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A Practical Introduction to Web Services, SOA and ESB on z/OS

Document Author:

Don Bagwell

Document ID:


Doc. Organization:

Washington Systems Center

Document Revised:


Product(s) covered:

CICS; DB2 for z/OS and OS/390; WebSphere Application Server; WebSphere Message Broker; WebSphere Process Server; WebSphere Service Registry and Repository

Abstract: "SOA/ESB" is a very, very large topic space. There's probably no fewer than 50 to 100 different IBM products that somehow fit under the "SOA" umbrella (perhaps more). There are lots of presentations out there that offer various explanations of the benefits of SOA and the IBM strategy behind SOA. But to be honest I struggled with some of them -- I needed a more practical introduction to SOA and ESB ... with physical diagrams of implementations rather than high-level logical pictures. These presentation can be considered to be my take on this topic. That doesn't make it any better than the other presentations ... just given with a different emphasis.

It's really important to understand these presentations do not attempt to answer all the questions, nor attempt to cover the full spectrum of IBM offerings in the SOA/ESB space. As mentioned, there's a lot out there. Rather, these presentations only focus on some of the essential things. The objective of these presentations is to establish a good framework of understanding. Once you have that, you can build on it through more specific research.

NOTE: the attached files were updated on July 31st and represent "revision 1.1" of the charts. The changes were mostly in terms of tightening up the flow and removing redundancy where it existed in several places. The section on WSRR (in Unit 3a) was updated more than most as new information about that particular function is more fully understood by me, the author of these charts.

2007 ZSOA2 Workshop Schedule

The ZSOA2 workshop is a two-day hands-on workshop that is provided on a no-fee basis. Attendance is "by invitation only," which means that enrollment is controlled. Customers are enrolled through their IBM representative. IBM representatives interested in enrolling their customers should e-mail me at and I'll provide the enrollment URL. A valid Siebel opportunity number is required.

The 2007 schedule is as follows:
  • Southfield, Michigan -- September 4th and 5th
  • Schaumberg, Illiniois (near Chicago) -- September 11th and 12th
  • Minneapolis, Minnesota -- October 2nd and 3rd
  • Dallas, Texas -- October 17th and 18th
  • Cincinnati, Ohio -- October 30th and 31st

Workshop Kickoff
Some very preliminary charts to introduce the workshop. There's a couple of charts in here that help explain why the rest of the presentations are developed the way they are.

Unit 0a - Kickoff.pdf
(presentation has full speaker notes)

Introduction and Overview
In this presentation we address the basic questions about SOA and ESB, including why we're talking about it, what a "service" is, what an "ESB" is, what "Web Services" are and a brief introduction to Eclipse-based tooling that's used to develop the programs that run in this environment.

Unit 1a - Introduction and Overview.pdf
(presentation has full speaker notes)

Web Services
Here we turn our focus to the specific topic of "Web Services," which is a specific type of "service" implementation that abides by industry standards. One of the misunderstandings is that "Web Services = SOA" ... that's not strictly true and in this presentation we show you why. We explain what a "WSDL file" is, how it's used, and introduce the concept of "UDDI." But on a more practical level we introduce how key z/OS systems such as WebSphere Application Server, CICS, IMS and DB2 support Web Services. The reason why we focus on this is because one of the first steps towards SOA many people will do is "exposing" an existing application or data resource as a Web Service .. without changing that application. That really involves putting a Web Services "front end" on the application.

Unit 2a - Web Services Support.pdf
(presentation has full speaker notes)

We turn our attention to the Enterprise Service Bus, or "ESB" for short. The ESB has been described by some as a "patch panel" to connect service requesters to service providers. What you'll see is that in practical application it's middleware function that's mapped on top your existing corporate network. That middleware function acts as the intermediary -- or traffic cop; or air traffic controller; or "patch panel" -- between those programs seeking to use services and those offering services. We focus on two specific product implementations -- WebSphere Enterprise Service Bus (WESB) and WebSphere Message Broker (WMB). What we see is that the ESB is really a sort of "application runtime" where the "application" is a program -- running inside of WESB or WMB -- that takes inbound messages (or requests) and then routes, updates or transforms those messages on the fly as it goes towards the service provider destination.

Because of the nature of this thing, our focus takes a turn towards the programming model employed by each: WESB uses something called "Service Component Architecture" (SCA), and WMB uses something called a "Message Flow." Development of each is done using an Eclipse-based tool -- WebSphere Integration Developer (WID) for WESB and WebSphere Broker Toolkit for WMB.

We finish off this unit with an overview of WebSphere Service Registry and Repository (WSRR), which is a relatively new product that's designed to be a storehouse for all the information related to these services that are being provided.

Unit 3a - ESB.pdf
(presentation has full speaker notes)

Business Process
A "business process" is a sequence of tasks or activities that are related to the accomplishment of a business deliverable. That's a squishy description. Let's use an example -- think of a mortgage application. Between initial application and money transfer at time of closing there exists quite a few things that need to take place in the proper order -- credit check, home appraisal, land survey, title search, document preparation, etc. Some of those tasks are computer-oriented things (performing a credit check on someone could be a computer service); some of those things are people-related things (performing a survey of the property requires someone to go out and physically walk the property lines). Making sure everything happens and everything happens in the proper order can be done with a pencil and clipboard (the old days) or with a computer system that coordinates and controls the process. That's where WebSphere Process Server (WPS) comes into play.

This unit covers the basics of WPS.

Unit 4a - Business Process.pdf
(presentation has full speaker notes)

Governance and Wrapup
The term "governance" applies to the element of this whole SOA thing that is, unfortunately, easy to overlook -- making sure we don't create a new problem by having people run off and create services without proper oversight, coordination, thinking, planning and control. The notion of "governance" is both a matter of discipline and software. Discipline is simply the matter of having the intent to construct a service oriented architecture in a careful, thoughtful manner ... and following through on that intent with actual disciplined practices. The software side of this comes into play in tools that are designed to assist in the planning and execution of the SOA. As is the case with any tool, they are only as useful as the intent is strong to use them properly.

Unit 5a - Governance and Wrapup.pdf
(presentation has full speaker notes)

Credits and Thanks
  • Dave McCorkle, IBM (the original creator of the ZSOA1 workshop)
  • Ron Lotter, IBM
  • Bill Jones, IBM
  • John Hutchinson, IBM
  • Steve Matulevich, IBM
  • Lee-Win Tai, IBM
  • Glenn Anderson, IBM




Product Positioning

S/W Pillar(s):

WebSphere; Information Management




SOA, ESB, Web Services, Message Broker, WMB, WPS

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