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Oracle buys performance specialist ClearApp

For ClearApp, maker of the QuickVision model-driven performance engine, the purchase means a powerful channel for innovative products. For Oracle it means another enhancement to its Web-and transaction-oriented management offering.

Oracle Corp. yesterday announced the acquisition of SOA performance specialist ClearApp, which provides model-driven management for composite applications built on J2EE middleware, not the least of which is BEA Weblogic, itself recently purchased by hard-charging Oracle.

It does show that Oracle is looking to get into the SOA management space.
Prabhjot Singh
vice president of marketingCA/Wiley

For Oracle it means another enhancement to its Web and transaction-oriented offering. For QuickVision Clear App's flagship tool, the purchase means ready funding and a powerful channel. Oracle indicated it would increase R&D funding for the ClearApp products.After the close of the transaction, ClearApp employees are expected to join Oracle.

ClearApp's claim to application performance management fame rests on QuickVision, which uses a modeling engine to discover applications as well as changes in applications. ClearApp built its company initially on BEA WebLogic server and portal monitor offerings, which it has subsequently sought to expand to span the full breadth of application monitoring, including services and composite applications.

This type of capability is seen as key in managing composite applications that are often hard to pin down and which are continually evolving. QuickVision allows enterprise IT to resolve application issues, and make changes to reduce downtime in SOA environments, Oracle said.

"As customers deploy more SOA-based applications, the task of effectively managing them becomes paramount," Leng Leng Tan, Oracle vice president of applications and systems management, said in a prepared statement. "Our customers are expected to get continuous and uninterrupted top-down views of their business services and applications, helping them maximize service availability while reducing IT operations costs."

"ClearApp did a great job of identifying applications, especially portal applications, that were not being well monitored by the existing solutions, said analyst Bernd Harzog. "They successfully solved an unsolved problem."

Harzog CEO and founder of APMExperts, noted that this is Oracle's second recent acquisition in the performance management space. Last December, the company bought end-user experience monitoring company Moniforce.

According to Oracle, ClearApp is expected to strengthen Oracle SOA Runtime Governance, providing insight and context for end-to-end enterprise performance management of SOA-enabled business services.

Enterprise competitor CA/Wiley said the move shows Oracle's interest in the enterprise performance management market.

"QuickVision technology has been a moving target [for a company trying to find] a niche they could dominate," asserted Prabhjot Singh, vice president of marketing for CA. "It does show that Oracle is looking to get into the SOA management space. They will use assets from this acquisition and others to put together a coherent strategy."

However, Singh warned of challenges in Oracle's path as it seeks to integrate various performance-related technologies.

Analyst Harzog also saw Oracle's move as an indicator the company intends to be a significant player in this space.

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"With its purchase of BEA, Oracle is one of the leaders in Web application platforms," he said. "With two significant acquisitions in performance management of Web apps, this suggests that Oracle has a very serious strategy to become a vendor of not just infrastructure but also [tools to] manage infrastructure."

That is a huge departure, Harzog suggested, from the Oracle known as a maker of databases and packaged apps.

ClearApp products will be integrated with Oracle Enterprise Manager when the deal is completed, which Oracle estimates will happen in the fourth quarter of this year. Until the deal closes, Oracle said ClearApp will continue to operate as an independent company. Financial details of the transaction were not disclosed.

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