Sunday, December 21, 2014

Packt's $5 ebook Bonanza

Following the success of last year’s offer, Packt Publishing will be celebrating the holiday season with a bigger $5 offer. Check it out here From Thursday 18th December, every eBook and video will be available on the publisher’s website for just $5. Customers are invited to purchase as many as they like before the offer ends on Tuesday January 6th, making it the perfect opportunity to try something new or to take your skills to the next level as 2015 begins.

Sunday, November 16, 2014

WS-BPEL 2.0 Beginner's Guide Book Review

I had the opportunity to read the WS-BPEL 2.0 Beginners Guide Book from PACKT publishing. The authors of this book has done a very good job in explaining the concepts in a simple and concise manner.

It is a very descriptive and practical guide to a beginners in BPEL. Writing an executable BPEL process is a very different task compared to write code in a general purpose programming language. The reason for that is, you need to have background knowledge on a lot of technologies in order to properly understand and implement a BPEL process. Minimum set of those technologies include SOAP / HTTP web services, WSDL, XML ,  Xml schema and XPath.

Hence , WS-BPEL 2.0 beginners guide takes an ideal approach for a beginner. It starts by introducing the basic concepts and straightaway goes into a practical example. It chooses oracle SOA Suite as the target technology stack and  JDeveloper  as its development environment for BPEL and provides step by step screen shots on how to implement a process.  Next it explains each and every step taken in implementing the sample process and how to deploy and test the process. I find this approach very useful, simply because, when learning a complex technology like BPEL, the best approach is to start with simple exercises to get the feel for the technology and then dive into the more complex topics step by step.

This pattern is followed for all the chapters as well. Each new chapter introduces a concept from BPEL, and goes onto a practical example explaining the details and finally testing the process. Hence, when you finish reading the book, not only you will understand the concepts in BPEL, but also, you would have mastered to BPEL development tool. As BPEL is developed mostly by using graphical tools, mastering the development environment is an essential skill for becoming a skilled BPEL developer.

The book explains the concepts in words as well as using diagrams. Book covers all the concepts from BPEL specification including topics such as synchronous processes, asynchronous processes, message correlation, fault handing , compensation handling ect.

In addition to BPEL concepts, book also covers the WS-Human Tasks space as well. The human tasks tooling capabilities of JDeveloper as well as the concepts are explained in a concise manner. In many practical process implementations in the industry there will be BPEL as well as human tasks. Hence for a beginner, this book is an ideal guide to master the BPEL based workflow technologies. Also, This book can be useful for an experienced BPEL developer migrating from another tool to JDeveloper.

Finally , I would recommend this book to anyone who is new to BPEL and is looking for a practical guide to learning BPEL related workflow technologies.   

Monday, February 24, 2014

Proxy Service Version Management with WSO2 ESB

Versioning of proxy services in an SOA environment is a common requirement. Versioning is required when you want to add / update or change the functionality of a proxy service without affecting the existing consumers of that proxy service. 

Above diagram shows a typical versioning scenario. If the change in Service X 2.0 is compatible with Service X 1.0, then we can simply point to service X version 2.0 and consumers will not be affected by the change. However, if the change is in compatible, then we will have to introduce a new proxy service version.

General Principles of versioning

1. Client should not be forced to use the new version immediately
  • Gradual client migration
  • Retire services gracefully
2. Support multiple versions concurrently 
  • Limit the number of versions though governance
  • Only the latest version is discover-able

Solution 1. 

Create two versions of the proxy service. Consumer A can access the version 1.0 of the service and Consumer B can access version 2.0 of the service. Gradually migrate Consumer A to proxy service version 2.0. This way, consumer A can live with version 1.0 and plan for upgrading to version 2.0. Both versions of the proxy service will exist till version 1.0 is deprecated.

Versioning with WSO2 ESB

Easiest way to version proxy services is to create a new version of the proxy service and related artifacts by appending the version information to the proxy service name. It is best to add version information to artifacts as a best practice. 

For example consider we have to  proxy a web service named StockQuote. Then we can name the proxy service as StockQuoteProxyV1. All artifacts contained with the proxy service should also be named accordingly. For example out endpoint pointing to the StockQuote service can be named as StockQuoteEndpointV1. 

Now creating and deploying new version of the proxy service becomes a simple task. We just need to update all the related artifacts with the new version number.

Future Improvements

Another approach to implementing proxy service versioning by having version as an attribute has been tried in the parent synapse project and there is a GSOC project on the same topic. These improvements are planed for future releases of WSO2 ESB.


