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RED HAT JBOSS BPM SUITE 6 COMPARED

TO BONITASOFT BONITA BPM 6.3


COMPETITIVE REVIEW - 11/2014

MORE INFO INTRODUCTION


Red Hat JBoss BPM Suite 6 This competitive review examines Red Hat JBoss BPM Suite 6 and Bonitasoft Corporations Bonita
has the essential tools that BPM 6.3. It considers strategic product and service elements that appear in both business process
business users and devel- management (BPM) solutions. Red Hat offers this report to help customers determine important
opers use to capture business selection criteria.
processes, policies, and rules,
Bruce C. Silver, a BPM expert1 observed:
and to measure the results
of business activities. While they may look and sound the same, especially when you listen to the salespeople, BPM
software solutions dont all do the same thing. There are major differences and some vendor
Red Hat JBoss BPM Suite 6
solutions will work for you while others wont. Getting a good fit means doing your homework to
includes both business
understand just what kind of solution you need.2
rules and complex event
processing engines. Now consider the following statement by Bonitasoft Corporation about the Bonita BPM solution:

Red Hat JBoss BPM Suite 6 With commercial customers in 72 countries, Bonita BPM Community Edition deployments in 193
can be integrated into countries, and more than 2.75 million downloads worldwide, Bonita BPM is the most widely used
your enterprise using BPM solution in the world.3
service-oriented architecture
What happens to the numbers if only recent versions are examined? In this case, the source code
(SOA) principles.
to JBoss BPM Suite 6 has been downloaded over 80,000 times while Bonita BPM 6.3 has been
Try Red Hat JBoss BPM Suite downloaded less than 500 times.4 These numbers show there is significant interest in Red Hat JBoss
6 in the OpenShift by Red Hat BPM Suite. The reasons for this can be many, and this white paper presents information on Red Hat
public cloud. and JBoss BPM Suite in four areas:

Red Hat JBoss BPM Suite 6 is Open source support


a fully open source product.
Cloud readiness

System completeness

Available resources

This papers primary purpose is to help customers get a more complete picture of Bonita BPM before
selecting a BPM solution.

1 About - Business Process Watch. Business Process Watch. N.p., n.d. Web. 26 Sept. 2014. <http://brsilver.com/about/>.
2 Silver, Bruce C., as summarized in Selection Criteria for BPM Software. Web log post. BPM Institute. BrainStorm Group,
Web. <http://www.bpminstitute.org/resources/articles/selection-criteria-bpm-software>.
3 Bonitasoft. Bonitasoft Continues Impressive Growth in 2013. Bonitasoft. 25 Feb. 2014. Web. <http://www.bonitasoft.
facebook.com/redhatinc com/for-you-to-read/news-blog/bonitasoft-continues-impressive-growth-2013>.
@redhatnews
4 As reported by SourceForge.net for the jBPM and Bonitasoft projects, respectively, as of June 20, 2014.
linkedin.com/company/red-hat

redhat.com
OPEN SOURCE SUPPORT
Red Hat believes that open source creates better software. Everyone collaborates, and the best
technology wins. Contributors dont come from just one company, but come from everywhere and
can be anyone from anywhere around the world. As a result, the open source model builds high-
quality, secure, easy-to-integrate software. And it does it at a vastly accelerated pace and often
at a lower cost. 5

JBoss BPM Suite, at the core, is an open source, light-weight, extensible workflow engine written
purely in Java. All components of JBoss BPM Suite are discussed and developed in an open forum
that can lead to vigorous debate about incorporating new technologies on common hardware com-
ponents. Red Hat believes that subscribers get the benefit of these diverse perspectives when using
JBoss BPM Suite.

Bonitasoft also has an open source philosophy:


Red Hat JBoss BPM Suite 6
includes access to the source Bonitasoft believes in the open software movement to encourage education and adoption of
code for all components. new technologies, including Business Process Management (BPM) software.6

The definition of open source has expanded. Its more relevant today to the enterprise than it was
10 years ago because it means more than source code. It is an approach to developing software,
building a company and most importantly offering value to organizations. Our mission is to democ-
ratize the BPM market so that all organizations can use this empowering technology. Further,
todays tech ecosystem is more complexyou have cloud, on-premise, big data, and more. The
open source approach gives maximum freedom to make smart and unique software decisions.7

Further research into Bonitasoft business practices suggests some differences between its philoso-
phy and its practice with free and open source software. For example, of the 48 features found in
one or more of Bonita BPMs four editions, only 18 of those features are part of the open source
distribution. The other 30 features, which include enterprise capabilities such as data management,
lightweight directory access protocol (LDAP) synchronization, clustering, and reporting, are closed
source and only available by paying a license fee.8

Perhaps a more accurate description of Bonita BPM is open core where some components are
open source software while other components must be purchased. All software components in
JBoss BPM Suite are open source.

