Oracle CEO Larry Ellison wasnt kidding when he said earlier in February that the company is looking to fill holes in its middleware stack.
On the heels of its SleepyCat embedded open-source database acquisition Feb. 14, Oracle announced the following day its purchase of HotSip AB.
HotSip, a Sweden-based company, provides telecommunications infrastructure software through a J2EE/SIP (Session Initiation Protocol) application server, as well as applications that enable messaging, telephony and conferencing capabilities.
The terms of the deal, subject to regulatory conditions, were undisclosed.
HotSip also brings a number of high-profile customers to the table, including Ericsson, Hewlett-Packard and Nokia.
Thomas Kurian, senior vice president of Oracle Server Technologies, said in a statement that the addition of HotSips technology “will allow Oracle to build on its leadership in middleware and in carrier-grade communications infrastructures.”
HotSip is Oracles 16th acquisition in just under 14 months.
The company has spent an estimated $19 billion acquiring everything from business applications software vendors—Oracle bought PeopleSoft in January 2005 for about $10.3 billion and Siebel Systems for $5.85 billion—to security software developers.
In the middleware sector—an area Oracle has claimed its dominance in for the past couple years—Oracle acquired ContextMedia last July, which develops content integration software.
Oracle is also rumored to be considering the acquisition of open-source application server provider JBoss.
The cost of that deal could reach $400 million, though some estimates go as low as $200 million.
There are a number of theories circulating, particularly among the analyst community, as to what Oracles acquisition of JBoss would mean—for its middleware stack, and for disparate application stacks.
Judith Hurwitz, president of The Hurwitz Group, believes that the acquisition would be used to bolster a fledgling Fusion Middleware stack, and to provide a common set of services across the many, many applications Oracle has amassed in its 14-month tech shopping extravaganza.
“The Fusion [Middleware] spec is not codified software—that means they need middleware now. They cant wait,” said Hurwitz, in Waltham, Mass.
“Theyll use JBoss as integrating middleware…. [to develop] a consistent set of services across all their suites. Just to maintain each separate [infrastructure] is very expensive.”
Fusion, according to Hurwitz, is “just not done,” she said. “Its not consistent across the entire stack.”
Gartners Yvonne Genovese believes Oracle would use the open-source JBoss application server as an underlying component to services derived from Oracles applications—and open-source those services.
“What they could do is take some of those services that theyre building for their [on premises] repository and underpin them with an open-source app server, then drive people into their applications,” said Genovese.
“They dont really in the end have an open-source applications product—the holy grail that everyones been looking for—but some semblance of pieces of open source that are available. Thats the next step we expect a lot of application vendors to take, and then to make them more available to an ecosystem like SAP is doing.”
In fact, much of Oracles acquisition strategy centers on besting the No. 1 software developer in the world, Germany-based SAP.
Oracle, after the acquisition of PeopleSoft (and by default JD Edwards & Co) took a trailing second place to Oracle and has vowed to overtake its rival ever since.
Historically an ERP (enterprise resource planning) software developer, SAP entered the integration market in 2003 with the development of its ESA (Enterprise System Architecture) strategy and underlying NetWeaver process integration stack.
Oracle is moving on a similar platform strategy—as is Microsoft—with the development of its Fusion Architecture and underlying Fusion Middleware stack that will eventually feed into its next-generation Fusion Applications suite, expected in 2008.
SAP is expected to complete its ESA work by 2007.