Financial Services: Core SOA

At Accredited Home Lenders, TeamSOA is responsible for implementation and exposure of core business objects and processes. Web Services based on the Mortgage Industry Standards Maintenance Organization (MISMO) schema are being developed using best-of-breed tooling. After a detailed evaluation of several solutions, including Microsoft SQLXML, and Informatica PowerCenter, we decided to use BEA's Liquid Data product for handling XQUERY transformations between the databases and target schema. TeamSOA is also working on building several BEA Portlet applications that will consume SST Web Services, via a Web Services broker. BEA WebLogic Integration (WLI) workflows are being created to link various business processes exposed as Web Services.

Web Services Management

After receiving series A funding from Draper Fisher Jurvetson in January 2001, the team began development of our third product offering, Network Director. Network Director solved SOA challenges around configuration management, which are an expected side effect of loosely coupled environments. We adopted a highly distributed, and scalable approach based on fundamental SOA principles: open standards, simple protocols, no single point of failure, lightweight endpoints, allowing the Network to handle security, monitoring, policy, rather than the application developer.
All features of the SOA are exposed as Web Services (Manager Fabric). Essentially, Web Service requests, with an optional WS-Security header, are distributed across a farm of Web Service Brokers, which determine if the user has access to the service. After validating the user for a specific Web Service, the Broker proxies the request to an endpoint, using the configured routing algorithm, keeping track of response times, creating events for endpoint down, or faults, and monitoring and enforcing service level agreements (SLAs), usage limits, and policy.

As Manager Fabric Services are called, they retrieve, and update network configuration management parameters stored in a highly available database. The software was built to work with several enterprise class databases, including Oracle, Microsoft SQL Server, IBM DB2, and MySQL.

The beauty of the architecture is that all Web Service requests, even those that are needed to configure and maintain the Network, are handled by the same mechanism. Extending or replacing the Manager Fabric functionality is a matter of adding additional Web Services, which can be built using any toolkit that supports the creation of doc-style, SOAP over HTTP Web Services. The Manager Client GUI, or any client (Client App) with proper credentials, is able to call the Manager Fabric to modify the configuration parameters of the Network.

Web Services Orchestration

Our development team's knowledge of Service Oriented Architecture began in 1999 with the creation of VelociGenX, which later won the prestigious California CONNECT's "Most Innovative New Product" award in 2001. VelociGenX leveraged the latest Web Services standards, facilitating the creation of doc-literal, WS-I2 compliant, WSDL defined Web Services, accessible from any client supporting SOAP over HTTP. The software was designed to "wrap it, link it, run it", or more precisely, wrap existing applications and data-sources with XML interfaces, link them together into a processing pipeline using XSL transformations and basic flow operations: branching, looping, conditionals, and run them on our VelociGen application server.


LEADING THE SOA INITIATIVE
We adopt a highly distributed, and scalable approach based on fundamental SOA principles: open standards, simple protocols, no single point of failure, lightweight endpoints, allowing the Network to handle security, monitoring, policy, rather than the application developer.