This disparity is apparent when calculating the total cost of ownership (TCO) of a BPM solution. In
addition to many other factors that affect TCO, a truly open source solution lowers costs because
development is amortized across a wide base of contributors. Adherence to open standards reduces
vendor lock-in, and an open source license gives free access to the products entire code base. Open
source also allows customers to seek the best prices for resources and tools. Taken together, these
factors help to drive down the TCO for JBoss BPM Suite. However, since Bonita BPM is open-core,
only a portion of these benefits accrue to Bonita BPM customers and to Bonita BPMs TCO.

5 For a more expansive treatment of Red Hats open-source philosophy, see: Why Open Source? Red Hat. Web.
<http://www.redhat.com/about/whoisredhat/opensource.html>.
6 Vision. Bonitasoft. Web. <http://www.bonitasoft.com/be-part-of-it/vision>.
7 IT Briefcase Exclusive Interview: The Glue That Holds Modern Systems Together with Mac McConnell,
Bonitasoft. Interview. IT Briefcase. Virtual Star Media, 21 Nov. 2013. Web. <http://www.itbriefcase.net/
interview-the-glue-that-holds-modern-systems-together>.
8 How We Do It. Bonitasoft. Web. <http://www.bonitasoft.com/how-we-do-it#how-we-do-it_editions>.

redhat.com COMPETITIVE REVIEW Red Hat JBoss BPM Suite 6 compared to Bonitasoft Bonita BPM 6.3 2
CLOUD READINESS
Red Hat is fully committed to cloud readiness. Cloud-based offerings are one of the companys
What are your plans for using top-three strategic objectives.9 Red Hats cloud strategy can include acquisitions, as in the December
business process management 2012 purchase of ManageIQ, Inc. The addition of ManageIQ enhanced the management, reporting,
in the cloud? inspection, audit, utilization and trend analysis, and orchestration capabilities of OpenShift by
Red Hat. OpenShift lets customers easily deploy Red Hat applications on private clouds, public
What cloud features will you clouds, and virtualized infrastuctures.
look for?
JBoss BPM Suite is now in trials with its bpmPaaS cartridge on the OpenShift platform. bpmPaaS
supports process modeling, business activity monitoring, process simulation, and the ability to
dynamically configure automation and data without changing code. Each of these capabilities ties
into a cloud-based process engine, simplifying the definition, execution, and evolution of business
processes. When the trial period is complete, Red Hat intends to make a supported JBoss BPM Suite
instance available as a subscription service.

By comparison, here is Bonitasofts approach to the cloud, as noted in an interview:

We dont feel behind the times, as we are already cloud-enabled. Customers are deploying their
process application to either private or public clouds. That is a bit of a confusing thing for the BPM
industrywhat does cloud-enabled mean? Is it designing the process in the cloud? Or running
the process in the cloud? With Bonitasoft, you can run your process application in the cloud. We
have not seen demand from companies wanting to design their process in the cloud, and we dont
think thats going to change. You lose significant functionality if you have to shift your very high-
powered process design studio to the cloud. Instead customers want to work with their teams
designing their process in a local environment, and then deploy to the cloud so it can be accessed
from anywhere. Bonita already supports that.10

Bonitasofts commitment to cloud might be a product of engineering decisions made before cloud
became the business driver that it is today.

Before Bonitasoft become its own company, the Bonita BPM team built Bonitas modeling module,
Bonita Studio, in the Eclipse11 development environment as a rich-client application.12 Eclipse applica-
tions cannot run in web browsers, so it is impossible to deploy current Bonita BPM modeling tools in
the cloud. This means that a cloud-enabled Bonita BPM solution is really two separate environments:
one for modeling, the other for execution. Models built in Bonita Studio must be exported from a
users desktop and then uploaded to the Bonita BPM engine.

