Oracle rebrands middleware, maps out PeopleSoft future

Oracle is rebranding its middleware line, Oracle Fusion Middleware, and laying out a road map for when these middleware products will be certified to work with newly acquired PeopleSoft and J.D. Edwards applications.

Products in the Oracle Fusion Middleware line include: the company's J2EE application server, integration and data management hubs, business intelligence, collaboration, application development tools, BPEL (Business Process Execution Language for Web Services) management, security and identity management offerings. Not part of Fusion Middleware are Oracle's database and business applications.

"This [re-branding] sort of solidifies our broad offering in the middleware space," said Rick Schultz, Oracle vice president of product marketing for Oracle Fusion Middleware.

The company's calendar for certifying PeopleSoft and J.D. Edwards applications to work with Oracle middleware begins this quarter, with PeopleSoft Enterprise applications slated to work with Oracle's BPEL product and Internet directory. In the fourth quarter of this year, several other technologies such as the Oracle J2EE container, portal server, integration server, and identity management offerings will be certified on PeopleSoft Enterprise.

Oracle in the third quarter of this year will certify its J2EE server as well its portal server, identity management products, and BPEL product to function with J.D. Edwards Enterprise One applications. In the first quarter of 2006, Oracle Web server components and other middleware products will be certified for J.D. Edwards Enterprise One.

Oracle is merely certifying the applications and apparently does not have to reconfigure the products, according to Schultz. "Most of [the legwork] is actually just testing and certification," Schultz said.

Certification follows Oracle's recent merger with PeopleSoft.

"We acquired a rather large installed base with PeopleSoft and J.D. Edwards and we've obviously been getting the questions from customers as to when they can use our middleware products with those applications," Schultz said.

As a major player in databases, Oracle now owns applications that have functioned with rival databases such as IBM DB2 and Microsoft SQL Server. These products still will be supported for use with rival databases for at least as far as a year out, according to Schultz, adding he is not Oracle's spokesman for commenting on this issue. "We're committed to supporting and maintaining heterogeneous environments," he said.

Oracle is likely to accept having customers running other databases with the acquired applications, said analyst John Rymer, vice president of application development and infrastructure at Forrester Research.

"The customer issue is that customers don't want change. Change costs money, so the issue is going to be [whether] Oracle [is] going to hang in there and support DB2 and other non-Oracle databases," Rymer said. "They've said they will."

"I think [Oracle] will try to come up with creative ways of getting people to move to the Oracle database," such as giving credits for existing non-Oracle database licenses, Rymer said.

Project Fusion, meanwhile, is on the horizon. This project involves blending of the Oracle, PeopleSoft, and J.D. Edwards applications and basing them on Oracle Fusion Middleware, Schultz said. "I believe that there is intent to support other databases," with Project Fusion applications, he added, again noting he is not Oracle's applications spokesperson.

Whether Oracle will allow non-Oracle databases to be run with the planned Fusion applications remains to be seen, according to Rymer.

"Nothing about [Project] Fusion is clear," Rymer said.

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