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An Introduction to topology of Business Automation Workflow on Containers 23.0.2

By Zhili Guan posted Tue June 04, 2024 02:55 AM

  

IBM Business Automation Workflow (BAW) on containers is part of IBM Business Automation Workflow (BAW), also included in IBM Cloud Pak for Business Automation (CP4BA) as one capability.

CP4BA includes BAW, in addition to everything you have in BAW, you have the additional advantages of CP4BA, like Containerized authoring, Workstream Service, Automation Services, Automation Decision Services, Automatic Document Processing etc., and all foundation components like Process Mining, RPA.

The article describes the topology of BAW on containers in CP4BA. Including the capabilities and how the capabilities integrate with each other. 

Please note, the topology has some differences between BAW on Containers in BAW and CP4BA. The BAW on containers in BAW does not have IBM Cloud Pak foundational services, no matter it is on OCP or non-OCP. It means there is no IBM Cloud Pak foundational services in the topology of BAW on containers in BAW. As a result, you cannot use the following features from IBM Cloud Pak foundational services for BAW on containers in BAW:

  • Identity Management (IM) Service. Instead, BAW on Containers in BAW integrate with User Management Services (UMS) directly without delegating to IAM. UMS is configured with LDAP.

  • Platform UI (Zen) Service. Instead, each services has its dedicated endpoint.

  • ElasticSearch service. Instead, embedded Opensearch will be applied, and you can always choose to use your external Elasticsearch or Opensearch.

Compared with CP4BA 23.0.1, there are following changes in CP4BA 23.0.2:

  • A simplified deployment topology and smaller footprint for Business Automation Workflow on containers is provided. Details are described in later in the article.

There are additional changes in BAW 23.0.2

  • BAW on containers support integrating with a standalone BAI. User can also enable Intelligent Task Prioritization with integrating BAI as pre-requisite.

The BAW container runtime environment provides an enterprise workflow platform to run cloud-native solutions. It works together with authoring environment that is on the traditional VM or on-premises system, or containerized authoring from CP4BA on OCP.

The topology of BAW on Containers in CP4BA

Compared with 23.0.1:

  • JMS has been embedded in BAW server in a default setup. User can still choose to use an independent JMS by configuring CR accordingly.
  • PFS, Application Engine and related AEOS object store and Workplace desktop are moved to optional features. They are not included in a default deployment. User can enable it following corresponding guide.
  • Full text search has been embedded in BAW as an optional feature. It can be enabled by related Custom Resource(CR) parameters.
  • Elasticsearch becomes optional as both PFS and Full text search are optional.
  • ProcesPortal and Embedded Workplace will run in non-federated mode by default.

The topology of BAW on Containers in BAW:

Compared with 23.0.1:

  • JMS has been embedded in BAW server in a default setup. User can still choose to use an independent JMS by configuring CR accordingly.
  • PFS, Application Engine and related AEOS object store and Workplace desktop are moved to optional features. They are not included in a default deployment. User can enable it following corresponding guide.
  • Full text search has been embedded in BAW as an optional feature. It can be enabled by related CR parameters.
  • Opensearch becomes optional as both PFS and Full text search are optional.
  • ProcesPortal and Embedded Workplace will run in non-federation mode.

The full topology contains:

  • IBM Cloud Pak foundational services

The Cloud Pak foundational services provide key capabilities for the platform. IBM Cloud Pak foundational install and manage the OperandRequest of Flink (ibm-automation-flink) and Opensearch (ibm-elasticsearch-operator). If Business Automation Insights is installed, the Kafka OperandRequest (ibm-events-operator) is included.
The Platform UI (Zen), Elasticsearch, Kafka, and Kafka users are now managed by their respective operators and custom resources.

  • Workflow Center on a VM or on-premises system

IBM Workflow Center is used for iteratively deploying, running, and testing process applications, toolkits, and case solutions in your authoring environment (such as Process Designer).

