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Monday, March 23, 2009

SOA Repository again - now Mulesource Galaxy

Like mostly all architects, in the current economic conditions, my budget was severely cut.
So for our SOA initiative, we had to look at open source tools for SOA repository.
After looking at some of it last year, we selected Mule Galaxy for doing our first draft of SOA repository. As of today, we are quite happy with it, since mainly nobody used it ;)
The economic downturn is pushing back projects to do their stuff without big-upfront planning, while the business is in panic.
Recently, Forrester published a article on on SOA Life-Cycle Management, Q1 2008. Mule Galaxy was not part of this analysis. Nevertheless somebody did follow the same criteria and provided to the community its own analysis of Mule Galaxy on ITToolbox. One more thing, if you are using Mule ESB, Mule Galaxy usage is also recommended.
So for me Software AG Centrasite (new version) is the best tool I found that meets all MY needs, and Mule Galaxy is the best one (covering most of my needs) I can afford to have.

Dream or Do your best with what you have.

Friday, March 20, 2009

Centrasite new SOA Repository from Software AG

Today I saw a demo of the new version of the SOA repository from Software AG (called Active SOA). I was very impressed, because they corrected mainly all the flaws we pushed last year to them.
You can now create real workflows, manage policies in a very intelligent way, and the interface is simple, quick and beautiful (AJAX based).
They were able to take the best from Infravio, WebMethods and Centrasite (old generation). GA release is foreseen in June ... I hope to be able to test it soon.

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Search Engines Comparison

I made a comment to the article posted here showing the results of a search engine analysis.
The article is in French, but I would like to give my opinion on the subject.
- Autonomy and IBM are very complex platform to install and configure. They are expensive and composed of lots of modules.
- Exalead was our choice, since it is not expensive, easy to install and use and very powerful. Nevertheless it lacks a good API and a good consulting support worldwide. But they have a public search engine that is able to index the web. I also like its GUI (web or desktop).
- Endecca that the one that impressed me the most on the paper (the answer received to the RFP). I never had a chance to test it :(
- Sinequa is a very good tool, but should be used with a search engine, since its main objectives is to provide less results but more accurate than a normal search engine.
This study was done a year ago ... So results may have been altered since then.

Friday, March 13, 2009

IT Should value its assets!

Hi all

I do share with Pierre Bonnet the fact that IT should value its asset inside each company financial reports. The question is then what assets can be considered as financially valuable and part of offical financial reporting document?

At least master data (client list, product lists), some technical know how proven to be bringing value to the company (an e-commerce platform for example, a specific packaging) and some business processes know-how and flexibility bringing value to the business (logistic, HR, etc.).

Of course today, nothing exist yet and is recognized by any state in the world. This should be our battle.

You can read one of recent articles on this subject published by Pierre Bonnet in infoq.com (« We need to create information system ratings ») or in Les Echos (« Pour une d√©fiscalisation informatique »).

If you leave in France, I also recommend you to participate to the following meeting (free attendance but limited number of persons allowed!): "Sustainable IT Architecture Conference 2009"

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Casewise French User Group

Some great news today at the French Casewise user forum.
  1. V-Modeler is now offering to model directly in Visio but the spencils and metamodel based on Casewise repository! Great for all architect. You can also store your model locally using visio format. Works with Visio 2003 and more. 5 licenses are "offered" (instead of 230 euros per license, but you still need to pay the 17% support). Clearly, using Visio could also be danger since people may think they can do what they want. So, you should not forget to provide the modeling methology and training guide. The only limitations I found is that it is only working on a LAN (client-server mode). For WAN users (poor me) you need to use webmodeler.
  2. A new API created from Casewise Consulting France let us now access more easily the metamodel and play with it. The software I was dreaming of is now available: impact analysis tool. You can select your path if several exists and you can browse and browse and browse. Great.
  3. The best hidden secret from Casewise: All standards and regulations you can imagine (mainly around GRC) where grouped in one "big" model and linked when possible between them. So Incident Mgt from ITIL is linked to the right Process from COBIT 3. You can use it has a standard browser tool (for training) or you can use it to build and derive your models.
  4. We've seen a presentation of one user using Casewise API to publish all data in a CRM tool (Jahia). Result was pretty impressive.
Casewise is really listening to their users and providing more or less everything we can dream of. What is still missing is a way to offer nativelly collaboration features to share more than just a model.
Discussing with one person from INRIA evaluating EA tools, I have to recognize that all EA tool I know do not work on an object oriented model. So impossible to use inheritance between object type. Why? May be in the furure major release of Casewise corporate modeler supporting fully UML 2.1 I will be surprised ... May be not.

