I am currently working on a manuscript about business rule engines; their purpose in large scale enterprise integration projects; their role in SOA architectures--and their untapped capability in enriching data warehouse-based intelligence delivery.
Today, I am outlining the criteria for comparing two divergent products: TIBCO's iProcess Decisions (part of the BPM product suite) and Microsoft's Business Rule Engine (BRE) (installed with BizTalk Server).
For the nuts and bolts of this first comparison, I will be using the same SQL Server 2005 database instance.
From what I've observed, databases have loosely become de facto
rule engines for many large organizations. Frequently the only persistent objects within an enterprise, is a growing network of federated databases--rich with evolving triggers,stored procedures, SQL Agents, etc.. After just a few hours of analyzing the types of stored procedures, triggers, etc.--it becomes obvious that many of the business processing rules are firmly embedded with the treatment/manipulation of the data through updates, inserts, and deletes. Aside from valid data-integrity related reasons for triggers and stored-procedures, one will find a myriad of status value changes, aggregates, date comparisons, etc. In essence, the clear application of business rules for business processes, aptly described by TIBCO as an event cloud
I like TIBCO's descripton of an "event cloud"--because without the clarity of business rules as applied to specific, repeatable processes in an organization, a cloud
is just what it is!