Saturday, February 22, 2014

How to configure a BPEL process to consume JMS Queue

Since BPS is based on Axis2, All axis2 transports are available for BPEL published services as well. I will describe the steps required to consume a message from a JMS queue to complete a BPEL process.

We will use ActiveMQ for this sample.

Following is the step wise guide to do it.

Step 1. 
Download and extract Apache ActiveMQ 5.6.

Step 2.
Download Extract WSO2 BPS 3.2.0

Step 3.
un comment the TransportReceiver and TransportSender sections of axis2.xml corresponding to ActiveMQ. You can find axis2.xml located at /repository/conf/axis2 directory.

    <transportReceiver name="jms" class="org.apache.axis2.transport.jms.JMSListener">
        <parameter name="myTopicConnectionFactory">
                <parameter name="java.naming.factory.initial">org.apache.activemq.jndi.ActiveMQInitialContextFactory</parameter>
                <parameter name="java.naming.provider.url">tcp://localhost:61616</parameter>
                <parameter name="transport.jms.ConnectionFactoryJNDIName">TopicConnectionFactory</parameter>

        <parameter name="myQueueConnectionFactory">
                <parameter name="java.naming.factory.initial">org.apache.activemq.jndi.ActiveMQInitialContextFactory</parameter>
                <parameter name="java.naming.provider.url">tcp://localhost:61616</parameter>
                <parameter name="transport.jms.ConnectionFactoryJNDIName">QueueConnectionFactory</parameter>

        <parameter name="default">
                <parameter name="java.naming.factory.initial">org.apache.activemq.jndi.ActiveMQInitialContextFactory</parameter>
                <parameter name="java.naming.provider.url">tcp://localhost:61616</parameter>
                <parameter name="transport.jms.ConnectionFactoryJNDIName">QueueConnectionFactory</parameter>

<transportReceiver name="jms" class="org.apache.axis2.transport.jms.JMSListener">

Step 4.

Copy following jar files from activemq lib directory to /repository/components/lib directory.


Step 5.
Start active mq from console

apache-activemq-5.6.0/bin $ ./activemq console
Use management console of ActiveMQ to view the queues and topics. ActiveMQ management console is available at

Step 6.
Start BPS from console.

wso2bps-3.2.0/bin $ sh

From the management console , deploy the file that is available in the repository/samples/bpel directory of BPS.

From the services list view, select the HelloWorld service. 

As you can see, the jms endpoint is also available for the newly deployed process. 

Step 7.

Now go to ActiveMQ management console and go to queues section. You will find that there is a queue named HelloService. 

Use the send to section to add a message to the HelloService. You can generate the sample message for the HelloService wsdl using soap ui.

How to Cluster WSO2 BPS 3.2.0

Cluster Architecture

Server clustering is done mainly in order to achieve high availability and scalability.

High Availability

High availability means there is redundancy in the system such that service is available to outside world irrespective of individual component failures. For example, if we have a two node cluster, even if one node fails, the other node would continue to serve requests till the failed node is restored again.


Scalability means increasing the processing capacity by adding more server nodes.

Load Balancer

Load balancing is the method of distributing workload to multiple server nodes.  In order to achieve proper clustering function you would require a Load Balancer. The function of the load balancer is to monitor the availability of the server nodes in the cluster and route requests to all the available nodes in a fair manner. Load balancer would be the external facing interface of the cluster and it would receive all the requests coming to the cluster. Then it would distribute this load to all available nodes. If a node has failed, then the load balancer will not route requests to that node till that node is back online.

WSO2 Business Process Server Cluster Architecture

In order to build a wso2 business process server cluster you would require the following.

  1.        Load balancer
  2.       Hardware / VM nodes for BPS Nodes
  3.       Database Server
Following diagram depicts the deployment of a two node WSO2 bps cluster.

Load Balancer will receive all the requests and distribute the load (Requests) to the two BPS nodes. BPS Nodes can be configured as master node and slave node. A BPS cluster can have one master node and multiple slave nodes.

BPS Master Nodes / Slave Nodes

Master node is where the workflow artifacts (Business processes / Human Tasks) are first deployed.  The slave nodes will look at the configuration generated by the master node for a given deployment artifact and then deploy those artifacts in its runtime.
WSO2 BPS requires this method of deployment because it does automatic versioning of the deployed bpel /human task artifacts. Hence, in order to have the same version number for a given deployment artifact across all the nodes, we need to do the versioning at one node (Master Node).
A BPS server decides whether it is a master node or a slave node by looking at its configuration registry mounting configuration. We will look at that configuration in detail later.

BPS and Registry

In the simplest terms, registry is an abstraction over a database schema. It provides an API using which you can store data and retrieve data to a database. WSO2 BPS embeds the registry component and hence has a build in registry.  Registry is divided into three spaces.

