SAN FRANCISCO—During his Oct. 24 keynote address here at OpenWorld, Oracles annual user conference that brings together Oracle E-Business, PeopleSoft, JD Edwards and Siebel customers under one roof, Thomas Kurian laid out the components of Oracle Fusion Middleware.
Kurians intent: persuade the hordes of users in attendance to use Fusion Middleware in their organizations to transform to a services-based business.
“Weve grown Fusion Middleware from nothing in 2001 to over $1 billion [in revenues] in just five years,” said Kurian, the senior vice president of Oracle Server Tools. “Many of the leading companies in the world use Fusion Middleware to drive their Internet transformation. Why dont you as well?”
During his hourlong address, Kurian laid out most of the existing products and components within the Fusion Middleware suite—essentially a compilation of anything that doesnt fall into the database or application buckets at Oracle. He talked about the Oracle application server development environment and tools, the business process automation suite, business intelligence suite and identity management suite.
Kurian also described the components and capabilities of the Oracle SOA (service-oriented architecture) suite, which brings to the fore the companys BPEL (Business Process Execution Language) Engine, a key component of Fusion Middleware for enabling process orchestration—the meat in an SOA.
While he did not talk about a future direction for Fusion Middleware—many analysts believe the technology stack is fairly complete—Kurian did outlined two new offerings that are now part of the Fusion Middleware family: Oracle Business Intelligence Suite Enterprise Edition 10g Release 3; and Oracle WebCenter Suite, a composite application development and Web 2.0 collaboration environment all rolled into one. Oracle BI Suite EE 3 is essentially Siebel analytics brought under the Oracle roof and integrated.
The BI Suite EE 3 is integrated at a number of different points throughout the Oracle Fusion Middleware stack, including the BI Publisher, Oracle BPEL Process Manager and Oracle Portal.
In the future, additional product integrations are planned for Oracle Database 10g OLAP, which means users will be able to consolidate server engines to store, view and analyze data in OLAP cubes, officials said. Integration with Oracle Identity Management tools is also planned, including Oracle Database Virtual Private Directory, Oracle Internet Directory and the E-Business Suite security model.
The Oracle BI EE 3 suite will provide new dashboarding capabilities that amount to integration at the application level, with Oracle Daily Business Intelligence—part of the E-Business Suite—and PeopleSoft EPM (Enterprise Performance Management).
Not surprisingly, the new BI suite will serve as the foundation for BI in Oracle Fusion Applications, expected around 2008. When Oracle acquired Siebel Systems last year, company executives said they would standardize their Fusion CRM (customer relationship management) applications on Siebels technology.
Pieces of the BI Suite include an analytic server—a calculation engine, really—that enables users to perform calculations against both Oracle and non-Oracle data, as well as relational OLAP systems into a single calculation. “You can define calculations independent of the underlying different data sources,” said Kurian. “With our tool you can model calculations independent of the underlying data.”
A set of ETL (extract, transform and load) tools enable business users to get at intelligence data as well.
Prepackaged BI applications that can work across multiple sources—PeopleSoft, JD Edwards and Siebel—allow users to analyze data across these systems, a key functionality given it will be at least two years until Oracle integrates PeopleSoft, JD Edwards and Siebel acquisitions into its Fusion Application stack. Users are able to perform analysis related to various areas of the enterprise, such as suppliers or financials.
Separately, the WebCenter Suite is sort of 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”—not applications, but processes.
WebCenter 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, wikis, mash-ups and voice over IP,” said Kurian. “We feel so strongly about [Web 2.0] that were bringing those technologies to you. The WebCenter provides you with a way to build Web 2.0-based user interaction environments. … You can integrate content into sources from file systems, databases and applications into your composite application environment, and into your applications environment.”
Oracle expects WebCenter to be the basis for a “new generation of context-centric applications,” though its not clear exactly what that means.
The WebCenter Suite is based on SOA 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 Oracle WebCenter Services component enables users to embed components from Oracle Content Database, Secure Enterprise Search, SIP-based VOIP and Instant Messaging Presence Server, Discussion Forum, and Wiki service. WebCenter Studio exposes the WebCenter Framework and WebCenter Services to programmers inside 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 is a browser-based environment for composing and customizing the application user interfaces and business processes. Finally, WebCenter Spaces is a configurable work environment that enables users—individuals and groups—to work together.
Available sometime this year, the WebCenter Suite first edition, WebCenter Suite 10g R3, will include the WebCenter Framework, Services and Studio.
The gist overall, according to Kurian, is that Fusion Middleware enables users to develop Fusion Applications on a standards-based platform.
“With service-oriented development of applications—the first wave of use—there are three kinds of applications that people build,” said Kurian. “Brand new in Java or J2EE, Web-enabling an existing application, or a composite application, an app that integrates and ties into two or three systems you have. Fusion Middleware provides a single, integrated design time environment to model all of the aspects.”