Oracle WebLogic Suite: A Middleware Foundation for Application Grid

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Oracle WebLogic Suite:
A Middleware Foundation for
Application Grid

An Oracle Business White Paper
December 2008
Oracle WebLogic Suite: A Middleware Foundation for Application Grid Page 2
Oracle WebLogic Suite:
A Middleware Foundation for Application Grid
INTRODUCTION
Organizations are adopting application servers and other types of middleware
technology for a variety of reasons. Some companies depend on middleware
infrastructure to build more flexible and agile businesses. Others rely on this
foundational technology to deploy IT capacity more efficiently. Still others see the
need to expand or contract their information systems in a cost effective way. All of
these organizations have come to a common realization: as information systems
become more critical to business operations, middleware becomes progressively
more important.
Middleware is enterprise software connecting custom or packaged enterprise
applications to databases and storage software. It’s the essential production
runtime environment for enterprise applications and services. Middleware
facilitates many common functions such that software developers can write just
the key differentiating business logic for their applications and not have to write
repetitive connection, security and integration elements. Within the context of
today’s service oriented architecture (SOA) model, middleware consists of a set of
enabling services that allow multiple processes running on one or more machines
to interact—within a grid, throughout a data center, or across a network.
Middleware technology has evolved in tandem with the computer industry’s move
to distributed software and complex, component based applications. Today
middleware is a broad category of software that includes application servers,
transaction monitors, collaboration software and management tools for controlling
mid-tier resources.
Oracle WebLogic Suite packages many essential middleware capabilities to help
organizations achieve application grid concepts. It combines mature products from
the Oracle Fusion Middleware family to help companies achieve scalable
application server workloads, extreme transactions, guaranteed SLA compliance,
and dynamic management of the application software and infrastructure software,
all on low cost commodity hardware. The technical components of the suite are as
follows
 Oracle WebLogic Server Enterprise Edition
 Oracle Application Server Enterprise Edition
 Oracle Coherence Enterprise Edition
Oracle WebLogic Suite: A Middleware Foundation for Application Grid Page 3
 Oracle WebLogic Operations Control
 Oracle WebLogic Real Time (JRockit Real Time)
Together, these products create an infrastructure layer beneath the application
layer that pools and dynamically provisions the resources on which business
applications run. They support the definition, deployment, and management of
multi-node applications by decoupling middleware software from the underlying
hardware infrastructure. Modern application servers need key supporting elements
in the area of management, runtime predictability, and linear scale. Oracle
WebLogic Suite packages the essential capabilities to help businesses realize the
benefits of application grid.
NEW LEVELS OF EFFICIENCY, FLEXIBILITY, AND PERFORMANCE
Grid computing implies the virtualization of IT resources—such as compute
power, storage and network capacity—into a cohesive pool of shared services that
can be provisioned, distributed and re-distributed as needed. Because multiple
virtual machines can reside in one physical box, these environments enable huge
economies of scale. There are obvious power savings and the physical location of
each server becomes irrelevant. It doesn’t matter where computing assets are
physically located. Everything is self-contained in the definition of a virtual
machine and can be moved around at will.
Application grid brings the same type of efficiency, scalability and quality of service
to the application layer that database clusters brings to the database layer. It
enables system administrators to pool and allocate the runtime infrastructure that
supports enterprise applications, such as Java application servers and transaction
processing systems. The goal is to enable application server instances to work
together to make better use of physical resources. In contrast to the traditional
monolithic architecture, this new approach enables multiple application servers to
pool and share the underlying compute resources, dynamically reallocating these
resources across the applications being served as needs evolve. Application grid
enables application servers to work together to provide a shared, dynamically
allocated pool of resources for a given set of applications.
Many IT departments are already pooling and sharing resources at the hardware
layer, with help from virtualization software like Oracle VM. Application grids
apply many of these same concepts to middleware. Oracle WebLogic Suite
automates and simplifies the process. It brings together several foundational
middleware elements in a cohesive fashion: application servers and Java EE logic,
transaction processing monitors supporting C/C++ and COBOL, and grid
management tools.
At the heart of the suite are two choices for application servers: Oracle WebLogic
Server and Oracle Application Server.
An application server platform is infrastructure software for building Web and
composite applications and, increasingly, applications based on SOA design
principles. It integrates an application server (which manages user requests), data

