Business-Driven Architect

Brenda Michelson

@ Tibco TUCON: Orient Overseas Container Line (OOCL) Track & Trace for Automatic Adaption

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Matt Rosen, Director of Application Development, OOCL, opens with some company background. OOCL is a container shipping company.  Of the 6000 employees at OOCL, 1000 are IT!  Known as IT leader in shipping.  OOCL has been a Tibco customer since 2006.

Rosen is walking us through the Container Shipment Lifecycle.  OOCL tracks milestones throughout the lifecycle.  Associates rules with those milestones to articulate when milestones (and therefore events) are relevant, or when milestones (and therefore events) are unimportant.

In addition to milestones, events and rules, other key OOCL constructs are activities and business scorecards.  Bringing the concepts together, OOCL has activity plan.  Milestone Plan + Activity Definition.  Monitor milestones reached, and absence of milestone. 

This provides shipment and tracking framework.  Types of events: domain state change, milestone reached, timed events (milestone not reached).

Milestones being reached, or not, trigger activities.  Activities are simple interactions or complex.  Simple interactions are one system, or a human activity (via an operations dashboard).  Complex interactions involve multiple systems, might require compensating transactions, coordination etc.  OOCL uses Oracle tool to orchestrate complex activities.  [I think he said Oracle BPEL].

The scorecard is under development.  The scorecard can be a real-time display or a rule.  A scorecard rule can then trigger downstream activities.

Scaling math: 8k shipments, 100 average shipment lifecycle days, 2 containers per shipment, 64 milestones per container = 54 million active milestones.

First attempt at this solution was homegrown.  All development was in J2EE, complexity of event sequencing [so true], developed in 8 months.  Why replace?  A change in a rule required an engineering release.

Second attempt was in Oracle BPEL.  Did a pilot with 3 of the milestones.  Ran in parallel.  Trouble with BPEL was exception handling.  Not really predictable processes.  Plus, scale issue.  Hardware costs beyond pilot would be too high.

Third attempt is Tibco BusinessEvents.  Initial POC up in 3 weeks.  Production version up in 2 months.  Deployment, reliability, performance tuning completed over 4 months with assistance from Tibco Quantum Leap team.

Benefits of BusinessEvents approach:

- Increased agility, new milestones added without technical release, elegance of declarative programming model

- Scalability and performance of solution

- [something else]

Tibco provided a lot of assistance in this effort.  OOCL was early adopter of a caching technology. 

Rosen has a physical deployment diagram up now.  Load balancing.  Sun boxes.  OOCL is using SL RTView and OCM for production monitoring. 

Benefits are IT efficiencies, business operations efficiency, automation vs. manual process, customer convenience, cost savings and agility.

Tips:

- Declarative programming is not procedural, do some training

- Most of the BE work is back-end, work beyond POC

- Define logging and exception handling up-front

- [more, missed them]

This is one of those great sessions for practitioners to hear challenges, success and tips from a leading practitioner.  It’s obvious Rosen has been deep in OOCL’s implementation.  Rosen mentioned how they learned from other Tibco customers, including SouthWest and Allstate.  Community interaction is critical to everyone’s success.

Brenda Michelson, Principal of Elemental Links, shares her view on architectural strategies, technology trends, business, and relevance.

Brenda Michelson

Brenda Michelson is the principal of Elemental Links an advisory & consulting practice focused on business-technology capabilities that increase business visibility and responsiveness. Follow Brenda on Twitter.

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