Welcome!

Microservices Expo Authors: Pat Romanski, Madhavan Krishnan, VP, Cloud Solutions, Virtusa, Jason Bloomberg, Liz McMillan, Don MacVittie

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.

@MicroservicesExpo Stories
"We're developing a software that is based on the cloud environment and we are providing those services to corporations and the general public," explained Seungmin Kim, CEO/CTO of SM Systems Inc., in this SYS-CON.tv interview at 21st Cloud Expo, held Oct 31 – Nov 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA.
The cloud revolution in enterprises has very clearly crossed the phase of proof-of-concepts into a truly mainstream adoption. One of most popular enterprise-wide initiatives currently going on are “cloud migration” programs of some kind or another. Finding business value for these programs is not hard to fathom – they include hyperelasticity in infrastructure consumption, subscription based models, and agility derived from rapid speed of deployment of applications. These factors will continue to...
"This all sounds great. But it's just not realistic." This is what a group of five senior IT executives told me during a workshop I held not long ago. We were working through an exercise on the organizational characteristics necessary to successfully execute a digital transformation, and the group was doing their ‘readout.' The executives loved everything we discussed and agreed that if such an environment existed, it would make transformation much easier. They just didn't believe it was reali...
"CA has been doing a lot of things in the area of DevOps. Now we have a complete set of tool sets in order to enable customers to go all the way from planning to development to testing down to release into the operations," explained Aruna Ravichandran, Vice President of Global Marketing and Strategy at CA Technologies, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at DevOps Summit at 21st Cloud Expo, held Oct 31 – Nov 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA.
We just came off of a review of a product that handles both containers and virtual machines in the same interface. Under the covers, implementation of containers defaults to LXC, though recently Docker support was added. When reading online, or searching for information, increasingly we see “Container Management” products listed as competitors to Docker, when in reality things like Rocket, LXC/LXD, and Virtualization are Dockers competitors. After doing some looking around, we have decided tha...
Agile has finally jumped the technology shark, expanding outside the software world. Enterprises are now increasingly adopting Agile practices across their organizations in order to successfully navigate the disruptive waters that threaten to drown them. In our quest for establishing change as a core competency in our organizations, this business-centric notion of Agile is an essential component of Agile Digital Transformation. In the years since the publication of the Agile Manifesto, the conn...
"Codigm is based on the cloud and we are here to explore marketing opportunities in America. Our mission is to make an ecosystem of the SW environment that anyone can understand, learn, teach, and develop the SW on the cloud," explained Sung Tae Ryu, CEO of Codigm, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at 21st Cloud Expo, held Oct 31 – Nov 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA.
Many enterprise and government IT organizations are realizing the benefits of cloud computing by extending IT delivery and management processes across private and public cloud services. But they are often challenged with balancing the need for centralized cloud governance without stifling user-driven innovation. This strategy requires an approach that fundamentally reshapes how IT is delivered today, shifting the focus from infrastructure to services aggregation, and mixing and matching the bes...
While we understand Agile as a means to accelerate innovation, manage uncertainty and cope with ambiguity, many are inclined to think that it conflicts with the objectives of traditional engineering projects, such as building a highway, skyscraper or power plant. These are plan-driven and predictive projects that seek to avoid any uncertainty. This type of thinking, however, is short-sighted. Agile approaches are valuable in controlling uncertainty because they constrain the complexity that ste...
Enterprises are adopting Kubernetes to accelerate the development and the delivery of cloud-native applications. However, sharing a Kubernetes cluster between members of the same team can be challenging. And, sharing clusters across multiple teams is even harder. Kubernetes offers several constructs to help implement segmentation and isolation. However, these primitives can be complex to understand and apply. As a result, it’s becoming common for enterprises to end up with several clusters. Thi...
"Opsani helps the enterprise adopt containers, help them move their infrastructure into this modern world of DevOps, accelerate the delivery of new features into production, and really get them going on the container path," explained Ross Schibler, CEO of Opsani, and Peter Nickolov, CTO of Opsani, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at DevOps Summit at 21st Cloud Expo, held Oct 31 – Nov 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA.
The nature of test environments is inherently temporary—you set up an environment, run through an automated test suite, and then tear down the environment. If you can reduce the cycle time for this process down to hours or minutes, then you may be able to cut your test environment budgets considerably. The impact of cloud adoption on test environments is a valuable advancement in both cost savings and agility. The on-demand model takes advantage of public cloud APIs requiring only payment for t...
Cavirin Systems has just announced C2, a SaaS offering designed to bring continuous security assessment and remediation to hybrid environments, containers, and data centers. Cavirin C2 is deployed within Amazon Web Services (AWS) and features a flexible licensing model for easy scalability and clear pay-as-you-go pricing. Although native to AWS, it also supports assessment and remediation of virtual or container instances within Microsoft Azure, Google Cloud Platform (GCP), or on-premise. By dr...
Let's do a visualization exercise. Imagine it's December 31, 2018, and you're ringing in the New Year with your friends and family. You think back on everything that you accomplished in the last year: your company's revenue is through the roof thanks to the success of your product, and you were promoted to Lead Developer. 2019 is poised to be an even bigger year for your company because you have the tools and insight to scale as quickly as demand requires. You're a happy human, and it's not just...
identify the sources of event storms and performance anomalies will require automated, real-time root-cause analysis. I think Enterprise Management Associates said it well: “The data and metrics collected at instrumentation points across the application ecosystem are essential to performance monitoring and root cause analysis. However, analytics capable of transforming data and metrics into an application-focused report or dashboards are what separates actual application monitoring from relat...
The benefits of automation are well documented; it increases productivity, cuts cost and minimizes errors. It eliminates repetitive manual tasks, freeing us up to be more innovative. By that logic, surely, we should automate everything possible, right? So, is attempting to automate everything a sensible - even feasible - goal? In a word: no. Consider this your short guide as to what to automate and what not to automate.
DevOps teams have more on their plate than ever. As infrastructure needs grow, so does the time required to ensure that everything's running smoothly. This makes automation crucial - especially in the server and network monitoring world. Server monitoring tools can save teams time by automating server management and providing real-time performance updates. As budgets reset for the New Year, there is no better time to implement a new server monitoring tool (or re-evaluate your current solution)....
While some developers care passionately about how data centers and clouds are architected, for most, it is only the end result that matters. To the majority of companies, technology exists to solve a business problem, and only delivers value when it is solving that problem. 2017 brings the mainstream adoption of containers for production workloads. In his session at 21st Cloud Expo, Ben McCormack, VP of Operations at Evernote, discussed how data centers of the future will be managed, how the p...
High-velocity engineering teams are applying not only continuous delivery processes, but also lessons in experimentation from established leaders like Amazon, Netflix, and Facebook. These companies have made experimentation a foundation for their release processes, allowing them to try out major feature releases and redesigns within smaller groups before making them broadly available. In his session at 21st Cloud Expo, Brian Lucas, Senior Staff Engineer at Optimizely, discussed how by using ne...
Digital transformation has changed the way users interact with the world, and the traditional healthcare experience no longer meets rising consumer expectations. Enterprise Health Clouds (EHCs) are designed to easily and securely deliver the smart and engaging digital health experience that patients expect today, while ensuring the compliance and data integration that care providers require. Jikku Venkat