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First Impression: WebSphere Operational Decision Manager V8.8

ODM 8.8 Migration Wizard

Over the Christmas holiday I had the opportunity to download and review a special gift from IBM, Operational Decision Manager V8.8 the benchmark product in Business Rule Management Systems which was made available for distribution on November 27th 2015. Here are some highlights of the new capabilities that have been introduced:

Decision Center Business Console enhancements for navigation and content explorer, ruleflow viewer, decision operation editor, as well as a new tab for administering users, groups, and permissions.

Decision Server Insights continues to provide new capabilities, such as new shared aggregates that will allow organizations to build aggregations across rule agents and multiple time periods. Insights Designer has also been updated with new features for creating, editing, and debugging insight solutions. Improvements have been introduced to the Insight Inspector in order to provide easier debugging and diagnosis of problems, as well as quicker reviewing and analyzing of solution test results.

IBM PureApplication Patterns for Decision Server Insight have now been released for AIX and Red Hat for simple and fast deployment. IBM Operational Decision Manager v8.8 also includes enhancements to Decision Server Rules & Events.

IBM Operational Decision Manager for z/OS now includes support for CICS 5.3 and 5.3 programs and WebSphere Liberty Profile Application Server. Additionally, IBM customers running on z/OS are now able to install Decision Center. ODM for z/OS can also now be called dynamically from COBOL and PL1 applications increasing the portability of programs.

The following are some details on the new features I had the opportunity to review:

Decision Center Business Console:

  • Decision Service is now the default rule project for ODM. Classic Rule Projects have been deprecated and any classic projects will need to be migrated into Decision Services using the migration tool in rules designer as part of any upgrades to this release.
ODM 8.8 Migration Wizard

Migration Wizard in IBM ODM 8.8 Migration Wizard

  • A Decision Artifacts tab has been introduced in the Business Console with enhancements that provide several navigation improvements. A Project Explorer view can be configure to show the projects or rule artifact types a rule author is interested in.
  • A new, impressive feature is the ruleflow viewer that provides business users with the ability to view rule flows from the Business Console. This has been further enhanced with the ability to view task details and further navigate between multiple ruleflows, tasks, and rules associated with a task.
  • The Decision Table Editor in the Business Console has been re-written to provide business users with a better editing user experience. It displays faster, is easier to copy and paste from Excel, and is supposed to handle a larger amount of columns and rows.
  • Decision operation can now be managed from the Business Console. Business users can independently define decision operations that can be used in test suites, simulations, and deployment configurations. This provides additional capabilities for managing rule application lifecycles without involving IT.
  • Unlike the previous version, business users can now perform testing and simulations on the classic rule engines through the Decision Runner in the Business Console. As a result, Decision Validation Services (DVS) have now been deprecated in the Business Console. Rule Designer and Enterprise Console continue to support DVS testing and simulation for classic rule engine only.
  • A new ADMINISTRATION tab has been provided to facilitate the management of users and groups from the Business Console. This new feature also provides advanced connection to LDAP in order to import groups and permissions. This is a welcomed improvement, as users and group management had to be performed using ANT scripts in previous versions.

Decision Server Hosted Transparent Decision Services:

  • IBM Operational Decision Manager V8.8 now provides the capability to run transparent decision services asynchronously out of the box. This can be done by setting an AsynchronousRulesetParsing parameter to “true” in the web.xml.

Key take-aways:

IBM Operational Decision Manager V8.8 continues to enhance the user experience for business rule authors and improve the runtime performance while building on the foundation of Decision Server Insights.

Decision Center Business Console continues to be enhanced for a better business user experience with features that make the upgrade worthwhile.

Deprecated features on Classic Rule projects and DVS will require migration of any classic rule projects to Decision Service. However, IBM has provided ample migration tools to make this possible, including rolling upgrades to ensure continuous availability for decision service execution.

Decision Server Insight continues to mature as IBM introduces new capabilities to support rule based transactional event processing for analytics.


For additional information on IBM ODM V8.8, reference the release notes

IBM Knowledge Center for IBM Operational Decision Manager 8.8

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Mwandama Mutanuka

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