9 Form 10-K. Red Hat, 2013. Web.


<http://www.sec.gov/Archives/edgar/data/1087423/000119312514157171/d671918d10k.htm>.
1 0 Bonitasoft, Part 2: Interview with Marketing VP Mac McConnell. Interview by Predrag Jakovljevic. TEC Blog.
Technology Evaluation Centers, Inc., 2 Aug. 2013. Web. <http://www.technologyevaluation.com/research/article/
Bonitasoft-Part-2-Interview-with-Marketing-VP-Mac-McConnell.html>.
11 Farrance, Mickey. Bonitasoft Joins Eclipse Foundation. Web log post. Bonitasoft, Inc., 3 Mar. 2014. Web. <http://www.
bonitasoft.com/for-you-to-read/news-blog/bonitasoft-joins-eclipse-foundation>.
12 Eclipse (software). Wikipedia. Wikimedia Foundation, Web. <http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/
Eclipse_%28software%29#Rich_Client_Platform>..

redhat.com COMPETITIVE REVIEW Red Hat JBoss BPM Suite 6 compared to Bonitasoft Bonita BPM 6.3 3
In contrast, Red Hat believes that BPM modeling and operation work better in the cloud. Our
bpmPaaS cartridge offers seamless definition and execution capabilities, accessible from a single
browser-based interface.

The promise of BPM in the cloud has also been discussed and studied in academia. One such work,
a thesis, concludes:

Cloud BPM may actually provide innovation in the real sense of the term, as it permits the develop-
ment of processes that respond in real time to changes in the business environment. 13

The keys to cloud BPM are the real-time component, the seamless architecture, and a single-browser
experience for rapid process adjustment and deployment. Red Hat has invested in the promise of
cloud-based BPM. Customers using a Bonita BPM solution would not experience the full benefits of
cloud-ready BPM.

SYSTEM COMPLETENESS
Red Hat JBoss BPM Suite offers more than just business process management. It has product
What advantages can your strengths in complementary areas such as complex event processing (CEP) and service-oriented
business achieve by responding architecture (SOA). The deep connection between CEP and BPM has been the subject of both
to complex events with consis- academic discussion14 and business innovation.15 CEPs focus on event analysis and correlation
tent and predictable processes? complements BPMs focus on process modeling and execution. A smooth combination of the two
produces a sophisticated and effective reflection of real-world processes.

SOA integration adds another dimension: service orchestration. BPM linked to SOA ensures consis-
tency in policies and service levels through automated workflows, automated provisioning, and auto-
mated change management. Integrated BPM and SOA systems can scale up or down based on the
needs of each application because service orchestration provides centralized management of the
resource pool, including billing, metering, and chargeback for consumption.16

Red Hat increases the effectiveness of JBoss BPM Suite by incorporating an enterprise-capable CEP
engine as well as a business rules engine into a single, integrated platform. This allows JBoss BPM
Suite to process significant volumes of events to detect specific patterns of related activities. The
correlation of events and activity patterns constitutes triggers for various business processes. The
freedom to model the inputs to business processes enables more comprehensive solutions than may
be possible with pure-play BPM systems that either lack rule-based event processing or are inade-
quately integrated with a third-party solution.

Red Hat also supplies the software infrastructure of an enterprise-ready service-oriented architec-
ture, and these components are fully integrated with JBoss BPM. For example, respective application
programming interfaces (APIs) for JBoss BPM Suite and JBoss Fuse Service Works have complimen-
tary methods. This allows service requests flowing through the SOA infrastructure to call to a JBoss
BPM Suite environment. And BPM Suite business processes can invoke JBoss SOA composites. The
result is service orchestration.

13 Railton, Jafar. Cloud Based Business Process Management Systems. Thesis. City University London, 2011. Slideshare.
net. Web. p. 74. <http://www.slideshare.net/jr0/cloud-enabled-business-process-management-systems>.
14 Janiesch, Christian, Martin Matzner, and Oliver Mller. A Blueprint for Event-Driven Business Activity Management.
Business Process Management, 9th International Conference, BPM 2011 (2011): 17-28.
15 For a concise definition of CEP and a list of CEP vendors, see Complex Event Processing. Wikipedia. Wikimedia
Foundation, 06 June 2014. Web. <http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Complex_event_processing>.
16 Orchestration (computing). Wikipedia. Wikimedia Foundation, 06 Mar. 2014. Web. 20 June 2014. <http://en.wikipedia.
org/wiki/Orchestration_%28computing%29>.

redhat.com COMPETITIVE REVIEW Red Hat JBoss BPM Suite 6 compared to Bonitasoft Bonita BPM 6.3 4
In comparison, Bonitasofts definition of a complete system is alluded to here:
What system integration flows
do you have or want that could We are really big fans and supporters of other open source BPM projects. The big difference is
be enhanced with consistent that most of those open source BPM players do not have complete BPM suites. They dont have
and predictable processes and robust studio functionality coupled with a user portal, form builder, and execution engine all
business rules? wrapped up in system that can create a process-driven application. 17

