Saturday, November 8, 2008

Note to myself

I sometimes take too long to answer comments. I will try to answer any queries that I know within maximum of 2 days from now on. Will try to maintain an average of 1 day.

Apologies to everyone whom I have given an delayed response.

Is your SOA suite is it secure?

I was trying to see if the servers we have is secure enough. What I wanted to know is that wether we were making some errors or the facts were not documented clearly enough. I did find the documentation regarding most problems in some document or the other, but is it clear for admins was the question.

So to find the answer I started looking for SOA suite available online.

Probably this notion would seem stupid why will anyone expose the SOA suite online, I thought that too. But I did an inurl:BPELConsole search and found atleast 10 websites that have their consoles being resulted in the search. Tried a few search engines including google.

The commonly known users are oc4jadmin, but what about bpeladmin and the default users. Nearly 80% of the sites did not have the passwords changed for the users. Could log in some of them seemed to be production sites others were testing sites.

Also a common error was the OWSM user admin with the password as oracle. Sadly most of these users were available to use.

I don't know how to contact the admins of these sites, anyone reading this blog please change the passwords. Go to the user management in the Application Server Console and remove all users that are not used or atleast change the passwords.

All sites had their oc4jadmin passwords changed but it's simply not good enough. Why were these consoles exposed to the internet I have no idea, I don't think it should be done.

Another probability is Denial Of Service attacks or brute force. I don't think (cannot confirm this though) the username for oc4jadmin can be changed. It makes brute force hack even simpler.

Is security still an aferthought for organizations !!! This scares me.

One of the sites I could log into. I have tried to remove all the information regarding who owns the site.

Saturday, November 1, 2008

Learning and implementing the Oracle Fault Management Framework

The process has some external dependencies, due to a network failure the partner system is down for a few days. The message sent to the partner can be sent later but recovery mechnism can be difficult and redundant in BPEL.

How was it done before?
Without the framework solutions that were possible were
1. Assume that the partner system link or the system would rarely be down, in such cases the process would have to be handled manually. Data fix, using the test case feature etc. This is called wishful thinking.
2. Retry then create a worklist task whenever there is error, requires programming effort and redundancy in process.
3. Rollback using compensation handler may be an option based on design of your process.

What is it in a nutshell?
Instead of handling faults in BPEL by adding catches handle faults use the framework to handle it for you. Both can also be used together. Retry of failed activity, Replay of failed activity scope, Human intervention and many other ways of handling the faults can be provided.

In detail it can be read fro references stated below.

What is the advantage?
1. Generic framework can be reused without coding effort.
2. Will provide resume, retry, continue and modify functionalities.
3. No BPEL change required

Lessons learnt and opinions
While implement the fault handling using this framework, found rather suprisingly that it was very easy to use. The only trouble I had was that in my patch of the post installation steps had not been executed. Without these steps the framework does not catch the fault.

It was rather suprising that the framework can override the fault handling defined in the process. It was a bit difficult to digest but I could not think of any way else it could be designed.

The best resource I could find was
A very good resource to begin.
Also use Oracle documentation is of great help.

Using these resources when I started testing my processes I wanted all my faults remote faults to be retried and then sent for human intervention.

But then I started facing issues when an synchronous process is invoked and the process waiting for human intervention the calling process is timed out. So I had to have a seperate policy for synchronous processes which only contain retries and another for asynchronous processes which contain retry and human intervention.

This reminded me of some Oracle document which had said prefer Async process over sync (I think it said it because of performance reasons).

Then I stumbled over an article which validated my understandings.

If this works(in production) I'm pretty sure it will (It's working on my PC but cannot celebrate until it goes to production) I will be very pleased.

The framework has limited extensibility only java tasks can be used to extend the framework. It leaves very less scope for out of the box thinking.

Also, the problem I faced was that the activities tab in the BPEL Console needs to be provided to support personnel, none of the other tabs should be accessible. Could not resolve this issue :(. From the information I could gather was that this can only be done by tweaking the code of BPEL Console. ref:

Special thanks:
To the Oracle team to come up with this feature and the blogs of consultants I have mentioned and all the people who answer questions on the Oracle forum.