What is most valuable?
- The technology adapters (Database, REST, LDAP, File, many more), which allow easy integration with technologically diverse systems.
- BPEL and Service Bus, which allow diverse integration patterns to be easily implemented.
- The extensive Enterprise Manager Fusion Middleware Control which provides management and monitoring capabilities.
- The high availability features (mostly important for performance and stability).
Since the SOA Suite provides many components, it is an extensive toolkit for a developer, who can, with relatively little coding, quickly achieve complex functionality.
How has it helped my organization?
We implement SOA Suite at different customers. The product helps them achieve their goals in terms of integration requirements (functional and non-functional). This ranges from service-enabling legacy systems to integrating COTS products in a stable, performant, and manageable way. Currently, I work for a customer that is digitalizing a legal processes. At this customer we implement reusable services and processes used by multiple front- and backend applications.
What needs improvement?
Managing (infrastructure) database growth and performance tuning can be a challenge. The product provides many options for implementing integrations, which is a strength, but sometimes it is also a challenge choosing the best solution.
For how long have I used the solution?
I used 10g for three years, 11g for six years, and 12c for one year.
What was my experience with deployment of the solution?
We've had no issues with deployment.
What do I think about the stability of the solution?
I have not encountered many stability issues caused by the product, but sometimes there are issues from poor implementation or maintenance.
What do I think about the scalability of the solution?
Only when the customer did not follow recommendations from the provided Enterprise Deployment Guide were there scalability issues. The new version 12.2.2 is expected to provide multi-tenancy for SOA Suite, which improves this even further.
How are customer service and technical support?
Technical support is good. I, however, do not often need support; I'm used to fixing things myself as a technical consultant.
Which solution did I use previously and why did I switch?
I don't have much experience with comparable products. Have seen some things of Mule and TIBCO, but would not be able to provide an unbiased comparison. I think it would also be difficult since the SOA Suite is comprised of many components.
How was the initial setup?
Initial environment setup can be complex (this is different for the SOA Suite Cloud Service where provisioning is largely automated). There are many steps to perform and choices to make. Also, the installation is layered. You require a supported OS, the application server needs to be installed on top, the database needs to be prepared, and the SOA Suite must be installed in the application server. There are other components like load balancers, HTTP servers, etc. which might need to be configured. High Availability is supported on all layers and multi-tenancy on almost all layers, but you need to think about how you are going to implement this.
What's my experience with pricing, setup cost, and licensing?
Oracle SOA Suite is not the cheapest product suite around, but it has many features by default which you will probably need to create, manage, and maintain yourself when implementing other products (High Availability, monitoring, management, and alerting, for example). For a small company, you might not want to pay for a lot of features you might not use. Be a bit careful when implementing SOA Suite on virtualization platforms when licenses are concerned. Also, named users and unlimited license agreements require thought.
Which other solutions did I evaluate?
I have not done product comparisons. Also, I’m not in a role to choose a product for an implementation.
What other advice do I have?
Choose the right tool for the job. Think carefully about selecting an implementation partner. Preferably choose one who has a proven track record, a good relationship with the product vendor, and who will help you achieve your goals with this product.