Oracle Set to Expand Integration Hubs

Updated: The company's president kicks off Oracle OpenWorld with a pitch for further "data hubs" as a way to link information from multiple business applications.

SAN FRANCISCO—Oracle plans to further embrace its renewed effort at application integration that it began a year ago, the companys president said here Monday.

The company is expanding its product options for managing data across multiple business applications and legacy systems, Charles Phillips said during the opening keynote at the Oracle OpenWorld conference.

Oracle Corp. plans to launch a series of new "data hubs," the term the company has given to data stores that mediate data across multiple applications.

The Redwood Shores, Calif., company in January announced its first data hub, called the Oracle Customer Data Hub. It is touting the hubs as an alternative to enterprises exclusively using its enterprise applications suite.

Phillips called data hubs "a fundamental new component to computer architecture to help get to information-age applications with existing applications."

The new data hubs on the way are the Product Data Hub, Financial Consolidation Hub, Citizen Data Hub for government and Financial Services Account Hub for the financial services industry. Oracle does not have a shipping date for the new hubs, but customers have begun testing them, Phillips told reporters after the keynote.

/zimages/6/28571.gifClick here to read more about Oracle CEO Larry Ellisons changing view of application integration.

The data hub approach is part of Oracles larger pitch to deal with the growing need among enterprises to centralize the information coming from a cacophony of applications, Phillips said.

In the 1980s and 1990s, corporations installed applications for specific processes ranging from order management and accounts receivables to sales and shipping. But they often lack a view into information across those applications, Phillips said.

"We have all these fragmented systems, but the cost of that is pretty expensive," he said.

Oracle has been one the biggest proponents of using a single set of business applications—specifically its E-Business Suite running on an Oracle database—to solve the problem of disparate information within an organization.

But it also has increasingly recognized that many enterprises are not ready to switch their existing applications and want a way to integrate their application information, Phillips said.

While he didnt address Oracles bid to acquire applications competitor PeopleSoft Inc., the integration options such as data hubs also would appear to provide one route for transitioning PeopleSoft customers to Oracle applications.

"PeopleSoft applications are already part of the [data hub] strategy," Phillips told reporters. "Its not only an easy way to integrate PeopleSoft, but other [applications] as well."

/zimages/6/28571.gifClick here for a column on customers seeking more information on how a PeopleSoft integration would work.

Also during OpenWorld, Oracle is planning to announce the second version of its grid computing platform, Phillips said. Grid was the focus of the companys Oracle World show last year.

"Grid comes into the picture because if more applications are integrated, then performance of those applications is more unpredictable," Phillips said. "Grid is a way to balance that, again, across all resources."

Details of the gird update are expected to come during Wednesdays keynote from Chuck Rozwat, Oracles executive vice president of development and server technologies.

Phillips also announced an initiative called Architecture of the Future, in which Oracle is partnering with other IT vendors to kick off a worldwide customer tour in January to promote data-center technology. The partners are Intel Corp., Dell Inc., Novell Inc. and Red Hat Inc.

Oracle OpenWorld runs through Thursday and marks the first time that the company has combined what had been two shows for its database technology and enterprise applications businesses.

Editors Note: Lisa Vaas provided additional reporting for this story. The story was updated to include comments from a news conference.

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