Oracle pitches SOA at conference

SOA a focus at the Oracle OpenWorld conference

Just as rival BEA Systems did a few weeks ago at its own event in the same city, Oracle is pitching wares for SOA at its industry conference this week.

The company is positioning SOA as a major theme at the Oracle OpenWorld conference in San Francisco and on Monday unveiled Oracle SOA Suite 10g Release 3 , featuring governance. SOA based on Oracle's Fusion Middleware platform was the focus of a keynote presentation by Thomas Kurian, Oracle senior vice president of server technologies development.

"There's a new architecture that's emerged, which today in the industry is called services-oriented architecture," Kurian said.

"Oracle Fusion Middleware is Oracle's integrated and standards-based set of tools and middleware to allow you to develop enterprise applications on a services-oriented architecture," Kurian said. Fusion, he said, features technologies to build a services-oriented application and set business rules. Oracle Application Development Framework (ADF), meanwhile, provides a visual or declarative way to build service-oriented applications based on Java, Kurian said. He cited as a user of Fusion Middleware to enable SOA.

Analyst Melinda Ballou, program director for Application Life-Cycle Management Software at IDC lauded Oracle's SOA strategy. "I think Oracle's in a really strong position given the ownership that they have of the application stack," Ballou said. But she questioned whether Oracle has gaps to fill related to application lifecycle management for services.

"The questions I have as an application lifecycle management analyst are around specific approaches in developing services for test and quality management, change management and governance," Ballou said.

Kurian's presentation offered little by way of new products. But he did unveil Oracle WebCenter Suite.

"WebCenter provides [users] with a way to build very sophisticated Web 2.0-based user interaction environments," Kurian said.

A component of the Fusion Middleware platform, WebCenter Suite breaks down boundaries between Web-based portals, enterprise applications, and Web 2.0 technologies to enable rapid development of context-sensitive work processes, Oracle said. Integration can happen between mashups, Wikis, VOIP, RSS feeds, discussion forums and online Web content publishing. The product features a JavaServer Faces (JSF)- and Oracle ADF-based framework for embedding rich, AJAX-based (Asynchronous JavaScript and XML) components and content into JSF applications, enabling a dynamic and context-rich user experience, the company said.

Due by the end of this year, Oracle WebCenter Suite will be licensed as an option to Oracle Application Server Enterprise Edition for US$50,000 per CPU.

Oracle at the show also announced Oracle Business Intelligence Suite Enterprise Edition 10g Release 3, focusing on components and enhancements to enable enterprisewide intelligence. It also features integration with Oracle Applications, Fusion Middleware, and the Oracle Database, as well as expanded hot-pluggable support for third-party data sources and systems.

Through SOA and integration with the Oracle BPEL Process Manager, the business intelligence package supports multiple modes of analytics-driven workflow, Oracle said. RSS is leveraged to allow access to business intelligence information and alerts.

Also at Oracle OpenWorld, Oracle and IBM announced they are collaborating on sales and marketing of a series of enterprise solutions involving Oracle applications and technology for Linux on IBM's System z series mainframes. Oddly enough, Oracle also is joining with HP and Intel to offer a counter-solution to mainframes, via the vendors' Application Modernization Initiative.

This initiative was noted in a keynote speech by HP CEO, President and Chairman Mark Hurd on Tuesday. Hurd also joked about HP's recent controversy over its investigation into boardroom leaks, without mentioning it specifically.

"I typically, personally try to stay out of the news," Hurd said. "As you know, I haven't executed that strategy very well over the recent past."

On a more serious note, Hurd stressed HP efforts to make itself easier to do business with and how it has lowered its operational costs. Hurd also cited synergies between HP and Mercury Interactive, which is being acquired by HP.

"It's almost like two companies went away and said, 'You build this, we'll build that and [we will] come back together and integrate those products five years from now.' There's almost no overlap between those two product portfolios," Hurd said.

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