With last weeks purchase of Oblix, Oracle made clear that it is not planning to cede the lucrative and growing enterprise identity management market to rivals Sun Microsystems and IBM.
Last weeks surprising acquisition will allow Oracle Corp. to expand its nascent ID management reach by weaving together Oracle, PeopleSoft Inc. and J.D. Edwards & Co. applications.
Oblix Inc., of Cupertino, Calif., was a pioneer in the development of identity-based security software, mainly for Web access control through single sign-on, user provisioning and user authentication.
The companys technology will be offered as part of Oracle Application Server 10g, bolstering the platforms Oracle Identity Management component to work outside Oracle deployments, said Thomas Kurian, senior vice president of Oracle Server Technologies for the Redwood Shores, Calif., company.
The Oblix purchase is just the latest pickup in a massive shopping spree by Oracle this year.
Since January, the database giant bought PeopleSoft for $10.3 billion, ending a bitter pursuit, and last month it outbid rival SAP to acquire Retek Inc., for about $650 million.
Oracles absorption of Oblix all but marks the end of the once-red-hot identity management landscape, which, just a few years ago, was crowded with small startups.
Nearly all those original companies—including Access360 Inc., Netegrity Inc. and Waveset Technologies Inc.—have since been acquired and digested by large-scale system and hardware vendors.
Oblix customers said Oracles backing should help Oblix become more enterprise-capable, while Oracle can take advantage of Oblixs proven identity management expertise.
"Oracles acquisition of Oblix will help our company to expand our use of identity management tools for portal and e-commerce," said Jim McDonald, manager of IT for Ingersoll-Rand Company Ltd., based in Montvale, N.J., who runs an Oracle database, Oracle E-Business Suite applications and Oracle iStore.
"I think Oracle made the right decision by recognizing that it was right to buy Oblix rather than try to match what theyve done."
McDonald said Oracle must maintain Oblixs ability to integrate Microsoft Corp., Sun Microsystems Inc. and BEA Systems Inc. technology as well as various Web engines for Web servers.
"Thats a vital need for people who bought Oblix in the first place," he said.
Oblixs COREsv Web services management software product line will allow Oracle customers to bridge the world of security and services by tracking usage and policies attached to different service-oriented applications, by monitoring them for compliance, for example, said Kurian.
Oracle said it will support Oblixs existing product set and will provide new functionality as part of updates and support features without new licenses being required. Kurian said new ID management products will eventually emerge and could involve federation or HR systems.
Large vendors feast on identity management
- March 2005 Oracle buys Oblix; BMC Software Inc. buys OpenNetwork Technologies
- October 2004 Computer Associates International Inc. buys Netegrity
- November 2003 Sun Microsystems buys Waveset Technologies
- September 2002 IBM buys Access360