“ . . . Oracle WebLogic Server has exceeded
our expectations. It’s a tangible example of
the transformative influence of service-
oriented architecture.”
- John Turato,
Vice President of Technology,
Avis Budget Group, Inc.
Oracle WebLogic Suite: A Middleware Foundation for Application Grid Page 4
access, and business logic, with portal servers and integration/business process
management (BPM) servers.
Middleware assets embodied in today’s application server platforms automate the
process of sending messages, handling socket reads and tapping into message
queues—activities that become progressively more critical as SOA gains
momentum, and applications are progressively composed of loosely connected
modules or components. Forrester research called application server platforms
“the most important category of application platform software for most
enterprises.”
1

Application servers create middle tier services that make it easier for both custom
and packaged applications to utilize a common user interface on the front end and
a common set of database calls on the back-end. Oracle WebLogic Suite brings
together two industry-leading Java-based application servers—Oracle WebLogic
Server Enterprise Edition and Oracle Application Server Enterprise Edition—
along with other products in the Oracle Fusion Middleware family. For example,
Oracle Coherence—a key component of the Suite—increases application
performance by providing fast, distributed access to frequently used data. This
software enables applications to scale linearly and dynamically, making it easier for
IT managers to predict costs and optimize resource utilization. This unique
software product enables organizations to handle escalating application loads
without data loss or service interruptions.
BUSINESS DRIVERS: EFFICIENCY AND COST
While many companies have a vision for SOA, the reality of their IT infrastructure
is much different. The traditional approach to deploying software is to allocate one
distinct server to each application. While this may appear to be the easiest
approach, it is often the most wasteful. Each of these applications must be able to
accommodate growing loads and periods of peak capacity, such as when order
entry activity picks up during busy shopping periods or when financial software is
run to close the books at the end of a billing period. As a result, each application
typically has much more capacity than it needs and each data center has more
servers and storage devices than it needs. Most servers are used at about 10
percent of capacity on a daily basis.
Running an efficient data center begins with maximizing resource utilization and
lowering energy consumption requirements. This is important not only for
environmental reasons, but from a practical standpoint: according to a report by
the Green Grid, a global consortium dedicated to advancing energy efficiency in
data centers, many data center facilities run out of available power before they run
out of floor space.
2




1
The Forrester Wave: Application Server Platforms, Q3 2007 July 11, 2007.
2
Guidelines for Energy Efficient Data Centers, 2007.
Oracle WebLogic Suite: A Middleware Foundation for Application Grid Page 5
Oracle Web Logic Server works with Oracle Coherence Enterprise Edition to
efficiently accommodate an increasing workload and it utilizes Oracle Web Logic
Operations Control to distribute application resources among the available nodes.
Not only are these application grid strategies important from a cost standpoint.
They also represent a more responsible way to conduct business. Conscientious
data center managers realize that their decisions have a direct impact on the
environment. Carbon dioxide emissions have increased 20 percent since 1990,
according to the Environmental Protection Agency’s Fourth U.S. Climate
Action Report.
Of course, adopting environmentally friendly IT policies not only benefits the
environment. It improves the bottom line. For example, deploying application grid
technology has a huge impact on efficiency by enabling an organization to use its
servers more judiciously. By running multiple applications on the same server,
average capacity can be increased to 50 percent or higher, with no loss in
throughput or reliability. This results in fewer servers used, with the consequential
benefits of less floor space needed, less transportation and recycling of those
servers, and less manufacturing energy expended.
COMPONENTS OF ORACLE WEBLOGIC SUITE
Oracle WebLogic Server
Oracle WebLogic Server brings consistency to how developers integrate their core
business applications, eliminating the concern of how many connections they have
to make or how they retrieve information. Oracle WebLogic Server also adds
distributed in-memory caching to the Java applications infrastructure for fast and
comprehensive data access, predictable performance, and complete grid
management capabilities.
Oracle WebLogic Server is the application server of choice when applications and
services need mature diagnostic capabilities. With support for clustering, cross-
domain management and diagnostic tooling, it is ideal for building and running
most enterprise applications and services. Oracle WebLogic Server implements the
latest Java EE standards and offers choices for development frameworks: either
Oracle JDeveloper, which spans the Oracle Fusion Middleware family, or Eclipse-
based tooling with Oracle Workshop for WebLogic. Deep diagnostics and memory
leak detection help prevent application disruption by identifying the root cause of
issues including performance bottlenecks, poor memory utilization and other
configuration anomalies.

