AT ORACLE: Interview
The Middleware EvolutionBy Caroline Kvitka
Oracle integrates BEA products for a broad and complete middleware solution.
Upon the completion of Oracle’s acquisition of BEA Systems, Oracle Magazine Senior Managing Editor Caroline Kvitka sat down with Oracle Senior Vice President of Oracle Fusion Middleware Thomas Kurian to discuss the impact of the BEA acquisition on Oracle Fusion Middleware. The following is an excerpt from that interview. Download a podcast of the full interview at oracle.com/magcasts.
Oracle Magazine: What were the strategic reasons for the BEA acquisition?
Kurian: Oracle’s middleware strategy has always been about building a complete and integrated suite of middleware to allow our customers to develop, deploy, and manage applications in a service-oriented architecture [SOA]. BEA adds three important elements to this strategy.
First, Oracle and BEA have many middleware customers in common, and these customers asked us to bring the product sets together so that we could integrate them and add value to the customer base by simplifying how they could use these different products together.
Second, the acquisition also significantly broadens Oracle’s sales and distribution capacity for middleware.
Third, Oracle and BEA had complementary product sets and also complementary adoption by different customer segments. So on the whole, the distribution channels, the products, and the customer bases are complementary, and bringing these two assets together will help our customers get better traction from middleware.
Oracle Magazine: The BEA acquisition brings significant new functionality to Oracle Fusion Middleware as well as product overlap. How is Oracle defining the combined product plan?
Kurian: One of the important things that we wanted to do with this acquisition was to clarify to both the BEA and the Oracle Fusion Middleware customer base the specific product plan in detail, as quickly as possible after the acquisition.
The product plan features three fundamental strategic things. First, the vast majority of BEA products and Oracle products are complementary. There are specific areas where BEA had technologies such as Java virtual machines, transaction processing monitors, and certain security products where Oracle did not have products. Oracle has many products, including business intelligence, content management, and identity management, where BEA did not have products. Where there is no overlap, the product plan is very clear: we’re bringing the BEA products into Oracle Fusion Middleware.
Second, where there are areas of overlap, Oracle and BEA products already interoperate. We are working to accelerate the degree of interoperability between these product sets, so that customers can use them in concert.
Third, we are making specific decisions on the product plans for individual products, where there is specific overlap, so that customers are crystal clear release to release and architecturally how these products will come together.
Oracle Magazine: You mentioned transaction processing. Oracle Tuxedo and Oracle WebLogic Server [formerly BEA Tuxedo and BEA WebLogic Server] are the leading transaction processing monitor and the leading Java application server, respectively. What are Oracle’s plans for them?
Kurian: We see Oracle Tuxedo as a very important asset. We’re going to take Oracle Tuxedo and enhance the product significantly by broadening the number of operating systems it is available on and integrating it with Oracle’s SOA infrastructure, so that you can mix and match a traditional transaction processing system with an SOA. We’re integrating Oracle Tuxedo more tightly with Oracle Database, for example with Oracle Real Application Clusters and with Oracle Enterprise Manager.
Oracle WebLogic Server becomes Oracle’s strategic Java application server. We’re doing two important things with it. First, we have certified all of the Oracle Fusion Middleware products on Oracle WebLogic 9.x version, and we’ll be certifying them on Oracle WebLogic 10.3.
Second, we’re integrating a number of features from Oracle’s application server, Oracle Containers for J2EE, with Oracle WebLogic Server. This includes our object-relational mapping, our Enterprise JavaBeans implementation, our security model, and our Web services stack. So this is really about building a converged application server, combining the best features of Oracle Application Server on Oracle WebLogic Server.
Oracle Magazine: BEA shared Oracle’s SOA vision. What are Oracle’s plans for SOA in terms of middleware?
Kurian: SOA is the fundamental, transformational architecture for the way that enterprise applications are being rearchitected. And Oracle and BEA combined bring together a very broad set of middleware assets for SOA. So Oracle will be adding a number of features from BEA to Oracle SOA Suite.
First, we’re allowing customers with existing systems—transaction processing systems, mainframes, and packaged applications—to publish services from those applications via adapters.
Second, we’re going to converge both the AquaLogic Service Bus from BEA and Oracle Service Bus in a common architecture called services component architecture. To that we add Oracle Business Process Management Suite for process orchestration, Oracle Business Rules engine for defining rules in your processes, Oracle Complex Event Processing combined with Oracle WebLogic Event Server for monitoring the processes, and Oracle Business Activity Monitoring to publish analytics out of these applications. Then we add Oracle Web Services Manager to define policies on these services and Oracle Enterprise Repository [formerly BEA AquaLogic Enterprise Repository] to govern the services.
Finally, Oracle’s B2B engine provides a way to hook up your SOA, not just within your company but outside the organization, and Oracle Enterprise Manager becomes the management framework.
Oracle Magazine: Enterprise 2.0 is an area that we’re hearing a lot about today. How is Oracle incorporating BEA products in its Enterprise 2.0 strategy?
Kurian: Enterprise 2.0 blends two important capabilities: managing and accessing information. What we’re doing is bringing together Oracle Enterprise Content Management Suite with three technologies from Oracle and BEA in the portal area—WebLogic Portal, AquaLogic User Interaction, and Oracle WebCenter—into a single product offering called Oracle WebCenter Suite that will change how people share information.
Oracle Magazine: What other new product combinations can Oracle and BEA customers expect to see?
Kurian: I’ll touch on two areas. First, business process management is about separating the definition of your business processes into a business process management engine, where you make changes to the business process to meet your business needs, without touching all of the different enterprise applications. Oracle is combining a number of assets from BEA and Oracle Fusion Middleware into a new suite called Oracle Business Process Management Suite. It combines business process modeling, execution, monitoring, and optimization.
Identity management is the other area. Access management traditionally has been about single sign-on. We are adding a new product called Oracle Entitlements Server that centralizes the notion of authorization, meaning “what privileges does the user have?” We’re introducing a new suite called the Oracle Access Management Suite that combines this BEA technology with a number of other components for the identity management suite.
Oracle Magazine: Does the acquisition impact Oracle Applications customers?
Kurian: There are two key things for everybody to keep in mind. Our applications have been portable to multiple application servers. We’ll be gradually introducing Oracle WebLogic Server into our applications product set, but customers should not see a major change because they have largely been isolated from the Java container underneath the applications.
Second, as we add more capabilities from BEA into the Oracle product mix, customers can get a lot of value from their applications through middleware.
Oracle Magazine: What’s the most exciting aspect of the BEA acquisition?
Kurian: To me it’s about three things. First of all, the breadth of products and how we integrate them together is what has always been the distinguishing characteristic of Oracle Fusion Middleware. This acquisition allows us to get to a very broad offering to customers.
Second, it’s really exciting to see the number of sales, support, and services people that we’re bringing in with the BEA acquisition.
Third, we have a very clear technical plan and product strategy that brings the products together, while continuing to support all of the BEA investments that the customers have made.
So the fact that we have a clear product plan, we’re getting a great team of people, and we’re bringing products together that customers have always wanted us to integrate, is very exciting—both for Oracle as well as for the broad partner and customer community.
Caroline Kvitka is senior managing editor of Oracle Magazine.