Click here to close now.

Welcome!

SOA & WOA Authors: Pat Romanski, David Sprott, Roger Strukhoff, Laura Heritage, Trevor Parsons

Related Topics: SOA & WOA, Java

SOA & WOA: Article

Architecture Evaluation Framework for ORM Technologies

Enterprise architects must use this framework to decide on the appropriate ORM technology to use

Object Relational Technologies form the backbone of most of the enterprise Java applications. Choosing the appropriate technology however is one of the most important decisions for an enterprise architect. More often than not, such a decision is either a hit or miss. Mistakes done in selecting the appropriate technology results in performance bottlenecks, lack of scalability, unreliable transaction handling etc.

More than the problem with the specific ORM technology, it's the suitability of that technology to the underlying business needs and non-functional requirements. This article aims to establish an objective architecture evaluation framework for evaluating which ORM technology best fits your project needs. Based on the requirements, one or the other technology may be appropriate.

Flexibility
For an ORM framework to be flexible, the following considerations are important

  1. Do multiple options exist to access and manipulate data
    Should the project need multiple ways to access data. This would include object based way of querying data, using native SQL, using ORM specific natural query language. The architect must decide the importance of each of these methods and evaluate this parameter.
  2. Does the ORM tool supports extending the various default data types, with user defined data types
    Project needs change and so there are requirements to add custom data types. The ORM tool must support this feature, should you envisage the changing needs of your project.
  3. Ability to invoke interceptors on the data before it is saved, accessed or deleted
    Enterprise projects often need to add additional business validations or business logic over a period of time. Many of these changes need to be cross-functional. The ORM tool must have mechanism to intercept requests and inject such validations. This is an important factor if you foresee changes happening after the production deployment.
  4. Programmatic and Declarative Configurations
    The ORM framework must provide multiple ways for it to be configured. This is important again from the perspective of how flexible the tool needs to be.

Ease of Development

  1. Ability to create domain model from the database tables
    This is an important consideration if you already have database tables and you need to create domain model out of it through automatic code generation. The ORM framework must provide the appropriate utility for doing that.
  2. Ability to generate database tables from the domain model
    This is an important factor when the domain model has already been created as part of MDD and database needs to be created. This would ensure that there are minimal errors during generation of database schema
  3. Ability to specify natural query language for retrieval
    Typically ORM tools provide a criteria API to fire object oriented queries. However based on development experience, it is understood that this is not the best way of visualizing large and complex queries. If this is a criteria important for your project, you must ensure the availability of natural query language with the ORM tool. Support for native SQL is also important under this consideration

Reliability

  1. Support for JTA transactions
    An enterprise ORM framework must support JTA transactions. This support should be both declarative as well as programmatic. This is the most important consideration for evaluating the reliability of the platform as incorrect transaction handling would be catastrophic
  2. Support for Batch Processing
    Looping through individual transactions for batch processing is a perfect way to crash your system. The ORM tool must support JDBC Batch updates for batch processing.
  3. Support for Caching
    Caching is important both from scalability as well as reliability perspective. Support for integrating third party cache should be an important consideration for all enterprise projects. The cache support must be distributable across the cluster as well

Scalability and Performance

  1. Ability to use container or third party connection pools
    Connection pools should provide ability to scale up to increased load
  2. Ability to support legacy code
    If you need support for legacy code, the ORM tool must support native invocation of stored procedures
  3. Ability to optimize queries for performance
    It is very difficult to optimize a two page query written using criteria API. Infact for many complex scenarios for an enterprise application, there is a need to fire native SQL queries. These queries are also easy to optimize especially by the DBAs. If performance is a critical requirement, this factor must be considered
  4. Ability to cache queries and query results
    This is an important criterion for scalability

Maintainability

  1. Ability to modify domain model or DB model with minimal changes to underlying code
    This is an important factor if you foresee such changes
  2. Ability to log the framework internals
    During development as well as during production failures, there is an urgent need to debug to identify the issue. Many a times the issue may lie with the ORM framework itself. This is an important consideration for any enterprise application.
  3. Integration with JMX for runtime statistics
    If instrumenting the application during production under consideration, this is a must have feature for your ORM tool.

Essential Features

  1. Ability to support multiple relationships
    These would include one-to-many, many-to-many and many-to-one relationships
  2. Ability to support lazy loading
    This is important when you need to eagerly load a chain of nested objects. This feature is useful when underlying data store is not huge.
  3. Ability to support sorting and pagination
    These features are a must for search based applications
  4. Declarative security
    Authorizing different users to execute different queries can easily be achieved using this framework.
  5. Support for Dynamic SQL
    For any non-trivial application dynamic SQL is a must

Conclusion
An enterprise architect can use the above criteria to evaluate the most suitable ORM framework for his application. Each of the criteria should be judged with respect to the application requirements. A scoring model which gives weightage to respective parameters and computes the final scores for each of the applicable ORM tools is the right procedure to use the above architectural framework.

