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Team Spotlight: Mike Lehmann, Vice President of Product Management
Oracle Fusion Middleware drives a lot of excitement and innovation—and there are some interesting people behind the technology. For this edition, we spoke with Mike Lehmann, vice president of product management for Oracle Cloud Application Foundation, Oracle WebLogic Server, Oracle Coherence, Java Cloud Services, and Java Platform, Enterprise Edition.
Q. Tell us about the professional journey that brought you to your current role.
A. I’m a relatively long-term Oracle employee. I’ve been here for more than 15 years, starting as a field sales consultant supporting the middleware sales team in Canada when Oracle did not have much middleware. From there I went into product marketing for middleware, and eventually made my first foray into product management, starting in web services. I’ve worked my way up to be product management lead of that group, which has coincided with some rapid growth as Oracle has built a strong portfolio through both organic product growth and acquisitions, such as Tangosol Coherence (Oracle Coherence), BEA (Oracle WebLogic), and Sun (Oracle Glassfish Server). It’s been quite a ride—when I started, our sales were in the tens of millions, and we now have a US$2 billion plus worldwide market.
Q. What energizes you most about your position?
A. I’ve always been excited about Oracle’s ability to execute on a vision—when I first started in 1997, it was because I was sold on Oracle’s commitment to drive the world of Java quite dramatically. That vision was early at the time but now, Oracle is not only the steward of the Java platform but leads the industry with the market-leading products in the space. And to top it off, we have transitioned to executing on a similar vision in the cloud—there are very few other companies that can really do this. Since that start, there has been so much innovation both internally and through acquisitions that it constantly remains a massive learning experience. That’s what I love.
Finally, I have had the good fortune to work with lots of smart, driven people with big technology visions, and that is something that is hugely exciting to be part of—my current team is one of the best I have been involved in, so it is enormously satisfying to be part of it.
Q. What are some important technology areas that you think will fuel innovation in the infrastructure space in the next few years?
A. We’re focusing on several areas. Supporting and driving core standards such as Java Platform, Enterprise Edition to help drive modern application development productivity. HTML5 and developer infrastructure is another important area, as is our ability to provide high-availability, high-performance infrastructure technology that is designed to work in multidata center environments.
Engineered systems set a new, uncharted software/hardware integration direction for the industry. For our product set this translates into a focus on performance, operational efficiency, and density.
My team also loves bringing “rocket science” technology to ordinary enterprise developers in the form of in-memory data grids—that space is now the new normal. It’s exploding with customer and product innovations.
Lastly, cloud. It’s common in cloud technology to find repackaged solutions, but we are working on the hard stuff at the core, such as how to deliver standards-based innovations that really are cloud by design and then managing them at scale with literally millions of service endpoints. Not only are we innovating but we are also solving mundane but extremely challenging issues such as patching, upgrading, high availability, and disaster recovery at massive cloud scale. These are hard problems that require real engineering, not just repackaging. They are worth the investment because our customers need them solved.
Q. Oracle is always busy with strategic product news. Are there any announcements to which you would particularly like to draw attention?
A. We just had a major release of a combination of products that bring major cloud functionality to the Oracle Cloud Application Foundation product set: Oracle WebLogic Server 12c (release 12.1.2), Oracle Coherence 12c, Oracle JDeveloper 12c, Oracle Enterprise Pack for Eclipse 12c, and Oracle Enterprise Manager 12c release 3.
Major releases like this come every few years. This one is focused around cloud infrastructure, tightly integrated with the recent release of Oracle Database 12c and its multitenant features. But it still also delivers on emerging developer requirements such as HTML5 and continuous integration, which is fantastic. Not only that, but our partnership with Microsoft to certify on Azure means that our infrastructure can run on-premises, in Oracle’s Cloud, and on different cloud environments such as Azure. No other vendor even attempts to provide this kind of flexibility and value.
Q. Oracle OpenWorld 2013 is coming up, which always means some exciting content and discussion. What can we expect to hear from your team?
A. We definitely have more coming at Oracle OpenWorld. We’ll be drilling down into more details from this launch, and I would not be surprised to see more cloud- and developer-oriented announcements that build on what we’ve done with this recent release.
Q. What free-time activities and interests do you enjoy?
A. I am a long-distance road cyclist taking on the occasional Gran Fondo and a semi-regular runner. I recently completed my first marathon, the BMO Vancouver Marathon.
Q. What is a little-known fact about you that nobody would guess when first meeting you?
A. I suspect few would know that I garden a fair bit. I have a bit of a vegetable garden going—perhaps I’ll be able to achieve a zero mile diet for a few days of the year.
Learn more about Oracle Cloud Application Foundation.
Get more in-depth information about Java Platform, Enterprise Edition.