Oracle Aims for the Simple Life

The company wants to help its customers reduce the complexity introduced by Oracle itself.

SAN FRANCISCO—Gone, for the moment, at least, is the pulse and presentation of glitz and glam that was so prevalent in past years at Oracle OpenWorld. This years conference at Moscone Center seems to be more about calm reassurance than pumping up the future.

While questions surrounding Fusion Middleware – and Oracles potentially pending acquisition of BEA – remain unanswered, Oracle President Charles Phillips focused on helping customers simplify complexity.

"The biggest problem in the industry is the complexity of environments. Its a complex problem and the way to attack it is to break it up into chunks, solve one problem at a time. You had no other choice – the size of the problem was so big. The result is a fragmented tech stack with boundaries between processes," said Phillips during his Monday address here.

Phillips said the Application Integration Architecture [AIA], a process integration framework that was announced some months ago, will help customers integrate best-of-breed applications without the customary pain associated with this type of integration.

A lot of that pain could be said to being caused by Oracle itself, given that it has acquired many of the best of breed applications companies out there.

"Weve done 41 acquisitions in 45 months," Phillips admitted. "My head is spinning. And you might be asking, what is the purpose behind all this. Let me summarize why, whats changed and what our strategy is."

Phillips said that Oracle now has the infrastructure, applications and integration technology needed to handle customers integration quagmires. "Now that we are at scale – we had the resources, the capital and hopefully the vision – let us step back and do that for you," said Phillips. "Let us take integration off your shoulders. Were good at it. Were going to do integration differently than in the past."

Phillips also said customers should lean on Oracles Application Integration Architecture [AIA], a process integration framework announced some months ago, that allows customers to integrate application components based on industry-specific configurations or packaged process integrations put together by Oracle.

To this end, the company on Monday announced another significant aspect to that architecture in the form of its AIA Foundation Pack.

Developed for Oracles Fusion Middleware stack, the Foundation Pack provides access to Oracle objects, services, methodologies and infrastructure components to develop their own end-to-end process integrations, officials said.


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The idea is that by providing customers with a reference architecture and reusable Web services and objects, users have a common model approach to integrate applications – and create composite applications based on those application (or component) integrations.

While Phillips didnt mention the Foundation Pack at all during his keynote address – odd given the focus on AIA during a half dozen or so demos of the integration framework based on different departmental and industry scenarios – the ability for users to create composite applications using AIA is really quite a big step.

But it leads to several fundamental questions: What about Fusion Middleware? The impetus for Fusion Middleware is to integrate Oracle applications with third-party applications and, through its BPEL [Business Process Execution Language] engine, to orchestrate and integrate processes. While AIA is clearly defined as using Fusion Middleware as its underlying infrastructure, its not clear why Oracle felt the need to develop AIA on top of Fusion Middleware.

And why did the company feel the need to acquire BEA Systems last month?

"I dont understand the whole BEA thing," said one Oracle customer, Steve Canter, CIO of Berlin Packaging, in an October interview with eWeek. "If Fusion Middleware were as great as Oracle is saying, why yet another middleware [company]?"

Indeed, while Phillips was urging customers to let Oracle reduce the complexity, left unanswered is why Oracle was adding the complexity to begin with.


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