Since its introduction last year (Oil ITJ June 07), IBM’s reference data model for chemical and petroleum has been the subject of several more presentations. Speaking at the SPE Intelligent Energy conference in Amsterdam earlier this year, IBM’s Ron Montgomery, considered as the father of the technology, offered an update on the framework*.
IBM’s integrated information framework (IIF) builds on a reference data model ‘spanning well bore to export pipe.’ The IIF offers access for all users to all data in a single development environment. The IIF provides an open-standards-based portal view that marshals real time information and provides access to historian data, ERP, engineering and other data. Instead of creating ever more complex data warehouses, IBM advocates federating the relationships between existing databases such that users can access original data in situ, without the need for extensive interfaces or complex data models. IBM claims a ‘significant reduction in data management expenditure.’ The services-oriented architecture means that the system is ‘easily scalable’ and extensible across the enterprise.
Speaking at the IBM WebSphere user group last month**, Matthew Perrins of IBM’s software lab offered a different slant on the technology. Perrins shoehorned the IIF’s plethora of process standards into the context of trendy ‘Web 2.0’ technologies orchestrated by IBM’s Websphere enterprise service bus (ESB). The software smorgasbord includes AJAX, REST, JSON, mashups and more—collectively making up the ‘intelligent web,’ an enterprise mirror of Web 2.0’s collaboration technologies.
Perrins describes the ‘problem statement’ of petrochemicals as a need to measure and analyze process performance in the context of installed equipment base. Multiple applications are deployed, each with its own data model. Cross work flow business processes, transactions and events are not captured, views are incomplete and analysis is sub-optimal.
Under the hood
Under the hood of the IIF is the IBM WebSphere 2.0 feature pack comprising a DOJO user interface, Comet*** for real time data and a JSON/REST SOA. Perrins concluded that ‘IBM is moving towards ‘Restful SOA’ allowing all middleware to offer consumable integration end points.’
The IIF appears to be all thing to all men—both in terms of the plethoric standards ‘supported’ by the technology and the equally numerous software development buzzwords deployed. The claim that SOA is a route to scalability is a bold one. It would be nice if some of IBM’s slide ware were backed up with the publication of the underlying ‘open’ model.
* SPE 112134
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