SAN FRANCISCO—Oracle Corp. Monday disclosed that more than 26,000 customers are using its Fusion Middleware, which will form the data access backbone of its Project Fusion application integration strategy.
Oracle has been developing its middleware business since 2001, and the company claims that it is the fastest-growing middleware technology in the industry, eclipsing the growth rate of IBMs middleware offering.
“This is a very exciting business for us,” said Oracle President Charles Phillips at Oracle OpenWorld here Monday. “Our partners are excited they can get out of the middleware business” by installing the Oracle product rather than developing their own middleware to support application integration, Phillips said.
“This is a substantial, proven middleware stack,” and it has enabled Oracle to gain the “most momentum” in the market, he said. The concept of connecting diverse applications with middleware services “is more important to our overall strategy than it ever has been,” said Phillips.
Project Fusion is Oracles plan to create an integrated suite of the best components of all the ERP (enterprise resource planning) applications it has acquired over the past year. These wont be just mixed and matched components cherry-picked from the PeopleSoft, J.D. Edwards or Siebel Systems product lines. They will be replications of the best features and technologies from those products reproduced in entirely new applications developed in Java, Phillips said.
Fusion Middleware is also an important component because virtually every enterprise today works in a heterogeneous data and application environment, said Thomas Kurian, Oracles senior vice president for Fusion Middleware development.
Fusion Middleware provides six key capabilities for enterprises that are building Web-based applications, he said. This includes the ability to get different types of business intelligence out of a variety of data stores and for developing integrated suites of applications or data management tools.
It is also a key component for linking disparate applications and for sharing information with customers through portals.
A smooth fit
So far, Oracle has certified the Oracle eBusiness Suite, PeopleSoft, J.D. Edwards and Retek retail application software to work with Fusion Middleware, Kurian said. Oracle has already started the certification process with the I-Flex banking software it acquired in August, Kurian said. “Certainly, Siebel will fit into this architecture very smoothly,” he said.
In addition, it forms the backbone of grid computing environments and identity management systems, he said.
Tod Nielsen, Oracles recently hired senior vice president for systems marketing, said he only decided to leave his position as chief marketing officer at BEA Systems Inc. after being convinced that Oracle is serious about building up its middleware business.
Before making a decision to join Oracle, he said he asked probing questions to find out “Does Oracle really care about the middleware or are they just attaching it to the database sales?” He found that year over year since 2001 and through the current year, Oracle has the fastest-growing middleware suite.
“The one missing piece has been an awareness in the marketplace that we are players here,” Nielsen said.
To counter that, Oracle presented two separate panels of corporate customers that are using Fusion Middleware.
Major enterprises, including Cisco Systems Inc., ResortQuest Inc. SunGard, SCT and Sumitomo Mitsubishi Silicon USA have implemented Fusion Middleware to integrate key business applications.
Cisco is essentially an Oracle-based organization that runs Oracle applications and the relational database in combination with the Fusion middleware Application Server 10g to provide single-sign-on capabilities for all the applications, said David Ott, an infrastructure architect with Cisco, in San Jose, Calif.
ResortQuest, a vacation rental service, deployed Fusion Middleware because it used a combination of nearly every Oracle ERP application and database with open-source software such as the Tomcat Java application server from the Apache Software Foundation, said Brian Rasmussen, ResortQuests chief technical architect.
The company, Rasmussen said, did an extensive evaluation of the middleware products out there and decided to go with Fusion because “we wanted to make sure we got a single-point solution” that would work with the service-oriented architecture ResortQuest was building into its Web applications.