Sketching Fusion Middleware Plan

Oracle's Kurian outlines two new offerings at OpenWorld

Thomas Kurian laid out the components of Oracle Fusion Middleware during his Oct. 24 keynote address here at OpenWorld, Oracles annual user conference.

Kurians intent: Persuade the hordes of users in attendance to use Fusion Middleware to transform their organizations into services-based businesses. "Many of the leading companies in the world use Fusion Middleware to drive their Internet transformation. Why dont you … ?" said Kurian, senior vice president of Oracle Server Tools.

Kurian laid out most of the products and components now within the Fusion Middleware suite—essentially, anything that doesnt fall into the database or application buckets at Oracle.

Kurian outlined two new offerings that are now part of the Fusion Middleware family: Oracles Business Intelligence Suite Enterprise Edition 10g Release 3 and WebCenter Suite, a composite application development and Web 2.0 collaboration environment all rolled into one. BI Suite EE 3 is essentially Siebel analytics brought under the Oracle roof and integrated.

BI Suite EE 3 is integrated at a number of points throughout the Fusion Middleware stack, including Oracles BI Publisher, BPEL Process Manager and Oracle Portal.

BI EE 3 suite will provide new dashboard capabilities that amount to integration at the application level, with Oracles Daily Business Intelligence—part of the E-Business Suite—and PeopleSoft EPM (Enterprise Performance Management).

The BI suite will serve as the foundation for BI in Oracles Fusion Applications, expected around 2008. When Oracle acquired Siebel last year, company executives said they would standardize Fusion CRM (customer relationship management) applications on Siebels technology.

Pieces of EE3 BI Suite include an analytic server—a calculation engine—that enables users to perform separate calculations against both Oracle and non-Oracle data, as well as relational OLAP (online analytical processing) systems, in a single calculation. "You can define calculations independent of the underlying different data sources," Kurian said. "With our tool you can model calculations independent of the underlying data."

A set of ETL (extraction, transformation and loading) tools are included.

Separately, Oracles WebCenter Suite is akin to a portal on steroids. Oracle classifies it as "a user interaction environment that breaks down the boundaries between Web-based portals, enterprise applications and Web 2.0 technologies to enable the creation of context-sensitive work processes," Kurian said. WebCenter Suite will become the default user environment for Fusion Applications.

"We have been helping to monitor and shape how people access information over the Internet and use Web 2.0 technologies—AJAX [Asynchronous JavaScript and XML], wikis, mashups and voice over IP," Kurian said. "We feel so strongly about [Web 2.0] that were bringing those technologies to you."

The WebCenter Suite is based on SOA (service-oriented architecture) concepts and comprises six major components. The WebCenter Framework component is based on Java Server Faces and enables developers to embed AJAX-based components, portlets and content into their JSF applications.

The WebCenter Services component enables users to embed components from Oracles Content Database, Secure Enterprise Search, SIP (Session Initiation Protocol)-based VOIP and Instant Messaging Presence Server, Discussion Forum, and Oracle Wiki. WebCenter Studio exposes the WebCenter Framework and WebCenter Services to programmers using Oracles JDeveloper.

The WebCenter Anywhere component exposes task flows and services through mobile devices as well as Microsofts desktop tools, Office and Exchange. The WebCenter Composer component is a browser-based environment for composing and customizing the application user interfaces and business processes. Finally, the WebCenter Spaces component is a configurable work environment that enables users to work together.

Available sometime this year, WebCenter Suite will include the WebCenter Framework, Services and Studio components.