Bonitasoft does not have integrated SOA or CEP. Bonitasoft also has no built-in integration with any
third-party CEP solutions. Customers who need to augment Bonita BPM with complex event process-
ing must contact a third-party CEP vendor, locate and retain resources who understand the respec-
tive APIs of Bonita BPM and the third-party CEP engine, and then maintain the custom integration
over time and through upgrades. This effort alone can increase the costs associated with using
Bonita BPM.

Bonitasofts SOA story is similar, as seen in this interview response:

Bonitasoft rebuilt Bonita BPM from the ground up using an SOA approach. Depending on the use
case, there are significant developer benefits to having open access points, not just to Bonita BPM
as a whole, but to the various components of Bonita BPM. For example, integrating directly with
the Bonita Engine or Bonita Portal allows developers more flexibility in building their apps than
being forced to go through a single access point. Our foundation is open source; this goes beyond
source code availability to a belief that open software allows for more freedom and IT/business
innovation to solve real problems. 18

Despite the change in product architecture, Bonita BPM currently has no built-in integration with
third-party SOA components. Therefore, Bonita BPM customers bear the same integration expenses
as they would for adding CEP capabilities.

Red Hat believes that integrated CEP and SOA capabilities should exist in an enterprise BPM
solution. The Red Hat JBoss Middleware portfolio includes a complete, integrated suite of BPM,
CEP, and SOA solutions.

Red Hat customers starting with pilot BPM projects have a scalable and cost-effective software
platform on which they can implement a set of automated, enterprise-wide services. Bonitasoft has
no such modules, may not easily integrate with third-party systems, and therefore has potentially
higher long-term integration costs.

AVAILABLE RESOURCES
Every BPM vendor has its teams of experts. Red Hat Consulting has business process management
services, and Bonitasoft has its own services team. One important difference between these two
organizations is size of the available pool of trained resources from which to build an implementa-
tion team. Red Hats pool of professional-service resources, approximately 400 people worldwide,
is larger than Bonitasofts entire complement of 140 employees.19

17 Ibid. 10
1 8 Ibid. 7
19 Ibid. 3

redhat.com COMPETITIVE REVIEW Red Hat JBoss BPM Suite 6 compared to Bonitasoft Bonita BPM 6.3 5
COMPETITIVE REVIEW Red Hat JBoss BPM Suite 6 compared to Bonitasoft Bonita BPM 6.3

Then there is the development community. JBoss BPM Suite 6 has hundreds of developers and
contributors in the open source community. The Bonita BPM developer community, by contrast, is
relatively small. Bonitasofts internal development team builds the non-free, closed-source features
of Bonita BPMthey are the only contributors. In addition, the development team must compete
with marketing, sales, customer support, and administrative teams for a share of the limited
resources available to the company.

In Red Hats opinion, the larger scale of Red Hats resource pool translates into two key advantages
for BPM customers:

 How difficult will it be to find 1. A more consistent support posture. A greater number of customers can get support from Red Hat
resources to use the business than they could receive from Bonitasoft for their specific implementations because Bonitasofts
process management system 140 employees can only support a finite number of customers.
you select? 2. Draw from a larger ecosystem. JBoss BPM Suite 6 80,000 downloads implies a worldwide devel-
oper and consultant community numbering in the thousands; Bonita BPM 6.3s download count
 Can the vendor you are consid- suggests a much smaller resource community. Based on these numbers, it could arguably be dif-
ering provide the level of ficult for Bonitasoft customers to retain qualified consultants, particularly to meet the demands
product support you expect? of large-enterprise deployments, because there are simply too few people who know the Bonita
BPM system.

CONCLUSION
This competitive review compares Red Hat JBoss BPM Suite 6 with Bonitasoft Corporations Bonita
BPM solution. It shows that in three important selection factorsopen source support, cloud readi-
ness, and system completenessthere are credible reasons for a customer to carefully examine
Bonitasofts suitability particularly when compared with Red Hat JBoss BPM Suite.

This paper also looks at the resources available to Red Hat and Bonitasoft. It concludes that the breadth
and depth of the JBoss BPM Suite development community is greater than the Bonita BPM development
ecosystem. This translates into key advantages for those seeking an enterprise BPM solution.

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