shipment and deployment. But why? It’s lightweight, flexible and easy to scale. Sri then went on to discuss the importance of emphasizing collaboration and communication between developers as well as IT through DevOps: “It’s something everybody wants to achieve”. Instead of having just a DevOps team to achieve this, they made a zero touch automation DevOps platform. This homegrown application called Debug 360 built on open source products allows their developers to focus on developing the code and checking it into a repository while the end-to-end automation takes care of the rest. It now takes less than a week to complete any new development in an integration model.

Motorola now has WSO2 ESB on AWS and OpenStack, one without containers and one with. The next step will be to integrate these instances to achieve their ultimate goal of spinning up instances in both environments, Sri noted.

Motorola Mobility Advisory IT Architect Richard Striedl further explained the concept of cloud elasticity. He stated that they have learnt a lot especially in terms of enhancing DevOps while working with WSO2 the last few of years. The requirements for cloud elasticity included having the same DevOps procedures, cloud capabilities and application code and auto-scaling.

“We’re evaluating WSO2 API Manager,” said Richard while explaining their need for APIs to manage the environment, build the framework and have more control over it. At present, they have 35 applications with 90% of traffic going through OpenStack and 10% going through AWS. Richard concluded by exploring their future plans of dockerizing with data services and message brokering capabilities available in the new WSO2 Enterprise Integrator. “We might even take that step towards Ballerina as we all learned today,” he added.

To learn more about how Motorola Mobility is moving to the cloud through zero touch automation listen to Sri’s and Richard’s talk at WSO2Con USA 2017.

BLS: using WSO2 to make Switzerland’s railways work better

BLS is Switzerland’s second-largest railway company. It employs about 3000 people and runs both passenger transport trains in Switzerland and freight trains across the Alps. It owns or operates on seven major lines and also operates the standard gauge railway network of the S-Bahn Bern, which spans about 500 kilometers.

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The story starts in the 1990s, when the European Commission made railway infrastructure operators separate from train operating companies in order to create a more efficient railway network and more competition. Thus, a train operating company, such as BLS, has to now request a train path from an infrastructure operator and had to pay for this path.

In 2007, the main Swiss railway infrastructure operator had to replace its 25-year-old timetable planning system. The system had the interfaces to about 50 other systems from different railway companies. Unfortunately, there was a long delay – some ten years – and costs tripled.  But by 2015, the project was back on track, with BLS determined to finish it.

In an architectural sense, BLS realized that their product teams often may not build the best fit for a problem. There are many reasons for this – including a team being unfamiliar with the most optimal integration patterns, or a preference towards one particular middleware stack simply because they understand it better. BLS thus first devised a set of non-functional properties, relevant for describing integration problems. They then devised a decision matrix that returns a number of integration patterns for a given problem. Based on this, they devised a set of integration guidelines, including how the pattern should be implemented and what middleware was available for the purpose.

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They were then able to get on with the problem of integration. In the data flow structure below, BLS needed to introduce a mediation component, with traceability, routing, data validation, data transformation and protocol changes as its key functionality.

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For this they selected WSO2 Enterprise Service Bus; with it they were able to separate transaction data from master data. Transported by the interfaces between the train operating company and the infrastructure manager are train paths and data about the network, train paths, and junctions. Data was sent as a push with the transaction data; by using WSO2 Data Services Server, they implemented a data pull to store this data as a copy in the system.

This project commenced in 2013, when BLS started evaluating products for the task. By December 2014, BLS had four products on their list: after a cost-benefit evaluation, they were down to two by January 2015, and after a successful proof-of-concept build they had selected WSO2 by April 2015.

In their talk at WSO2Con EU 2015, the BLS executives described themselves as being satisfied with WSO2 on many fronts, both product release schedules and financial growth; the availability of partners in Switzerland; with the architecture and cost effectiveness of the product; and also, with the availability of the source code. Using WSO2’s Quick Start Program, they were able to rapidly prototype cost-effective solutions for their integration.

At WSO2, we’re proud to be a part of BLS’s success. Our open source products are used by enterprises around the world – ranging from companies like BLS to governments. If your organization has a need for world-class middleware, talk to us. We’ll be glad to help.

Capgemini, WSO2 and the new UN ecosystem

Ibrahim Khalili is a system integration analyst at Capgemini, a multinational that’s one of the world’s foremost providers of management consulting, technology and outsourcing. Headquartered in Paris, Capgemini has been running since 1967, and now makes over 11 billion EUR in revenue.