Local Registry

Local registry is used to store information local to a server node.

Configuration Registry

                Configuration Registry is used to store information that needs to be shared across same type of server nodes. For example, configuration registry is shared across BPS server nodes. However, this same configuration registry would not be shared across another type of server nodes.

Governance Registry 

Governance Registry is used to store information that can be shared across multiple clusters of different type of servers. For example governance registry can be shared across BPS and ESB cluster. In the above diagram, these different registry configurations are depicted as individual databases.
BPS Master Node refers to the configuration registry using a Read/Write link while the BPS Slave nodes refer to the configuration registry using a Read/Only link.

BPS and User Store and Authorization

BPS management console requires a user to login to the system in order to do management activities. Additionally various permissions levels can be configured for access management. In human tasks, depending on the logged in user, what he can do with tasks will change.
All this access control/authentication/authorization functions are inherited to the BPS server from carbon kernel.  You can also configure an external LDAP/Active directory to grant users access to the server. All this user information / permission information is kept in the user store database. In the above diagram, UM DB refers to this database. This database is also shared across all the cluster nodes.

BPS Persistence DB

BPS handles long running processes and human tasks. This means, the runtime state of the process instances/ human task instances have to be persisted to a database. BPS persistence database is the databases where we store these process / t ask configuration data and process / task instance state.

Configuring the BPS Cluster

Now that we have understood the individual components depicted in the above diagram, we can proceed to implement our BPS cluster.  I will break down the steps in configuring the cluster into following steps.  The only major difference between the master node and slave node is in registry.xml configuration.
If you are using two machines (hardware or VM) all other configurations are identical for master node and slave node except IP addresses, ports and deployment synchronizer entry.  However, if you are configuring the cluster on the same machine for testing purpose , you will need to change multiple files as port conflicts can occur.

  1. Create database schemas.
  2. Configure the master-datasource.xml  ( Registry and User manager databases )
  3. Configure  ( BPS Persistence database )
  4. Configure registry.xml ( Different for master node and slave node)
  5. Configure the user-mgt.xml
  6. Configure axis2.xml
  7. Configure tasks-config.xml
  8. Configure bps.xml
  9. Configure carbon.xml
  10. Configure the server start-up script

Creating database Schema's

WSO2 BPS supports the following major databases.
1.       Oracle
2.       MySQL
3.       MSSQL
4.       PostgreSQL

                In the above diagram, we have depicted 5 databases. We can use H2 as the local registry for each BPS Node. We can create one schema for registry and configure registry mounting configuration for configuration registry and governance registry. Hence we will have to create 3 more databases for registry, user store and BPS persistence db.

Database Schema Requirement

DB Name

Configuration/Governance Registry
User store database
BPS Persistence database

You can find the corresponding SQL scripts for creating registry databases from wso2bps-3.2.0/dbscripts directorySQL script for bps persistence database can be found at wso2bps-3.2.0/dbscripts/bps directory.

As an example of creating a database, we will show the steps for creating a database using MySql.

mysql> create database REGISTRY_DB;
mysql> use REGISTRY_DB;
mysql> source /dbscripts/mysql.sql;
mysql> grant all on REGISTRY_DB.* TO username@localhost identified by "password";

Download and copy the MySql connector to /repository/components/lib directory. 

Configuring master-datasources.xml

You can configure data sources for registry and user store in master-datasources.xml file found in / repository/conf/datasources directory.

<datasources-configuration xmlns:svns="http://org.wso2.securevault/configuration">

      <description>The datasource used for registry and user manager</description>
      <definition type="RDBMS">
        <configuration>          <url>jdbc:h2:repository/database/WSO2CARBON_DB;DB_CLOSE_ON_EXIT=FALSE;LOCK_TIMEOUT=60000</url>
          <validationQuery>SELECT 1</validationQuery>

      <description>The datasource used for registry- config/governance</description>
      <definition type="RDBMS">
          <validationQuery>SELECT 1</validationQuery>

      <description>The datasource used for registry- local</description>
      <definition type="RDBMS">
          <validationQuery>SELECT 1</validationQuery>

Most of the entries are self-explanatory.

Configure  ( BPS Persistence database )

Open /repository/conf/ and add the relevant entries such as database name, driver class and database connection url.  Following is the matching configuration for mysql.

synapse.datasources.bpsds.validationQuery=SELECT 1

You need to do this for each node in the cluster.

Configure registry.xml

Registry mount path is used to identify the type of registry. For example” /_system/config” refers to configuration registry and "/_system/governance" refers to governance registry. Following is an example configuration for bps mount. I will highlight each section and describe them below.
I will only describe the additions to the registry.xml file below. Leave the configuration for local registry as it is and add following new entries.