  •  Workflow Authoring from CP4BA on OCP

Workflow Authoring capability from CP4BA allows you to develop workflow automations and workflow automation services in Workflow Designer, which is fully integrated into Business Automation Studio, and can manage your workflow automations. You can test, install and run your workflow automations and automation services in the Liberty-based IBM Workflow Server in the Cloud Pak for Business Automation environment.

  • Workflow Server

Workflow Server provides a single runtime environment that can support a wide range of business processes, cases, service orchestrations, and integration capabilities.
To deploy snapshot to Workflow Server, you could either integrate with Workflow Center on a VM or on-premises system or Workflow Authoring from CP4BA on OCP.
CP4BA operator creates a FederatedSystem CR for each Workflow server instance at the end of the deployment. PFS operator monitors the FederatedSystem CR and federates it automatically.
Since 23.0.2, Workflow Server has embedded Workflow Messaging(JMS), Workplace and Full Text Search feature.  Workflow server integrates with ElasticSearch or Opensearch for full text search capability.

  • Workflow Messaging (JMS)

Workflow Messaging provides Java Message Service (JMS). It is a standard API for sending and receiving messages. It allows BAW components to create, send, receive, and read messages. Since 23.0.2, it has been embedded in BAW server in a default setup. User can still choose to use an independent JMS by configuring CR accordingly.

  • Process Portal

IBM Process Portal is a coach-based user interface that is provided with all editions of IBM Business Automation Workflow for participating in processes. From Process Portal, you can launch processes, dashboards, and services and work on tasks. Process Portal can be configured for a single IBM Business Automation Workflow system or for federated environments that include Process Federation Server.
You could configure multiple Workflow Server instances in CP4BA deployment or BAW on containers deployment. If you have configured multiple Workflow Servers instances, one of the Process Portal should be configured as Federated Process Portal. It then retrieves data from PFS, which federates all data from all federated systems. 

Since 23.0.2, Process Portal runs in non-federation mode in a default deployment.

  • Workplace

Workplace is a modern and easily customizable work portal that brings together process, case, and workstream functions to enable you to manage all your work in one place. It offers you a seamless and consolidated user experience to manage and complete different types of work in the same application. Workplace is available in both traditional and container Business Automation Workflow environments, which makes it the common work portal for different platforms. Workplace on-premises is supported in either single Business Automation Workflow systems or federated environments.
Since 23.0.2, it has been embedded in BAW server and running in non-federation mode in a default deployment. If you enable federation and choose one BAW to host federated portal, the Workplace will run in federation mode accordingly.

  • User Management Services (UMS)

User Management Services (UMS) provides SSO and Teams options, which provide users of multiple applications with a single sign-on experience and centrally administered teams.
Starting v21.0.3, on top of OCP/ROKs, CP4BA uses SSO from IBM foundational services. BAW on Containers in BAW still uses UMS as SSO service.

  • Content Platform Engine

Content Platform Engine is the content repository that is used for Business Automation Workflow documents and case folders and their documents. It contains object stores for Workflow Server:

    • DOCS: Workflow Server stores document in DOCS.
    • DOS: Case Manager design object store.
    • TOS: Case Manager target object store.
    • AEOS: App Engine object store. AEOS is optional in 23.0.2 as App Engine has been moved to optional feature.

You need configure Case History datasource if Case History emitter is enabled.

  • Content Management Interoperability Services (CMIS)

CMIS is an open-source standard that enables applications to work with one or more content management systems. BAW communicates with the Enterprise Content Management (ECM) system that contains the documents and folders by using CMIS standard.
Workflow Server access DOCS, DOS and TOS through CMIS.

  • Content Services GraphQL

Content Services GraphQL API is an intuitive API that enables the caller to create, retrieve, update, or delete resources.
It is for AE data-persistence. App Engine accesses AEOS through GraphQL.

  • Navigator

Navigator enables business users to work with content from various sources and uses business automation applications that are built to help them in their daily job. 
During Workflow Server initialization, BAW desktop is created. 
Workplace desktop is not created by default. If PFS is configured, Workplace desktop will be created.