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Capgemini and WSO2 have a history of working together. One of Capgemini’s recent projects was for the United Nations – to build a new reference architecture for UN agencies to function across a connected technology platform. Khalili, speaking at WSO2Con Asia 2016 in Colombo, Sri Lanka, outlined the three major goals of the new platform.

Whatever they designed had to allow beneficiaries, donors, citizens and the UN’s increasingly mobile workforce to access the functionality and information of agencies regardless at “anywhere, anytime, on any device”; it had to handle information, people and devices in a much smarter and more cost-efficient way that the UN was doing already. It also had to break out the data and bring the UN’s agencies into the world of an API ecosystem.

To put this into finer context, we’re talking about a system that can handle assets, finances, information and humans across a diverse array of agencies – including the nitty gritty of fundraising, running initiatives, and reporting that are key to most UN operations. What they required was what Khalili calls a “platform enabled agency” – more or less a complete update to operational infrastructure, with APIs exposing services, information, and functionality across the board.

Their solution starts with an integration layer that connects to all legacy systems, providing a view of all the data that can be managed. On top of that goes the process layer, which contains the functionality, and on top an API layer exposing the platform’s services and data.

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Once the logical framework was done, Capgemini started filling it in. At the very bottom go IaaS services like VMWare. On top of that comes an ERP universe of sorts – functionality from SugarCRM, Talend, WSO2 Application Server, WSO2 Complex Event Processor, and others, connected by the WSO2 ESB. WSO2 Enterprise Mobility Manager, WSO2 API Manager, and WSO2 User Engagement Server face outwards, allowing this functionality to be used. WSO2 Identity Server wraps around the entire platform, handling ID and authentication.

 

That gives Capgemini – and the UN – not only a cleaner, layered architecture, but one that brings in better scalability as well as a Devops approach. But above all, the chief advantage, says Khalili, is that it’s also open source. With WSO2 products, Capgemini has complete freedom to customize, take apart or rebuild whatever’s required to make a better platform. There’s no stopping innovation.

Capgemini’s not the only one who can leverage our technology. All WSO2 products are free and open source.

Go to http://wso2.com/products/ to download and use any part of our middleware platform. For more information on Capgemini’s solution for the UN, watch Ibrahim Khalili’s full presentation at WSO2Con here.  

 

Zeomega: Building on WSO2 for a Comprehensive Healthcare Solution

The typical health management platform is a complex mechanism. This is, after all, an industry with zero tolerance for faults: even the slightest mistake could mean a life in danger.

Building healthcare solutions is what Zeomega specializes in. The Texas-based firm delivers integrated informatics and business process management solutions. Zeomega’s clients collectively service more than 30 million individuals across the United States.

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WSO2 is a part of their success: key to Zeomega is Jiva, Zeomega’s population health management platform. Delivering analytics, workflow, content and patient engagement capabilities, Jiva uses key WSO2 products and provides a deployable PHM infrastructure that both healthcare providers and clients can use. A strong track record of integration and acquisitions keep both Zeomega and Jiva on top of what they do.

Attending WSO2Con Asia 2016 to explain all of this were Praveen Doddamani and Harshavardhan Gadham Mohanraj, Technical Leads at Zeomega. Their speech, titled Building on WSO2 for a Comprehensive Healthcare Solution, detailed how Jiva works and why. Let’s dig in.

The State of the Art

Jiva has the capability to integrate with various data repositories and management systems. During the initial days of integration, they built an ETL tool and a framework – using Python – to integrate data into Jiva, generally in the form of a CSV. It could also export data.

As their customer base expanded, this integration challenge became even more integral; their requirements changed to needing to load millions of records. To pull this off, Zeomega used the pyramid framework to build a RESTful web service that would do the job. They ended up building a SOAP system as well to better interface with their clients, and using these three tools, they could address batch integrations effectively.

When it comes to a deployment, however, with multiple servers, having these multiple systems turned out to be a burden, especially when clients needed a single API to be able to manipulate data; multiple systems with different tech stacks became roadblocks to both support and development.

The Fix

“We don’t want to rewrite our existing logic; we want to leverage the existing business logic and provide a healthcare solution to external applications and well as third-party vendors,” said Harshavardhan Mohanraj, who was co-presenting with Doddamani.

At this point, they started evaluating WSO2 for a solution to this problem. WSO2 Enterprise Service Bus and WSO2 API Manager are built for this purpose. The WSO2 ESB would allow them to retain their legacy business platform and still connect whatever they needed to. WSO2 API Manager would handle the complete API management lifecycle, allowing them to push out secure APIs for their real-time web services.