More Stories By Mahesh K Punjabi

Mahesh K Punjabi is a senior technology architect with Infosys Technologies Ltd. He has extensive experience designing enterprise applications using Java and multitude of RIA technologies including Flex and GWT. His other passions include photography and speaking with Toastmasters' clubs.

@ThingsExpo Stories
Docker is an excellent platform for organizations interested in running microservices. It offers portability and consistency between development and production environments, quick provisioning times, and a simple way to isolate services. In his session at DevOps Summit at 16th Cloud Expo, Shannon Williams, co-founder of Rancher Labs, will walk through these and other benefits of using Docker to run microservices, and provide an overview of RancherOS, a minimalist distribution of Linux designed expressly to run Docker. He will also discuss Rancher, an orchestration and service discovery platf...
Containers and microservices have become topics of intense interest throughout the cloud developer and enterprise IT communities. Accordingly, attendees at the upcoming 16th Cloud Expo at the Javits Center in New York June 9-11 will find fresh new content in a new track called PaaS | Containers & Microservices Containers are not being considered for the first time by the cloud community, but a current era of re-consideration has pushed them to the top of the cloud agenda. With the launch of Docker's initial release in March of 2013, interest was revved up several notches. Then late last...
SYS-CON Events announced today that Dyn, the worldwide leader in Internet Performance, will exhibit at SYS-CON's 16th International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on June 9-11, 2015, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY. Dyn is a cloud-based Internet Performance company. Dyn helps companies monitor, control, and optimize online infrastructure for an exceptional end-user experience. Through a world-class network and unrivaled, objective intelligence into Internet conditions, Dyn ensures traffic gets delivered faster, safer, and more reliably than ever.
CommVault has announced that top industry technology visionaries have joined its leadership team. The addition of leaders from companies such as Oracle, SAP, Microsoft, Cisco, PwC and EMC signals the continuation of CommVault Next, the company's business transformation for sales, go-to-market strategies, pricing and packaging and technology innovation. The company also announced that it had realigned its structure to create business units to more directly match how customers evaluate, deploy, operate, and purchase technology.
In their session at @ThingsExpo, Shyam Varan Nath, Principal Architect at GE, and Ibrahim Gokcen, who leads GE's advanced IoT analytics, focused on the Internet of Things / Industrial Internet and how to make it operational for business end-users. Learn about the challenges posed by machine and sensor data and how to marry it with enterprise data. They also discussed the tips and tricks to provide the Industrial Internet as an end-user consumable service using Big Data Analytics and Industrial Cloud.
Performance is the intersection of power, agility, control, and choice. If you value performance, and more specifically consistent performance, you need to look beyond simple virtualized compute. Many factors need to be considered to create a truly performant environment. In his General Session at 15th Cloud Expo, Harold Hannon, Sr. Software Architect at SoftLayer, discussed how to take advantage of a multitude of compute options and platform features to make cloud the cornerstone of your online presence.
The explosion of connected devices / sensors is creating an ever-expanding set of new and valuable data. In parallel the emerging capability of Big Data technologies to store, access, analyze, and react to this data is producing changes in business models under the umbrella of the Internet of Things (IoT). In particular within the Insurance industry, IoT appears positioned to enable deep changes by altering relationships between insurers, distributors, and the insured. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Michael Sick, a Senior Manager and Big Data Architect within Ernst and Young's Financial Servi...
Even as cloud and managed services grow increasingly central to business strategy and performance, challenges remain. The biggest sticking point for companies seeking to capitalize on the cloud is data security. Keeping data safe is an issue in any computing environment, and it has been a focus since the earliest days of the cloud revolution. Understandably so: a lot can go wrong when you allow valuable information to live outside the firewall. Recent revelations about government snooping, along with a steady stream of well-publicized data breaches, only add to the uncertainty
The explosion of connected devices / sensors is creating an ever-expanding set of new and valuable data. In parallel the emerging capability of Big Data technologies to store, access, analyze, and react to this data is producing changes in business models under the umbrella of the Internet of Things (IoT). In particular within the Insurance industry, IoT appears positioned to enable deep changes by altering relationships between insurers, distributors, and the insured. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Michael Sick, a Senior Manager and Big Data Architect within Ernst and Young's Financial Servi...
PubNub on Monday has announced that it is partnering with IBM to bring its sophisticated real-time data streaming and messaging capabilities to Bluemix, IBM’s cloud development platform. “Today’s app and connected devices require an always-on connection, but building a secure, scalable solution from the ground up is time consuming, resource intensive, and error-prone,” said Todd Greene, CEO of PubNub. “PubNub enables web, mobile and IoT developers building apps on IBM Bluemix to quickly add scalable realtime functionality with minimal effort and cost.”
