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WSO2Con 2011: WSO2 in Action - Dmitry Lukyanov

  • By WSO2Con 2011
  • 2 Nov, 2011

New T24 System Motivates Move to SOA

For years, Alfa-Bank Ukraine maintained a standard client/server architecture. “We still have a lot of functionality that is locked in the databases,” Mr. Lukyanov said. Consequently, the bank had relied on database-to-database connections, direct SQL calls, and file exchanges between servers or between external systems and its banking systems.

Then a couple years ago the bank purchased the high-performance Temenos T24 banking system. The T24 did not support remote procedure calls or direct SQL calls to the relational databases. Instead, it used a specific OFS protocol. Client/server was no longer a viable alternative.

“It was a new application in the old world, our world,” Mr. Lukyanov recalled. “At this moment we decided to build, to start a service-oriented architecture development in the bank.”

Alfa-Bank Ukraine had other goals as well for the SOA implementation as well. It wanted to make integration fast and simple to address business changes that can occur on a daily basis. Additionally, it wanted to enable online banking.

Weighing Open Source Middleware Options

The bank would not accept the high price tags of proprietary middleware products, so Mr. Lukyanov and his team evaluated open source enterprise service bus (ESB) options: OpenESB, JBoss ESB, Mule ESB, and WSO2 ESB. Alfa-Bank also evaluated the Data Services functionality in the WSO2 Application Server (formerly named Web Services Application Server).

For each product, Alfa-Bank development team took a week to download the product, install it, and write a specific Web service to work with one of its core systems, Mr. Lukyanov said. The team also checked the administrative part of each product to ensure that it was clear, simple, and addressing the bank’s security requirements. Additionally, the developers checked whether the forums were "alive," by asking questions and seeing how much activity there was in the community providing answers.

“WSO2 was the winner by default because we got the first service in half an hour,” Mr. Lukyanov recalled. It was a data service, and the other three open source products didn’t provide the ability to create a service from a database using a simple configuration. In the other products, there was a lot of development, he added.

Putting WSO2 to Work

Alfa-Bank first put the WSO2 Data Services functionality into production two years ago. The team started with a small development in which the T24 OFS protocol was exposed as a Web service, Mr. Lukyanov explained. People don’t have to know OFS or SQL-specific mechanisms; they can create a simple XML call, he noted.

Then nearly a year ago the bank added WSO2 ESB to make composite Web services, create proxy services for non-standard protocols, and publish services for partners over the Internet, Mr. Lukyanov said. Transactions from online banking, Web money, mobile devices, payment terminals, and the call center all go through WSO2 ESB to reach Alfa-Bank’s back-end systems.

In reviewing statistics for data services enabled by WSO2 middleware, Mr. Lukyanov said, “We are really happy to see that with such simple configurations we can process up to 1 million requests a day.”

Support Strategy

Currently Alfa-Bank handles any technical issues internally or through the WSO2 open source community.

“The first we thing we do is ask the community at the forum; it is really beautiful,” Mr. Lukyanov said. Where the issue is a product bug, the team reports it to the WSO2 issue tracker, and if an issue is critical, the bank’s developers fix it themselves, since they have the source code.

However, Mr. Lukyanov hopes to engage WSO2 support services in the coming year. “We need to spend less time on coding and have a better time of response,” he explained. Equally important, he said, “We want to spend more time on the business questions here.”

At the same time, Mr. Lukyanov noted that, while the bank has had problems with other systems, the WSO2 middleware is in “real production…and working very well.”

To learn more about Alfa-Bank’s use of WSO2 middleware for its banking systems integration, view Mr. Lukyanov’s full presentation here.

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  • WSO2Con 2011
  • Sri Lanka