Oracle BPM Review

An enterprise-grade solution with a powerful Workspace and a complete feature set


What is our primary use case?

We use Oracle BPM for development in a test environment. It is not used in production.


What is most valuable?

The best part about this solution is that the feature set is complete. When you compare this to other engines, it is very complete.

The Workspace is a full, rich application where most users can find what they want. It shows them a list of their work.

The analytics, activity guide, and advanced features like correlation ID are very good.

What needs improvement?

The stability of this solution deteriorates when more than one thousand instances are concurrently active.

The Oracle database is not an easy product to maintain.

I would like to see the next version of this solution be simpler and more transparent about what is happening at the level of the database. This would allow users to better understand problems.

The technology that is being used for the UI needs to be updated to make it quicker. Oracle is using the ADF technology, which is a very heavy framework. Oracle cloud uses the JET framework, which is much faster and consumes fewer resources.

Oracle needs to return some of their focus to the Fusion products, rather than concentrating so heavily on cloud-based technologies.

Overall, the engine and the UI both have to be made lighter.

For how long have I used the solution?

I have been using this solution for about ten years.

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

We are only using this solution for development, so we do not have many users. However, I know about some of our customers, and one of them has approximately two thousand users. At peak times, there are approximately one thousand concurrent users.

Sometimes a user will have thirty instances, which means that during the peak, there may be thirty thousand instances active in the engine. This level of scalability, however, requires a solid implementation by a team with a lot of experience.

How are customer service and technical support?

Working with Oracle support is not easy. First of all, most of the time they want you to have a sample case or scenario that they can follow up on. However, in a production environment, you cannot create a sample scenario. For example, you see some errors that are the result of a heavy workload, but this is not something that you can reproduce. It is impossible. Also, these are the kinds of cases that you need support for.

At the same time, if the issue is minor, such as something that you need to set in the configuration, or policies that you need to set in the environment, then the support is ok.

Ultimately, in a huge production environment, the support is definitely not mature enough.

If you previously used a different solution, which one did you use and why did you switch?

This solution is not used in our production area because of our licensing, and also because of a change in policy whereby Oracle is pushing its customers to the cloud. We are not interested in moving to the cloud and are now instead considering Camunda BPM.

My understanding with Camunda is that the engine is very small, and is not resource-intensive. It requires less in terms of administration. It seems to me that if I have a lot of users then it will be more stable than Oracle. Also, the maintenance will be easier because the application is smaller.

The license will be cheaper for Camunda because, with Oracle, you need to have the database, Weblogic server, the BPM server, and lots of other products.

Finally, I have looked at Camunda’s performance on Youtube and other sites, and it seems to be better than that of Oracle.

How was the initial setup?

If you have an enterprise system then one person is required to maintain it, full-time. Oracle database is not easy to maintain, and in an enterprise application, you need to have a DBA. Normally, if you have one person for Weblogic and one person for the database, it’s enough.

The length of time required for deployment depends on the number of different instances. For example, if you want to have forty BPM and forty processes then the deployment will take a long time.

At the moment we have a deployment of forty instances, and it takes about twenty minutes to run. Most of the time, we need to restart the server because of some kind of error, such as a memory problem. This is absolutely not good in a production environment. The product is not yet mature enough in this regard.

What's my experience with pricing, setup cost, and licensing?

The price of this solution, or with another like Camunda, does not matter because if the organization is rich enough to use a BPM then money is not the issue.

What other advice do I have?

My advice for anybody who is considering this system is that if they have a good and knowledgable team to support them then they can depend on Oracle. However, if they want to learn this product, for example by going to Oracle university, and then go into production, they are going to be disappointed very soon. As soon as the system reaches a large number of users, everything changes. No information that they get from Oracle university will help them. The only thing that can help is experience and a deep understanding of the environment. Finding a problem may require going beyond the BPM and deep into the database.

This is a product that you can count on. It is an enterprise-level solution that is suitable for very large BPM, and it fits well with the Diagramo system.

When it comes to maturity, this is suitable for an enterprise and I would rate this solution an eight out of ten. Other solutions, such as Camunda, may not fit all of the needs of an enterprise. On the other hand, for stability and high availability, I would rate this solution a six out of ten.

Overall, I would rate this solution an eight out of ten.

Disclosure: I am a real user, and this review is based on my own experience and opinions.
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