  •  [Optional] Process Federation Server (PFS)

Process Federation Server provides task workers with a single point of access to all of their tasks from a single Process Portal, regardless of the type of process that they are working on and the IBM Business Automation Workflow back-end system on which the process artifacts are stored.
PFS automatically federates Workflow Server that has created FederatedSystem CR. It then provides data to Federated Process Portal and IBM Workplace. You could also federate on premise BAW system.
PFS register its endpoint to DBA registry as well. Then App Engine could get its endpoint from DBA registry then. 
PFS has been moved to optional feature. It is not deployed in a default Workflow deployment.
PFS Operator manages workplace job. If App Engine is detected, Workplace application will be deployed to App Engine. Furthermore, Workplace desktop will be created if Navigator is detected.

  •  [Optional] Application Engine (App Engine) and Workplace

Application Engine holds the Workplace. Workplace brings together process, case, and workstream functions to enable you to manage all your work in one place. It offers you a seamless and consolidated user experience to manage and complete different types of work in the same application. Workplace can be configured to work with any number of traditional or container-based Business Automation Workflow systems that are federated using Process Federation Server.
Workplace is deployed to Application Engine Server during Workflow Server initialization. At the same time, a plugin and desktop are created in Navigator. 
User could access Workplace in Navigator through the App Engine desktop. It retrieves data from PFS and work with backed Workflow Server when user work on tasks. 
User could optimally choose persisting App Engine data to application engine object store (AEOS) in CPE. It stores the user former selection for Workplace, for example task list table order or page size. The setting will be lost after page refresh if user does not create a saved search without persisting App Engine data.
App Engine access AEOS through GraphQL.
Since 23.0.2, App Engine has been moved to optional feature, it is not deployed in a default Workflow deployment.

  • [Optional] Business Automation Insights (BAI)

IBM Business Automation Insights captures events BPMN, and case events generated by Business Automation Workflow, aggregates them into business relevant KPIs, and displays them on meaningful dashboards so that you can analyze your business data. BAI is optional for BAW Container. 
Starting v23.0.1, BAI is installed by IBM Cloud Pak foundational services by the Insights Engine operator. In v23.0.2, user can configure standalone BAI.

  • [Optional] Business Automation Machine Learning (BAML)

BAML offers two features: intelligent task prioritization and workforce insights. It requires BAI. Since23.0,2, intelligent task prioritization is available in BAW on Containers in BAW. It requires BAW integrating with a standalone BAI.

While you deploy BAW runtime on a container environment, you can deploy multiple server instances on different namespace, or on the same namespace, the mapping can be:

  • 1 DB -> 1 Workflow server instance -> 1..n Workflow server Pod(s)
  • 1 namespace -> 1 CP4BA/BAW on Containers deployment (1 CR)  -> 1..n Workflow server instance (s)
  • 1..n Workflow server instance (s)  -> 1 federated portal

Limitation:  Case Manager is a singleton.

Now you may know more about how BAW on Containers assembled, and how you can deploy it, play with it and you can get more detailed information from CP4BA Knowledge Center (https://www.ibm.com/docs/en/cloud-paks/cp-biz-automation/23.0.2), or BAW Knowledge Center (https://www.ibm.com/docs/en/baw/23.x).


Reference:
An Introduction to topology of Business Automation Workflow on Containers 21.0.2
An Introduction to topology of Business Automation Workflow on Containers 21.0.3
An Introduction to topology of Business Automation Workflow on Containers 22.0.1
An Introduction to topology of Business Automation Workflow on Containers 23.0.1
An Introduction to topology of Business Automation Workflow on Containers 23.0.2

Zhi Li Guan (Lily)                                                  Yun Diao

Developer, Digital Business Automation         Development Manager, Digital Business Automation

          


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29 days ago

A great details has been captured as part of this blog ! liked it