The Internet of Things (IoT) is rapidly in the process of breaking from its heretofore relatively obscure enterprise applications (such as plant floor control and supply chain management) and going mainstream into the consumer space. More and more creative folks are interconnecting everyday products such as household items, mobile devices, appliances and cars, and unleashing new and imaginative scenarios. We are seeing a lot of excitement around applications in home automation, personal fitness, and in-car entertainment and this excitement will bleed into other areas. On the commercial side, m...
Sensor-enabled things are becoming more commonplace, precursors to a larger and more complex framework that most consider the ultimate promise of the IoT: things connecting, interacting, sharing, storing, and over time perhaps learning and predicting based on habits, behaviors, location, preferences, purchases and more. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Tom Wesselman, Director of Communications Ecosystem Architecture at Plantronics, will examine the still nascent IoT as it is coalescing, including what it is today, what it might ultimately be, the role of wearable tech, and technology gaps stil...
Every innovation or invention was originally a daydream. You like to imagine a “what-if” scenario. And with all the attention being paid to the so-called Internet of Things (IoT) you don’t have to stretch the imagination too much to see how this may impact commercial and homeowners insurance. We’re beyond the point of accepting this as a leap of faith. The groundwork is laid. Now it’s just a matter of time. We can thank the inventors of smart thermostats for developing a practical business application that everyone can relate to. Gone are the salad days of smart home apps, the early chalkb...
With several hundred implementations of IoT-enabled solutions in the past 12 months alone, this session will focus on experience over the art of the possible. Many can only imagine the most advanced telematics platform ever deployed, supporting millions of customers, producing tens of thousands events or GBs per trip, and hundreds of TBs per month. With the ability to support a billion sensor events per second, over 30PB of warm data for analytics, and hundreds of PBs for an data analytics archive, in his session at @ThingsExpo, Jim Kaskade, Vice President and General Manager, Big Data & Ana...
In the consumer IoT, everything is new, and the IT world of bits and bytes holds sway. But industrial and commercial realms encompass operational technology (OT) that has been around for 25 or 50 years. This grittier, pre-IP, more hands-on world has much to gain from Industrial IoT (IIoT) applications and principles. But adding sensors and wireless connectivity won’t work in environments that demand unwavering reliability and performance. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Ron Sege, CEO of Echelon, will discuss how as enterprise IT embraces other IoT-related technology trends, enterprises with i...
When it comes to the Internet of Things, hooking up will get you only so far. If you want customers to commit, you need to go beyond simply connecting products. You need to use the devices themselves to transform how you engage with every customer and how you manage the entire product lifecycle. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Sean Lorenz, Technical Product Manager for Xively at LogMeIn, will show how “product relationship management” can help you leverage your connected devices and the data they generate about customer usage and product performance to deliver extremely compelling and reliabl...
The Internet of Things (IoT) is causing data centers to become radically decentralized and atomized within a new paradigm known as “fog computing.” To support IoT applications, such as connected cars and smart grids, data centers' core functions will be decentralized out to the network's edges and endpoints (aka “fogs”). As this trend takes hold, Big Data analytics platforms will focus on high-volume log analysis (aka “logs”) and rely heavily on cognitive-computing algorithms (aka “cogs”) to make sense of it all.
One of the biggest impacts of the Internet of Things is and will continue to be on data; specifically data volume, management and usage. Companies are scrambling to adapt to this new and unpredictable data reality with legacy infrastructure that cannot handle the speed and volume of data. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Don DeLoach, CEO and president of Infobright, will discuss how companies need to rethink their data infrastructure to participate in the IoT, including: Data storage: Understanding the kinds of data: structured, unstructured, big/small? Analytics: What kinds and how responsiv...
Since 2008 and for the first time in history, more than half of humans live in urban areas, urging cities to become “smart.” Today, cities can leverage the wide availability of smartphones combined with new technologies such as Beacons or NFC to connect their urban furniture and environment to create citizen-first services that improve transportation, way-finding and information delivery. In her session at @ThingsExpo, Laetitia Gazel-Anthoine, CEO of Connecthings, will focus on successful use cases.
The Workspace-as-a-Service (WaaS) market will grow to $6.4B by 2018. In his session at 16th Cloud Expo, Seth Bostock, CEO of IndependenceIT, will begin by walking the audience through the evolution of Workspace as-a-Service, where it is now vs. where it going. To look beyond the desktop we must understand exactly what WaaS is, who the users are, and where it is going in the future. IT departments, ISVs and service providers must look to workflow and automation capabilities to adapt to growing demand and the rapidly changing workspace model.