To do this, said Mohanraj, they created a Jiva API framework. The core Jiva platform is exposed through RabbitMQ. Data is sent and received to this core platform through a module with the WSO2 ESB; this handles the integration, data transformation, turning flat files (CSV/XML)  or anything else into the JSON actually processed by Jiva.

image01This functionality is exposed via WSO2 API Manager, which enables Zeomega to publish, deploy and manage the necessary SOAP and REST APIs.

In the future, said Mohanraj, they intend to shift Jiva from a monolithic structure to a less tightly coupled SOA model, with reusable components and better standards support. And to do this, they intend to use WSO2 – not just WSO2 ESB and WSO2 API Manager, but also WSO2 Identity Server and WSO2 Governance Registry.

“WSO2 products provide us with high performance, high availability, and better configurability,” said Mohanraj. “We want SOA governance, DevOps and flexibility. As a whole, we’re able to achieve a robust solution by integrating WSO2 products. We’re now moving away from spending more of our efforts on business infrastructure and we’re able to speed up agility by creating healthcare solutions.”

To learn more about Jiva and the WSO2 collaboration, watch the Zeomega talk at WSO2Con Asia 2016 here.

 

Transform Your Enterprise IT: Integrate and Automate

Most enterprises deal with a variety of common IT problems to which they would find quick fixes. One such example is the need to maintain five different usernames and passwords to login to five different systems. Another typical example is the closing of a sales deal – the sales department would conclude the deal and ensure the goods are delivered; this would be updated on the sales records, however, when the finance department reconciles invoices against sales at the end of the quarter, there might be mismatches because the invoicing process was missed.

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To address these issues, most enterprises will use a combination of basic IT and collaboration software to manage day-to-day requirements. And over time, these requirements will change, prompting a slight shift in the enterprise’s IT landscape too. This may result in a situation where different teams within the organization will find the most efficient ways to carry out tasks and meet their IT requirements with the use of packaged software, possibly by building their own, or even subscribing to more SaaS-type offerings.

While this might temporarily fix specific problems, it will pose long-term challenges as such measures are often not pre-planned or do not follow a particular IT roadmap. The actual negative effects of individual teams working in silos would only be felt when the company starts to grow and the use of various systems increase as well. Eventually, the use of several systems that don’t talk to each other will cause operational issues and even hurt motivation among employees.

The recurrent problems with these multiple systems working in silos include extensive manual effort, errors, blame, rework, frustration, complaints, and the need to manage multiple passwords. These in turn result in inefficiencies.

To address these challenges, the enterprise needs an easy-to-implement, cost-effective solution. There’s no guarantee though that there would be a plug and play type of system or one that could be customized to meet the enterprise’s exact requirements. The enterprise would seek a unique, bespoke solution that would either mean they change the way they work with existing software or rethink the software itself.

The most viable option would be to integrate the systems (which, of course, have proven to be efficient to meet a specific requirement) used by different functions and then explore some sort of automation that will provide relief to employees.

WSO2’s highly-acclaimed open-source middleware platform has the capabilities that enable seamless integration of IT applications, thus streamlining day-to-day business activities of a given enterprise. This in turn will boost efficiency and integration across business functions and teams and improve overall productivity as well.

For instance, WSO2 Identity Server (WSO2 IS) can define an identification for a user in a particular organization, enabling him/her to log into multiple systems on-cloud or on-premise with a single username/password.

The enterprise too will benefit as WSO2 IS offers provisioning capabilities that allow your IT to register and auto-provision new employees across multiple systems as well as easily de-provision them when they leave the organization.

WSO2 Enterprise Service Bus can meet all your integration challenges with its capability to connect various systems that speak different languages. It also comes with a defined set of connectors to further support integration of systems, be it on the cloud or on-premise.

Once all of your systems have been integrated, you can leverage WSO2 Data Analytics Server (WSO2 DAS) to pull reports from different functions within your organization and automatically collate data that will translate to valuable information required to make business decisions. WSO2 DAS has in-built dashboard capabilities that will automatically create and publish dashboards on a real-time basis.

Moreover, all WSO2’s products are 100% open source, which gives enterprises the freedom of choice and empowers the business with limitless possibilities to expand.

Learn more about WSO2’s comprehensive and open platform for your connected enterprise.

For more details on how to establish friendly enterprise IT and get more love from your team, watch this talk by WSO2’s VP Operations, Shevan Goonetilleke.