What is most valuable?
The most valuable features are BPEL orchestrations, mediations and tight integration with Oracle Service Bus, and adapters.
A very useful feature in SOA Suite 12c has been REST adapters, which have now been upgraded so that there is no explicit need to translate REST and JSON on in/outbound.
Also, BPEL extensions and templates have been very useful.
How has it helped my organization?
SOA Suite 12c can significantly simplify the integrations and orchestration, including human workflow. In complex IT environments, it can lead to loosely-coupled architecture and reduce the integration complexity considerably. Also, it can contribute to service reuse.
What needs improvement?
In my opinion, an important aspect that will probably be covered in future versions is support for micro-services and the ability to scale on PaaS and Docker-like environments.
For how long have I used the solution?
I have used this product since it was introduced as BPEL Process Manager 10g. For 12c, I was among the beta testers.
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?
SOA Suite 12c has improved stability considerably. In the past, we had encountered some minor stability issues with WSM. However, in 12c this has been greatly improved and we have not noticed major problems in production. Also, JDeveloper has been improved.
What do I think about the scalability of the solution?
12c has improved scalability dramatically and now uses fewer server resources. Also, Enterprise Manager provides better tools to monitor load.
How are customer service and technical support?
We have always gotten prompt and useful responses from support.
Which solution did I use previously and why did I switch?
No, however we also have experience with IBM BPM. We, however, prefer Oracle SOA Suite due to better integration and richer functionalities.
How was the initial setup?
Setup is straightforward, particularly for development environments. For production and separate domains, you need to know what you are doing. However, the provided documentation is adequate.
Which other solutions did I evaluate?
We have evaluated IBM BPM, JBoss jBPM, and Activiti. We have figured out that SOA Suite 12c currently offers the richest functionalities and is the best integrated product.
What other advice do I have?
It is essential to have a good understanding of the features provided, including BPEL, services, adapters, mediations, human workflow and other features. It is also good to get familiar with SOA concepts and patterns. Using this product is the right way to go and following sound development practices brings results quickly. However, using the product in wrong way might not provide all the benefits.