Monday, March 9, 2009

Enterprise Architecture Tool - On the road to democratisation

Two new offers made recently by Microsoft and Casewise let me think that the tool vendors have finally understood some Architects needs. In particular, democratizing access to data using current "office tools" and enabling collaboration and approval workflow.

1. Microsoft EATK
Recently, Microsoft introduced a new toolkit in order to help companies structure their enterprise architecture. Mike Walker discussed this new software application in a blog post.

Capabilities will include:
  • Repository - Meta-data repository for uniting enterprise processes, storing existing architecture assets and a catalog for patterns
  • Architecture Management - Portal and Workflow assets that aid in the processes and govern architecture creation through the SDLC or through post production service management processes.
  • Strategy Management - Portal and Workflow that aid in the creation of as-is or current state architecture, to-be or future state architectures and the management of technology life cycles of architectures.
  • Community - Portal technologies that aid in the communication and collaboration, vetting of ideals through-out the enterprise, communication of Principles, Policies, Standards and Design Patterns, Add-Ins and Templates for architecture development.
  • Modeling - Usage scenarios for how to leverage Microsoft Visio to correlate architecture information from the Architecture Meta-Data Repository to Visio diagrams and shapes.
Of course you will need to have already some Microsoft Tools in place:
  • Microsoft SharePoint 2007 – Architecture Portal
  • Hosted Windows Workflow Foundation
  • Microsoft Office 2007 – Templates and Add-Ins
  • Word
  • PowerPoint
  • Visio
  • Web Services – Architecture Message Bus
  • SQL Server – Architecture Meta-Data Repository
EATK was created based on the following high level requirements:
  • Describing an Architecture with Current Tools
  • Building a Collaborative Solution Architecture Design
  • Extend Architecture Meta-Data into the Visio Modeling Environment
  • Deriving to an Architecture with a series of Architecture Decisions
  • Architecture Management
  • Understanding Architecture Policy
  • Managing an Architecture Life Cycle
  • Navigate and Explore Approved IT Patterns
  • Navigate and Explore Existing IT Architectures
  • Obtaining the information for IT Strategy Management
  • Determining the Total Cost of Ownership of an Architecture
  • Manage and publishing of Principles, Policies and Standards

This solution will not be officially supported from Microsoft, but we can assume that once released the dotnet community will contribute a lot to its growth. You can read this article to know more.

2. Casewise Corporate Modeler
Same approach for Casewise enabling access to Enterprise Architecture information from Visio (called V-Modeler, see press release) and also from the web using WebModeler (Silverlight graphical user interface of their Corporate Modeler tool with less functionalities; see press release).

What is key in their proposal is that Casewise WebModeler, is an on line, on-demand modeling and diagramming tool. As the first of a new generation of Rich Internet Applications, the Casewise WebModeler runs on both a Windows Server and IIS (Internet Information Server) environment, and works across any browser with a Microsoft Silverlight plug-in.

Casewise now just needs to connect their tool to MOSS 2007 to offer collaboration tools and create an Open API to access the repository in REST and SOAP from the web.

Friday, March 6, 2009

open souce CEP for Java and Dotnet

I was looking for an open source solution for Complex Event Processing. I finally found ESPER.
Seems great ...

Thursday, March 5, 2009

Alternatives to Microsoft Sharepoint

I was looking for free/low cost alternatives to Microsoft sharepoint. I found those tools:
Did you have any experience with these tools?