Last week, Oracle acquired UK-based Thor Technologies and US-based OctetString to help the software company compete against rivals such as Computer Associates, IBM and Sun Microsystems in the identity management space.
At the Gartner Symposium in Sydney last Thursday, Roland Slee, vice president of Oracle Fusion middleware sales for the Asia Pacific region, told ZDNet Australia that the two acquisitions will complement Oracle's middleware offerings and allow the software giant to provide enterprises with a virtualised directory environment and improved ID management.
"Most customers have a mixture of desktops, mid-range, mainframe, Web applications and all sorts of different technical environments. Ideally, they would like a single identity for each of their users," said Slee. "The question is who has the sweetest middleware suite. You need the ability to provision the identity of the user from the master into all manner of other technological environments -- that is what Thor allows us to do."
Slee explained that ideally, enterprises would like to have just one directory to provision its resources, but most have several because they use a number of different platforms. The OctetString acquisition will enable Oracle to provide a single virtual directory, he said.
"Most companies have several [directories], they might have Microsoft Active Directory, some directory stuff on the mainframe and probably something on Unix. A virtual directory is about synchronising all the identity information across the different directories so you can have a single business identity -- even if that identity information physically lives in more than one place," said Slee.
According to Slee, this integration is only possible because directory technology has matured: "When standards were less mature and the technology was less mature, the idea of trying to control who can log on to your mainframe by talking to Microsoft active directory on Windows NT4 would have been pretty tricky."
Mark Gibbs, Oracle's senior vice president of applications and industries in Asia Pacific, told ZDNet Australia that the company's recent acquisitions, which includes the proposed US$5.8 billion acquisition of Siebel, have not been a "rampage". Instead, he described the shopping spree as "part of an overall strategy".
"PeopleSoft, and hopefully Siebel, will provide us with the richest application functionality on the planet. Our ability to overlay and interplay that with the best security and identity management from an application perspective makes these applications far differentiated from anything else available on the market," said Gibbs.