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Oracle showcases its SOA standardization

Standards and specifications promoting a service-oriented approach to application integration in heterogeneous environments took center stage at Oracle OpenWorld this week.

Standards for Web services and service-oriented architecture (SOA) took a lead role at the Oracle Corp. show in San Francisco this week.

Oracle is in a three-way race with IBM and SAP in terms of providing pre-packaged business processes that are tied to integration scenarios over specific verticals.
Bradley F. Shimmin
Principal Analyst of Application InfrastructureCurrent Analysis LLC.

In previewing the features of Oracle Fusion Middleware 11g, now in its fourth beta, Thomas Kurian, senior vice president overseeing the SOA platform pointed out all the Java, WS-* and SOA standards and specifications it supports.

In his keynote at Oracle OpenWorld, which was also Webcast globally, he started by pointing out that Fusion is Java EE 5 compliant and uses the Java Architecture for XML (JAX) standards. The middleware platform also supports Web services standards, including WS-Security, WS-Addressing and WS-ReliableMessaging. Turning to more SOA specific standardization, Kurian said Fusion supports the Service Component Architecture (SCA) specification currently in the OASIS standards process and WS-Policy working its way through W3C. There is also support for Business Process Execution Language (BPEL) and its companion specification covering human interaction with business processes, BPEL4People.

All the standards support reinforced the assertion Kurian and other Oracle executives were making this week, that they are committed to interoperability where their customers have software from other vendors.

In explaining the integration potential for Oracle's enterprise service bus, Kurian stressed its ability to bring together applications running in heterogeneous environments.

"Oracle's ESB provides the ability to access services from a variety of different application types -- Oracle and non-Oracle, mainframe systems and legacy environments, and create services from these applications and virtualize them," he said. "Once you virtualize the services you can get them to communicate with each other. We support high-speed messaging both request/reply and publish/subscribe patterns of messaging."

Standards for interoperability also were stressed in unveiling the new Application Integration Architecture (AIA) Foundation Pack toolkits built on the Oracle BPEL Process Manager. The AIA Foundation Packs, scheduled for release in the next 30 days, are dubbed "pre-built SOA integrations" for Oracle and non-Oracle applications.

In his keynote, Charles Phillips, president of Oracle, explained AIA as "our platform for integrating applications together, our own applications and third parties. What we've done is provide an open platform on our middleware stack and then we're providing the packaged integrations."

Bradley F. Shimmin, principal analyst of application infrastructure at Current Analysis LLC., said the AIA Foundation Pack announcement was one of the most important of the week, as it positions Oracle in its competition with rival SAP AG, as well as IBM.

"Oracle is in a three-way race with IBM and SAP in terms of providing pre-packaged business processes that are tied to integration scenarios over specific verticals," Shimmin said.

For more information
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He noted the SAP has been working on packaged application integration longer and IBM has been busily developing the technology this past year, but with AIA Oracle is making a run for leader of the pack.

All three vendors realize that in an SOA world they need to offer standards-based tools for application integration in heterogeneous environments to hold down implementation costs, Shimmin said.

Oracle's standards based approach with AIA not only provides the "pre-built SOA" integration but also allows its business partners and customers to extend them for the specific needs of an environment.

"They are doing quite a bit in support of this initiative and that's the biggest piece of news for the SOA world," Shimmin said of this week's announcements from Oracle OpenWorld.

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