Oracle has unveiled the next generation of its middleware suite, Oracle Fusion Middleware 11g, which it claims can help simplify companies' software environments through greater integration.
Fusion Middleware is Oracle's name for a variety of products — many acquired through company buyouts — that fall outside of its main database management and application product lines. On Wednesday, the business software maker introduced 11g updates for five Fusion Middleware categories: Oracle SOA Suite, Oracle WebLogic Suite, Oracle WebCenter Suite, Oracle Identity Management and Oracle Development Tools for Fusion Middleware.
At a launch event in Washington, DC, Oracle president Charles Phillips described Fusion Middleware as forming part of an integrated stack, with infrastructure at the base, followed by the database layer, the middleware layer and finally the application layer.
Oracle's aim has been to build a complete stack, taking in all these layers and making it all work together, Phillips said.
"Our goal is the same as it has been for the last decade," he said at the event, which Oracle has made available as a webcast. "What we have been trying to do is build a single stack of technology to simplify computing."
To that end, the company has made 58 acquisitions in the past five-and-a-half years, and has worked to make all the middleware technologies it has acquired work together to combat the "fragmentation" that is the norm in the IT industry, Phillips said. The middleware layer has been based on open standards in an effort to ensure interoperability with third-party products.
"In this industry, we have had a lot of specialists that try to dominate one layer of this stack," Phillips said. "You get best-of-breed components, but none of it works together. They throw it over the wall to you, and then you hire some integrators and for the next 10 years they try to get it to work together."
One by-product of this situation is that it generates about two million technical service calls per year, Phillips said. "Most of that is to do with product dependencies between our products and third-party products," he said.
With the new Fusion Middleware line-up, Oracle has moved a step closer to its goal of integration and interoperability, added Phillips.
"This is a convergence layer for everything we are doing," he said. "We now have these services together in a single product. They are integrated together, they can be installed together, and updated and patched together."
The new Oracle SOA Suite 11g is designed for building services on private or public clouds, providing service-oriented architecture (SOA) capabilities including development, security and governance, according to the company.
Oracle WebLogic Suite 11g, based on the WebLogic application server acquired with BEA Systems, adds more levels of automation. New features include GridLink for Oracle Real Application Clusters and Enterprise Grid Messaging, both designed to improve reliability, and ActiveCache for improving scalability.
Oracle WebCenter Suite 11g provides reusable services components that can be used to add services such as social networking or productivity tools to various types of portal, including an intranet or web community. The suite includes Oracle Composer, a browser-based tool for customising websites, and WebCenter Spaces, a pre-built social networking service.
Oracle Identity Management 11g offers the beginnings of what the company explained will turn into an integrated identity management suite, with features such as a universal federation framework and a new user interface.
Finally, Oracle Development Tools is designed to further integrate other Oracle development tools into the rest of the stack, including JDeveloper, Oracle Application Development Framework and Oracle TopLink.