Oracle to boost app server

Oracle in early 2003 plans to release a new version of the Oracle application sever that will feature enhancements such as a certificate authority to boost the use of the product for e-business transactions. Oracle also may have something up its sleeve similar to Hewlett-Packard Co.'s bundling of the BEA Systems Inc. application server with HP-UX servers, according to an Oracle official.

Oracle's upcoming application server release, Oracle9i Application Server Release 2 9.0.4, also will include single sign-on enhancements to boost identity management, said Thomas Kurian, Oracle senior vice president for the Oracle 9i Application Server, in an interview late last week.

Redwood Shores, Calif.-based Oracle bundles the single sign-on product right within the application server, Kurian said.

To be detailed further at the OracleWorld conference in San Francisco in November, Version 9.0.4 will consolidate traditional integration point solutions such as EAI, business-to-business platforms, and Web services into a single software architecture for automation of business processes, according to Oracle.

Enhancements are planned for reliability, scalability, and manageability. The product also will feature service-based application development and expanded portal capabilities.

Additionally, improvements are planned in system management, business process management, business activity monitoring, and business-to-business integration.

"Our continued focus is to allow people to build Internet-based applications and Web services faster and more productively, and we're doing that essentially by rationalizing the complexity and middleware they need to get Web services and applications up and running," Kurian said.

He explained that currently it is a struggle to deploy Web services, since developers need to work with separate applications, middleware, portals, and brokers.

"All this makes the Web service very fragile and very difficult to develop. Our strategy is to simplify this complexity by providing a more integrated software platform to help users build these applications," said Kurian.

Oracle's platform enables development of J2EE applications, Web services, business intelligence applications, and enterprise portals, he said.

"It's easier because we give users fully integrated solutions to build these kinds of applications," Kurian said.

Asked about the announcement this week that HP will bundle the BEA WebLogic Server application server with the HP-UX operating system, Kurian said, "We're working on a number of strategies with the hardware community and we will have a sequence of announcements."

He would not elaborate. HP plans to bundle a trial version of the BEA WebLogic 7 application server with every server HP sells, beginning with HP-UX systems.

Prior to the release of Version 9.0.4, Oracle within two weeks plans to announce general availability of Version 9.0.3 of the application server, featuring an object persistence layer from TopLink, J2EE 1.3 backing, and support for Web Services orchestration with legacy systems. Release 9.0.3 actually has been available for free download on the Oracle Technology Network since June.

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