Welcome!

Microservices Expo Authors: Liz McMillan, Pat Romanski, Carmen Gonzalez, Elizabeth White, Jason Bloomberg

Related Topics: Microservices Expo, Java IoT

Microservices Expo: Product Review

Product Review: FICO Blaze Advisor

Blaze Advisor helps technology teams maintain the business rules/policies

This article reviews the features of Blaze Advisor, a business rules management system from FICO. Blaze Advisor helps technology teams maintain the business rules/policies separate from application code base and provides business users with ability to author & manage rules/policies in immediate response to business events.

Blaze Advisor - Features
FICO Blaze Advisor is a rules management solution that covers the entire process of developing, deploying and maintaining rule based applications. The features of Blaze Advisor 6.9 are detailed below:

Rules Development
Blaze Advisor provides an IDE for developers to model, build, test and deploy rules. Blaze can extract object definitions from legacy systems, databases or XML documents and extend them to define rules as using business terms. There is a performance monitor in the IDE that shows rule statistics like no of times a rule is executed, time taken for execution, rules that take most time etc.

Rules Authoring
Blaze provides a configurable web based interface, Rules Maintenance Application for business users to author and manage rules. Rules are authored in simple vocabulary that conveys business meaning of the rule.

Rules can also be managed in Excel in the form of decision tables, having it connect to Rules repository using Blaze API to leverage versioning capabilities and to work with data online or offline.

Rules Groups
Blaze has ability to group Rules into Rule Sets and manage them together based on projects/tasks. Also, sequence of Rules execution can be visually depicted as Rule flow and can be easily managed in RMA and Advisor IDE.

Rules Verification
There is a ‘Verify' feature in RMA that can be used by business users during creation/modification of rules to ensure rule correctness, to check that the rules follows best practices and to prevent any errors such as rule conflicts. Blaze also provides an automated unit testing tool (named BrUnit) for testing the rules.

Rules Invocation
User defined entry points (Rule Flow, Rule Set, Functions etc.) can be created during the deployment process for invocation of rules. Rules entry points can expose MQ/Java/Web Service interfaces for invocation by other applications.

The rules are compiled and cached in a memory structure to improve the performance of rules execution. Also, this cache gets auto refreshed when the underlying rules are modified and this ability is built in to Deployment Manager.

Rules Repository
Rules created in Blaze are stored in XML format and versioned in centralized rules repository. Advisor IDE and RMA provide the ability to compare versions and manage changes to rules in repository. Blaze also provides a hierarchical view of rules in repository and ability to search rules based on associated metadata in rules repository.

Simulation
Blaze provides a ‘Decision Simulator' module that helps business users estimate the impact of new/updated rules before releasing them into production. Decision simulator provides out of the box simulation reports that help users measure the business impact of rule change/introduction. Blaze IDE also provides wizards for technical teams to create custom simulation projects and expose it for business users.

Analytical Models
Predictive models created in PMML format from other analytical tools like SAS can be directly imported into Blaze Advisor and used within a rule/rule flow.

Model builder, a tool from FICO can be used to create models and then import these models into Blaze Advisor as a rule/rule flow in a decision process. These models are stored in Decision Manager Repository and can be used similar to that of Rules repository.

Security
Blaze helps expose the right scope for rule editing to match authority and skills of users, ensuring proper governance and control. Access controls can be configured at the level of rules/rule flows in RMA. For ex: Rule flows depict the sequence of rules execution and generally not changeable by business users without prior approval and stringent testing procedures so modification of rule flows can be disabled and only modification of rules will be enabled in RMA for business users.

Rule Engine Standards
Blaze uses Rete III algorithm for matching rules within core engine and it is claimed to be the fastest one among algorithms, roughly 100 times faster than previous Rete I algorithm. The product is compatible with JSR 94 specification thus enabling it to be used in a standard way on JEE platforms.

Auditing
Logging monitors are available at multiple levels in the product - to monitor the rule server activities, rule execution requests etc. It provides ability to track the events within the rule engine, seeing which rules have fired, steps taken in the rule flow, and changes to the data. Also, product has ability to set auditing to any level of depth of detail and store the logs in any location.

Blaze also has a rules dashboard that displays details on number of rules executed, its response time, input/output data etc. It also provides Monitoring APIs that can be used to gather similar types of data for display.

