Oracle talks Web services

After talking up its Dynamic Services Framework at the end of last year, Oracle Corp. has kept its Web services strategy quiet, making only a few announcements relating to standards support. But with the posting Wednesday of a pre-release version of its JDeveloper tool kit for 9i on the Web, the company has offered some insight into its plans for Web services.

The Redwood Shores, Calif.-based database giant plans to impart the same "integrated everything" approach that it applies to all its products, from databases to enterprise applications, toward Web services as well, according to John Magee, Oracle's senior director of 9i product marketing.

"Oracle has not hyped Web services to the extent that Microsoft has. But we view it as an evolutionary necessity for using the Internet for business," Magee continued.

Within Oracle's integrated approach, which includes the database, application server and applications, it sells an infrastructure for Web services akin to that of Microsoft Corp. On the Java side is approach is similar to that of IBM Corp., BEA Systems Inc., Hewlett-Packard Co., and Sun Microsystems Inc.

Peter Urban, an analyst at AMR Research in Boston, said the JDeveloper tools are the beginning of Oracle's Web services push. "They have been moving to become more of an infrastructure play for a while now," he said.

While the company has been flexing its marketing muscles toward Web services and being a general infrastructure player for years, Urban continued, IBM is taking a similar route by closely aligning its Tivoli software, MQSeries, DB2, and WebSphere.

There are advantages to the integrated approaches, said Kathy Quirk, an analyst at Boston-based consultancy Hurwitz Group.

"If you're trying to get your customers to move to a new wave of development, you don't want them to have to throw away what they already have," Quirk said.

Quirk added, however, that the vendors collectively need to address more than just building new applications for Web Services.

"There are a lot of unknowns here. Everyone's talking about how to build new applications, but not about how to transition existing applications into Web services," Quirk said.

Earlier this week, SilverStream Software, in Billerica, Mass., unveiled a new iteration of its application server with support built into the core for Web services standards XML, SOAP (Simple Object Access Protocol), WSDL (Web Services Description Language), and UDDI (Universal Description, Discovery, and Integration). Last Week, San Jose, Calif.-based BEA Systems shipped WebLogic 6.1, a version of its application server that includes support for the same standards.

Additionally this week, Cape Clear extended the reach of its CapeConnect Web services platform to iPlanet's application server. Prior to that, it worked with servers from BEA and IBM.

Meanwhile, Oracle plans to release the final version of its JDeveloper tool for 9i by the end of the year.

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More about AMR ResearchBEABEA SystemsHewlett-Packard AustraliaHurwitz GroupIBM AustraliaImpartiPlanetMicrosoftOracleSilverStream SoftwareSun MicrosystemsTivoliUDDI

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