Using Mule as the Foundation for New SOA Infrastructure
How Scripps Networks Manages Media Assets with Mule
By: Ross Mason
Nov. 26, 2008 09:45 AM
"One of our biggest challenges was in figuring out how to accommodate business process changes," said Kamlesh Sharma, a Scripps Networks software engineer. "Our asset registration workflow requires a lot of changes, so we needed a solution that was easily configurable to add or delete interactions to accommodate those frequent business changes."
In its search for a suitable solution, Scripps Networks had five primary integration requirements. First, it needed decoupled services for ease of reuse and flexibility. Second, it needed to accommodate frequent business process changes. Next, the solution had to integrate with legacy and third-party applications. It also required robust error handling for multiple exception types. Last, it needed a rich Web-based user interface for human workflow elements.
Scripps Networks decided on Mule - the open source Enterprise Service Bus (ESB) - as a core element in its service-oriented infrastructure for media asset management.
The Power of Decoupled Services
For example, to register a new media asset in the system, a user enters it into the domain application interface, where detailed metadata for the asset is stored. The domain application calls the Mule-hosted asset registration service via a SOAP interface, which performs initial validation and then uses a JMS queue to register the asset in the system and update the asset repository. A final message is sent to a JMS topic, which sends the "add asset" event to the indexing application, scheduler, and any other applications that are interested in the event.
Because the infrastructure is service-oriented, with separate JMS queues for each component, any Mule-hosted service can be easily scaled simply by provisioning additional instances of Mule. The team can also easily make changes to any of the services, or even to the workflow, without negatively impacting the system or creating an undue maintenance burden.
Solving the Error Recovery Issue
The benefits of using Mule are readily apparent at Scripps Networks. The lightweight Mule-based services scale easily by simply provisioning additional instances of Mule. Easy configuration allows for changes in the workflow, increasing business agility and minimizing maintenance costs. Mule's out-of-the-box exception strategies simplify error handling. Finally, its simplified programming model supports the easy creation of rich browser-based user interfaces.
Using Mule as the foundation for its new SOA infrastructure for media asset management, Scripps Networks can now better handle the increasing proliferation of content sources, channels, and media formats. Not only can Scripps deliver content to millions of viewers, but all of the accompanying metadata and digital assets (images, thumbnails, text) is brought together and delivered in a consistent and coordinated fashion.
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