Oracle to Add Enterprise 2.0 Features to Fusion

By Renee Boucher Ferguson  |  Posted 2007-11-13

Oracle to Add Enterprise 2.0 Features to Fusion

SAN FRANCISCO—Oracle plans to integrate "Enterprise 2.0" features into its Fusion Middleware as a way to further differentiate this software platform from its competitors products.

Oracles move to deliver Enterprise 2.0 functionality in Fusion was disclosed by Thomas Kurian, Oracle senior vice president, in his keynote at the second day of Oracle OpenWorld conference here.

The Enterprise 2.0 initiative was the most significant new development Kurian disclosed as he drilled down in exhaustive detail on the myriad new capabilities Oracle is building into Fusion Middleware 11g.

"Oracles Enterprise 2.0 vision is to bring capabilities users are familiar with—wikis, blogs, RSS, discussion forums, social networks—to enterprise applications using a standards-based programming model that allows you to mix and match services with information systems," said Kurian during Tuesdays address.

"The first step you need is Oracle Universal Content Manager Server to store and manage documents of different kinds – structured and unstructured—to be able to partition data on large devices and on specialized devices."

Kurian pointed out some new capabilities in the Content Manager Server, including the ability to cleanse and filter documents so that users end up with well-structured, clean documents.

Read more here about Oracles plan to offer a free server virtualization software.

There is also functionality that builds full text search on documents so that search engines can search and find documents. Another feature lets users convert "legacy documents" to PDF, HTML, XML and other document types.

Mainly, though, its the new capabilities in Oracles WebCenter Suite that could set Oracle apart from its competitors—SAP, IBM, BEA and Microsoft—which are also racing to "Web 2.0" enable applications via their respective middleware platforms.

This is because Oracle, through its 41 acquisitions in 45 months, has accumulated a lot of applications and software technology in its portfolio. Kurian explained that using WebCenter Oracle business users can create documents, lay them out on the Web, edit documents, and publish them to Oracles repository.

"When you publish to the repository you can allocate docs so they can be seen in RSS, or add meta data about documents for tags, so they are easy to be found by search," he said. "You can extend the presentation environment with mash-ups that integrate to existing apps—Oracle E-Business Suite, PeopleSoft, Siebel—into the environment. And you can share environments."

While Enterprise 2.0—the ability for employees and others to collaborate through blogs, wikis, RSS feeds, and other Web-based technologies—isnt as important as, say, the ability to integrate processes or develop composite applications, its emerging as an area companies are moving in, if nothing else because employees are moving ahead with so-called Enterprise 2.0 technology whether or not there is an infrastructure in place.

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"Oracles moving in the right direction, but the devils always in the details," said Forrester Research analyst Kyle McNabb. "Their Fusion Middleware strategy really sings when Siebel, PeopleSoft and eBusiness apps, especially considering how many of them are very transactional data focused but now can embrace content, collaboration and Web 2.0 features through Fusion."

McNabb pointed out that in general Oracles strategy is not that different from what analysts are hearing from competitors. But Oracle does have something that often gets lost in the noise: Oracle Information Rights Management.

"Enterprises now, and even more so in the future, will not be able to dictate what tools their employees use to manage and consume information—employees may demand to use Google Apps, they may use Second Life for work, or they may use social sites such as LinkedIn and Facebook as a part of work," said McNabb.

"As they work in these environments, employees may bring important intellectual property (contracts, deals, designs for example) outside of secure, managed repositories, putting them at risk of being used incorrectly or lost all together, he said.

"Oracle has an opportunity to evolve rights management to be more about general policy management, not just locking down assets from use, but putting policies on them to manage how employees can use them and what tools they can use them within," McNabb said.

Click here to read about Oracles Application Integration Architecture.

Thus if a company can set a policy to keep engineers from taking designs into Second Life, for example. The "engineers can still use designs, just not in Second Life," he said.

Some additional upgrades in Fusion Middleware 11g include new services in the Oracle Application Server that make it easier to integrate applications, including the ability to create services from applications and virtualize them using Oracle Enterprise Service Bus and to integrate services through upgrades with Oracles BPEL Process Manager that enable system, human and document-centric processes, according to Kurian.

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