Suite Technology Lineup

Oracle WebLogic Server is the industry
leading application server in performance
and market share.
Oracle Application Server is a
comprehensive solution for developing,
integrating, and deploying applications,
portals, and Web sites.
Oracle Coherence in-memory data grid
allows an application running on one
machine to use the memory of many
machines as if all that memory were local.
Oracle JRockit is the industry’s fastest Java
Virtual Machine. Unlike other JVMs, JRockit
works with standard Java on a standard
operating system.
Oracle WebLogic Operations Control
provides a “single pane of glass” with an
application grid-oriented set of views to
control meta-level administration.


Oracle WebLogic Suite: A Middleware Foundation for Application Grid Page 6
Fusion Middleware Application Grid
Comprehensive, hot-pluggable, pre-integrated
Oracle WebLogic Suite: A Middleware Foundation for Application Grid Page 7
Server and Oracle Application Server, Oracle Enterprise Manager 10g Diagnostics
Pack dramatically reduces time spent solving application problems.
Oracle Coherence
Data grid software is middleware that manages data objects in memory across
many servers. Oracle Coherence is an in-memory data grid solution that enables
organizations to predictably scale mission-critical applications by providing fast
access to frequently used data. By automatically and dynamically partitioning data,
Oracle Coherence ensures continuous data availability and transactional integrity,
even in the event of a server failure. It provides organizations with a robust scale-
out data abstraction layer that brokers the supply and demand of data between
applications and data sources. This mature in-memory functionality can be scaled
to support the most demanding applications with minimal set-up and
management.

Coherence allows an application running on one machine to use the memory of many machines as if all
that memory were local.
Coherence is also referred to as a “distributed cache” since it allows an application
running on one machine to use the memory of many machines as one large pool.
Allowing more data to be placed in memory—eliminating time-consuming disk
fetches—significantly speeds up many applications. Performance is further
enhanced because operations against the data can often be performed by multiple
nodes of the grid in parallel. The in-memory data grid also significantly improves
reliability because data is replicated across two or more nodes, eliminating single
points of failure. Coherence allows applications to scale at a consistent incremental
cost from tens of nodes to thousands of nodes. As one of the workhorses of
Oracle Application Grid, Coherence enables true dynamic scaling—the ability to
add or remove capacity in small increments with no pause in operation or risk of
data loss.

Oracle WebLogic Suite: A Middleware Foundation for Application Grid Page 8
Coherence Use Cases
A wide variety of ways to enhance any application
Caching
Applications request data from the data grid rather thanbackend data sources
Analytics
Applications ask the data grid questions from simplequeries to advanced scenario modeling
Transactions
Data grid acts as a transactional system of record,hosting data and business logic
Events
Automated processing based on event


Nerve Center: Coherence continually balances resource requirements against application demands.
Oracle WebLogic Operations Control
Automated management is a fundamental principle of Application Grid. Sharing,
control, and visibility must be simple and automated. Operators must be able to
see across all the applications and demands being placed on the grid and make
intelligent decisions about what resources to put where at any given time. As the
Application Grid controller, Oracle WebLogic Operations Control continually
analyzes application demands and resource capacity to determine the correct
allocation of resources. Operations Control helps system administrators uphold
SLAs by optimizing resource use across multiple applications and orchestrating
dynamic resource management for the entire application grid. Through a
management framework that captures desired runtime application SLAs, it
monitors runtime environments and automates the dynamic configuration and
deployment of application instances onto available resources. Operations Control
draws upon the available hardware resources of the grid to ensure service-level
objectives are met.
These are essential capabilities, particularly for organizations that adopt application
grid to protect against performance degradation or eliminate service disruptions
during peak demand periods.

