Oracle Promises Integration of Disparate Wares

With its portfolio bulging with 3,000 disparate products based on 59 acquisitions, Oracle outlined some key updates on its efforts to make them work together.

Integrating those products into a seamless stack is a priority, said Oracle co-president Safra Catz, speaking at this year's annual OpenWorld Conference in San Francisco this week.

“If consumers bought cars like most enterprise users have bought technology, they would have to order thousands of little pieces, have them shipped individually to their garages, and then have to hire a mechanic and welder to assemble it.," Catz told attendees. "The pieces matter, but fitting it together is where all the value is.”

Catz and Oracle co-president Charles Phillips told attendees that its Application Integration Architecture (AIA) is key fixing its integration problems. The company used OpenWorld to outline plans for the next release, AIA 2.5, which boasts 10 new cross-industry Process Integration Packs (PIPs), six new industry-specific PIPs, and a library of more than 1,000 enterprise services and 100 enterprise objects.

That's an ambitious goal, said IDC analyst Al Hilwa. “Oracle wants to have it both ways,” Hilwa said. “They want to have a really integrated stack that works together very coherently and forms the basis of their expansive Oracle Fusion Apps, and they also want it to be modular, to plug and play with industry standards. I agree that is a challenge, but it appears they have managed to walk that fine line more or less."

Oracle also announced several planned future releases of key components of its Fusion Middleware 11g product suite. Specifically they include updates to the venerable IDE, JDeveloper component, which will get more than 500 new features, the company said, including support for Maven, JavaSript Object Notation Language (JSON), Facelets, UML 2.0 and Eclipse key mappings. Look also for a new JDeveloper Task connector and BugZilla connector for the Oracle Team Productivity Center.

The company also plans enhancements to Oracle Assembly Builder, which include enabling a single-click deployment of application environment artifacts. This feature will allow customers to deploy an enterprise application or SOA service more quickly and easily, the company said.

Oracle also previewed some enhancements planned to some other product lines. An upcoming version of Oracle’s Enterprise Content Management Suite is expected to provide “more efficient and timely reuse of content,” and tighter integration with Oracle Applications, WebLogic Server, and other Fusion Middleware components.

The company also outlined the next version of its Business Intelligence Suite will come with new visualizations and “a more dynamic interactive user experience.” Look also for a new “Action Framework” designed to help allow users to initiate “business-improving” actions directly in response to an analytics.

Oracle plans to include a number of upgrades to the next release of its Data Integration Suite, including a unified set of design tools, pre-built connectivity and content for Oracle Applications, and APIs for embedding data integration functionality in custom Java applications.

“The fact is, Oracle has become a big tent, from DBAs to application architects, process architects, and now IT operations," said Ovum senior analyst Tony Baer. "What's notable is that you can manage
Oracle apps and middleware using the same declarative ADF framework that you would use if you're working with JDeveloper or any of Oracle's database tooling. It's a compelling story, but only if you're an all-Oracle shop.”

IDC's Hilwa agreed that integration is Oracle's biggest challenge. "It is incumbent upon an enterprise player like Oracle to offer integration capabilities," he said. "It is really essential to see them address this in an architecturally cohesive way.”

About the Author

John K. Waters is the editor in chief of a number of sites, with a focus on high-end development, AI and future tech. He's been writing about cutting-edge technologies and culture of Silicon Valley for more than two decades, and he's written more than a dozen books. He also co-scripted the documentary film Silicon Valley: A 100 Year Renaissance, which aired on PBS.  He can be reached at [email protected].

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