Oracle SOA Suite: Versioned SCA composite deployment

A client recently asked me how they could go about running multiple SOA service versions side by side in the same (non production) environment, specifically on one WebLogic Server domain.  The actual question was more technical and referred to WAR, EAR and SAR artifacts.

Let’s create a service development scenario; We have a legacy application  that must be service enabled to participate in an SOA initiative. The application has a quarterly release cycle and the application development team creates a new environment for each release i.e the application is exposed at a different location for each release. Older releases are still available for a period of time to facilitate maintenance.  The service enablement team on the other hand only have one development environment i.e new development and older maintenance service releases must share the same environment.  We will assume that the service enablement release cycle must follow the application release  cycle for the purpose of our discussion.

Getting back to the question. The answer varies depending on how the service enablement is done i.e using stock JEE techniques or Oracle SOA Suite (SCA).

Standard JEE Applications(EAR,WAR)[1]:

The service development/maintenance scenario described above cannot be addressed by a native WebLogic Server versioning feature. Running two versions of the same application (war/ear) side by side for an undisclosed period must be addressed using a combination of other techniques e.g scripting and/or deployment plans. In short the JEE artifact must be made available at two distinct access points on the server and this requires some planning and automation.

WebLogic Server does however have a native versioning feature to facilitate production redeployment[2]. This allows an application to be updated with a new version while the older version still processes in flight transactions. All new transactions are directed to the new deployment. As soon as all in flight transactions complete, the older version is automatically retired.

Oracle SOA Suite SCA composites (SAR)[3]:

Versioning and the ability to run multiple composite versions at the same time are first class citizens in Oracle SOA Suite. The access points for different versions are handled by the SOA infrastructure and does not require any additional work, apart from assigning a version number to the composite.

NOTE: It is very important to remember that WebLogic Server has no knowledge of SOA composites. WebLogic Server only knows about the soa-infra JEE application. SOA composites are deployed to – and executed inside the soa-infra SCA container.

So, how do we implement this? For the remainder of this post I would like to focus on versioned composite deployments and the use of configuration plans as an example implementation strategy for the development scenario I described earlier.

Let’s start with a simple Oracle SCA composite to represent our service enablement:

From the image:

  • The EisFile reference on the right represent the connectivity to the back-end application that must be service enabled.  A simple FileAdapter for the purpose of this example.
  • The MyDemoService service on the left represent the service contract that is  exposed.
  • The RouteFile mediator component is the implementation of the service.

Configuration Plans[4]

A quick introduction to Oralce SOA configuration plans. A configuration plan is an XML document that facilitates the modification of environment specific values within composite artifacts without altering the actual artifacts in design time.  During the deployment process the configuration plan searches the composite artifacts for values that must be replaced and adapt the artifacts for the target environment.  Nothing prohibits the use of a configuration plan to adapt composite artifacts for versioned deployment…;)

Back to the action. You can follow this part of the post using the provided example project[5].

Let’s assume release 1 of the back-end application is available in the application development environment and that release 1 of the service is available in the service enablement development environment.  The application development team starts development on release 2 of the back-end application and establishes the new application access point.  This implies that release 2 of the service must be configured and made available in the service enablement development environment and pointed to the new access point for release 2 of the application.  Use the following steps to configure the service development environment:

  • Generate configuration plans
    • In JDeveloper, right click the composite.xml in the application navigator and select Generate Config Plan. Call this file MyDemoService_cfgplan_rev1.0.xml for example. This represents the default configuration of the service release currently deployed. This configuration file will become useful when configuration customisation is required for subsequent deployments of release 1.
    • Generate another configuration plan but name the file MyDemoService_cfgplan_rev2.0.xml. This represents the configuration that must be applied to release 2 of the service implementation.
  • Customise the release 2 configuration  plan:
    • Open the MyDemoService_cfgplan_rev2.0.xml file and navigate to the WsdlAndSchema section of the document.  This section facilitates the customisation of .jca files, amongst others.  The following configuration plan fragment:
       <wsdlAndSchema name="demo_service.wsdl|EisFile.wsdl|EisFile_file.jca">
       <jca:property name="FileNamingConvention"><replace>out2.xml</replace></jca:property>

      will customise the following  property and attribute values in the EisFile_file.jca file on deployment

       <connection-factory location="eis/FileAdapter"/>
       <property name="FileNamingConvention" value="out1.xml"/>

      to eis/FileAdapter1 and out2.xml respectively.

  • Deploy the new composite release and attach the MyDemoService_cfgplan_rev2.0.xml configuration plan to the deployment.
    • Right click on the project root folder to deploy the project.
    • Be sure to update the composite version to 2.0 and remember to attach the MyDemoService_cfgplan_rev2.0.xml configuration plan.
  • Release 2 of the service can be accessed, with the new connectivity details, while release 1 is still available for maintenance.


  1. The creation of an additional File Adapter connection factory is not required. For the purpose of this demonstration it more accurately resembles what would happen when using a connection dependent adapter e.g the Database Adapter.  It also helps to illustrate the configuration plan capabilities when using a connection dependent adapter.
  2. The creation of the server side eis/FileAdapter1 connection factory falls outside the scope of this post. The server side adapter configuration can be performed using the WebLogic Server administration console.


Happy Hacking!

This entry was posted in programming, SOA and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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