Registry configuration for BPS master node

<dbConfig name="wso2bpsregistry">

<remoteInstance url="https://localhost:9443/registry">
  <cacheId>root@jdbc:mysql://localhost:3306/ REGISTRY_DB</cacheId>

<mount path="/_system/config" overwrite="virtual">

<mount path="/_system/governance" overwrite="virtual">

Let’s look at above configuration in detail. We are identifying the data source we configured in the master datasources xml using the dbConfig entry and we give a unique name to refer to that datasource entry which is “wso2bpsregistry”;
          Remote instance section refers to an external registry mount. We can specify the read only/read write nature of this instance as well as caching configurations and registry root location. Additionally we need to specify cacheID for caching to function properly in the clustered environment. Note that cacheId is same as the jdbc connection URL to our registry database.
We define a unique name “id” for each remote instance which is then referred from mount configurations. In the above example, our unique id for remote instance is instanceId. In each of the mounting configurations, we specify the actual mount patch and target mount path.

Registry configuration for BPS Salve node

<dbConfig name="wso2bpsregistry">

<remoteInstance url="https://localhost:9443/registry">
  <cacheId>root@jdbc:mysql://localhost:3306/ REGISTRY_DB</cacheId>

<mount path="/_system/config" overwrite="virtual">

<mount path="/_system/governance" overwrite="virtual">

This configuration is same as above with readOnly property set to true for remote instance configuration.

Configure user-mgt.xml

In the user-mgt.xml enter the datasource information for user store which we configured previously in master-datasoures.xml file. You can change the admin username and password as well. However, you should do this before starting the server.

  <Property name="dataSource">jdbc/WSO2UMDB</Property>

Configure axis2.xml

We use axis2.xml to enable clustering. We will use well known address (WKA) based clustering method. In WKA based clustering, we need to have a subset of cluster members configured in all the members of the cluster. At least one well known member has to be operational at all times.
In the axis2.xml , find the clustering section.

<clustering class="org.wso2.carbon.core.clustering.hazelcast.HazelcastClusteringAgent"  enable="true">
  <parameter name="membershipScheme">wka</parameter>
  <parameter name="localMemberHost"></parameter>
  <parameter name="localMemberPort">4000</parameter>

Change enabled  parameter to true. Find the parameter membershipSchema and set wka option. Then configure the loadMemberHost and LocalMemberport Entries. Under the members section, add the host name and port for each wka member. As we have only two nodes in our sample cluster configuration, we will configure both nodes as WKA nodes.

Configure task-config.xml

BPS packages the task server component as well. By default, when we enable clustering, this component waits for two task server nodes. Hence we need to change this entry in order to start the bps server. Open task-config.xml and change task server count to 1.

Configure bps.xml

In bps.xml, you need to configure the following entries.
Enable distributed lock

This entry enables hazelcast based synchronizations mechanism in order to prevent concurrent modification of instance state by cluster members.

 Configure scheduler thread pool size


Thread pool size should always be smaller than maxActive database connections configured in file.   When configuring the thread pool size allocate 10-15 threads per core depending on your setup. Then leave some additional number of database connections since bps uses database connections for management API as well.

Example settings for a two node cluster.
                MySQL Server configured database connection size   250.
                maxActive entry in file for each node 100
                SchedulerTreadPool size for each node 50

Configure carbon.xml

If you want automatic deployment of artifacts across the cluster nodes, you can enable deployment synchronizer feature from carbon.xml.


Deployment synchronizer functions by committing the artifacts to the configured svn location from one node (Node with AutoCommit option set to true) and sending cluster messages to all other nodes about the addition / change of the artifact. When the cluster message is received, all other nodes will do an svn update resulting in obtaining the changes to relevant deployment directories. Now the server will automatically deploy these artifacts.
For the master node, keep AutoCommit and AutoCheckout entries as true. For all other nodes, change autoCommit entry to false.

Configure the server start-up script

In the server startup script, you can configure the memory allocation for the server node as well as jvm tuning parameters.  If you open the or wso2server.bat file located at the /bin directory and go to the bottom of the file , you will find those parameters.  Change them according to the expected server load.

Following is the default memory allocation for a wso2 server.

-Xms256m -Xmx1024m -XX:MaxPermSize=256m

Cluster artifact deployment best practices

  1. Always deploy the artifact on the master node first and on slave nodes after some delay.
  2.  Use deployment synchronizer if a protected svn repository is available in the network.
  3. Otherwise you can use simple file coping to deploy artifacts