Oracle WebLogic Suite: A Middleware Foundation for Application Grid Page 9
WebLogic Operations Control
Intelligent synthesis for cross-grid optimization
Oracle WebLogic Suite: A Middleware Foundation for Application Grid Page 10
Oracle WebLogic Suite: A Middleware Foundation for Application Grid Page 11

CASE STUDY: AVIS

To help ensure a positive and consistent customer experience and keep loyal
renters coming back time and again, Avis Budget’s technology team implemented a
new SOA infrastructure in 2004 to support all customer contact channels—
including call centers, airport rental counters, standalone facilities, and the internet.
The infrastructure, known as One Merged Enterprise & Global Architecture
(OMEGA), is a service-oriented architecture (SOA) built on Oracle WebLogic
Server. Today, the OMEGA foundation enables Avis to seamlessly process more
than 60,000 transactions daily.
Among the first business processes that Avis addressed was the rental return
process. Avis Budget Car Rental Group wanted to help provide renters with the
documents they need for completing their expense reports without having to
worry about losing printed slips of paper. Using Oracle WebLogic Server,
developers created E-Receipts, which has been described by company officials as
“a tangible example of the transformative influence of SOA.”
Avis is particularly pleased with the operational cost savings that SOA is delivering.
When an organization deploys new applications in non-mainframe environments,
SOA helps bring the applications to market quickly that are easier to manage and
modify. For example, drivers who need cars while their personal cars are being
repaired can often have their insurance companies pay for a rental. Avis Budget
Group, Inc. uses the notification service to communicate with insurance carriers
and drivers about payment authorization.
For example, drivers who need rental cars while their personal cars are being
repaired can often have their insurance companies pay for the rental cars. Avis
Budget Group, Inc. uses the notification service to communicate with insurance
carriers and drivers about payment authorization. Avis is in the process of
expanding its SOA capabilities by leveraging the principles of application grid.




Company Overview

Avis and Budget brands is the largest
general-use vehicle rental company in North
America, Australia, New Zealand, and other
regions
Industry: Travel & Transportation
Employees: 30,000
Revenue: US$6 billion
Challenge

Ensure a positive and consistent customer
experience that encourages loyal renters
Deploy SOA infrastructure to support all
customer contact channels, including call
centers, airport rental counters, standalone
facilities, and the internet
Solution

Oracle WebLogic Server
Results

Created a paperless process for rental
returns
Accelerated time to market
Increased flexibility and responsiveness
Enabled Avis to expand its marketing
initiatives
Gained the ability to easily process more
than 60,000 transactions per day
Oracle WebLogic Suite: A Middleware Foundation for Application Grid Page 12
CONCLUSION: GREATER THAN THE SUM OF ITS PARTS
Today’s IT systems must be carefully aligned with business strategy to enable
managers to respond effectively to constant change. The business may grow in
some areas and shrink in others and IT must react quickly to accommodate
these contractions and expansions. Oracle helps IT managers achieve efficiency
and performance by adopting a middleware infrastructure software strategy called
Oracle Application Grid. Oracle WebLogic Suite helps them develop, deploy and
maintain the foundational middleware for application grid infrastructure in a
cohesive, cost effective way.
Individually, each product in Oracle WebLogic Suite offers powerful capabilities.
Together, these products simplify the design, implementation and maintenance of
application grid installations, with minimal integration, fewer licenses, faster ramp
up and lower total cost of ownership. Using the Suite as a starting point,
organizations can adopt application grid principles with less custom software and
minimal reliance on outside consultants or professional services teams.
Customers deploy Oracle WebLogic Suite for many of the same reasons that they
are attracted to the application grid, such as the ability to align IT more closely
with business needs, to expand and contract applications dynamically, to enable
automated monitoring and management, and to enable in-memory data caching.
Other vendors offer individual capabilities that customers must integrate. With
Oracle WebLogic Suite they obtain all of the essential functionality, pre-integrated,
right out of the box.
Suite Differentiators

 Complete framework for
deploying applications
 Pro-active management to
prevent system failure
 Self-tuning with state of the art
diagnostic tools
 No need for complex system
management products
 High performing JVM with
application profiling and
management
 Inherent scalability without
complex set up
 Strong developer support for
Java and .Net
 Powerful security safeguards
against outside attacks
 Mainframe class transaction
processing monitor


Oracle WebLogic Suite: A Middleware Foundation for Application Grid
December 2008
Author: David Baum
Oracle Corporation
World Headquarters
500 Oracle Parkway
Redwood Shores, CA 94065
U.S.A.
Worldwide Inquiries:
Phone: +1.650.506.7000
Fax: +1.650.506.7200
www.oracle.com
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