Summary
Blaze Advisor provides all the capabilities of BRMS and is one of market leaders in this space. It has the leading performance considering the fastest algorithm it uses and caching abilities. It also provides an easy to use authoring environment to manage rules/rule flows, to perform rules verification and ability to leverage analytical models in decision process.

References

http://www.fico.com/en/Products/DMTools/Pages/FICO-Blaze-Advisor-System.aspx

More Stories By Ravi M

M.Ravi is a Senior Technical Architect, specialized in providing architecture and design solutions on broad of spectrum of areas such as JEE, SOA, ESB, BI, CRM & SAS.

Microservices Articles
Modern software design has fundamentally changed how we manage applications, causing many to turn to containers as the new virtual machine for resource management. As container adoption grows beyond stateless applications to stateful workloads, the need for persistent storage is foundational - something customers routinely cite as a top pain point. In his session at @DevOpsSummit at 21st Cloud Expo, Bill Borsari, Head of Systems Engineering at Datera, explored how organizations can reap the bene...
"NetApp's vision is how we help organizations manage data - delivering the right data in the right place, in the right time, to the people who need it, and doing it agnostic to what the platform is," explained Josh Atwell, Developer Advocate for NetApp, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at 20th Cloud Expo, held June 6-8, 2017, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY.
The Jevons Paradox suggests that when technological advances increase efficiency of a resource, it results in an overall increase in consumption. Writing on the increased use of coal as a result of technological improvements, 19th-century economist William Stanley Jevons found that these improvements led to the development of new ways to utilize coal. In his session at 19th Cloud Expo, Mark Thiele, Chief Strategy Officer for Apcera, compared the Jevons Paradox to modern-day enterprise IT, examin...
In his session at 20th Cloud Expo, Mike Johnston, an infrastructure engineer at Supergiant.io, discussed how to use Kubernetes to set up a SaaS infrastructure for your business. Mike Johnston is an infrastructure engineer at Supergiant.io with over 12 years of experience designing, deploying, and maintaining server and workstation infrastructure at all scales. He has experience with brick and mortar data centers as well as cloud providers like Digital Ocean, Amazon Web Services, and Rackspace. H...
Skeuomorphism usually means retaining existing design cues in something new that doesn’t actually need them. However, the concept of skeuomorphism can be thought of as relating more broadly to applying existing patterns to new technologies that, in fact, cry out for new approaches. In his session at DevOps Summit, Gordon Haff, Senior Cloud Strategy Marketing and Evangelism Manager at Red Hat, will discuss why containers should be paired with new architectural practices such as microservices ra...
In his session at 20th Cloud Expo, Scott Davis, CTO of Embotics, discussed how automation can provide the dynamic management required to cost-effectively deliver microservices and container solutions at scale. He also discussed how flexible automation is the key to effectively bridging and seamlessly coordinating both IT and developer needs for component orchestration across disparate clouds – an increasingly important requirement at today’s multi-cloud enterprise.
The Software Defined Data Center (SDDC), which enables organizations to seamlessly run in a hybrid cloud model (public + private cloud), is here to stay. IDC estimates that the software-defined networking market will be valued at $3.7 billion by 2016. Security is a key component and benefit of the SDDC, and offers an opportunity to build security 'from the ground up' and weave it into the environment from day one. In his session at 16th Cloud Expo, Reuven Harrison, CTO and Co-Founder of Tufin, ...
DevOps is often described as a combination of technology and culture. Without both, DevOps isn't complete. However, applying the culture to outdated technology is a recipe for disaster; as response times grow and connections between teams are delayed by technology, the culture will die. A Nutanix Enterprise Cloud has many benefits that provide the needed base for a true DevOps paradigm. In their Day 3 Keynote at 20th Cloud Expo, Chris Brown, a Solutions Marketing Manager at Nutanix, and Mark Lav...
Many organizations are now looking to DevOps maturity models to gauge their DevOps adoption and compare their maturity to their peers. However, as enterprise organizations rush to adopt DevOps, moving past experimentation to embrace it at scale, they are in danger of falling into the trap that they have fallen into time and time again. Unfortunately, we've seen this movie before, and we know how it ends: badly.
TCP (Transmission Control Protocol) is a common and reliable transmission protocol on the Internet. TCP was introduced in the 70s by Stanford University for US Defense to establish connectivity between distributed systems to maintain a backup of defense information. At the time, TCP was introduced to communicate amongst a selected set of devices for a smaller dataset over shorter distances. As the Internet evolved, however, the number of applications and users, and the types of data accessed and...