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Oracle's Tuxedo gets a more modern cut with SCA, Ruby and Python

Oracle released Tuxedo 11g this week, adding support for SCA, Ruby, and Python, as well as other features for SOA.

Oracle Corp. this week announced the release of Tuxedo 11g, a transaction processing platform acquired along with BEA Systems that the company hopes to turn into a mission-critical application server for non-Java languages. Tuxedo allows users to migrate off of legacy mainframes onto a transaction processing platform that runs on a grid of commodity hardware. The product now supports C/C++, COBOL, Ruby and Python.

"We've done quite a bit of modernization of the core platform so that it is built around modern SOA architecture," said Ajay Patel, VP of Fusion Middleware at Oracle.

New features for Tuxedo include an integration adapter for JCA-compliant application servers, a service component architecture (SCA) programming model, WS-TX support and updated monitoring at both the application and system level. Oracle has also released a revamped application runtime that the company says greatly reduces the need to change application code when migrating.

Many enterprise mainframes still run the CICS transaction manager, and Oracle VP of Fusion Middleware Ajay Patel said moving to Tuxedo won't require developers to do much differently.

"What we've done here is put a CICS face on top of Tuxedo's core transaction infrastructure," said Patel. "From a developer perspective there's no real change; they're still writing their COBOL app making CICS calls. But operationally, we don't need the mainframe skill set anymore because the platform they're operating is the same structure they're running the rest of their infrastructure on."

Transaction brokers like Tuxedo come from a desire to decouple large transactional applications into services and then reconstitute them – particularly where transactions cross organizational boundaries, said RedMonk analyst James Governor.

"Tuxedo was an environment built for people who wanted to do SOA before SOA was invented," said Governor. "It really was and is used in industries where there was a notion of packaging up services to deliver value to an end customer."

With SOA now as mainstream as it has become, those organizations that still use legacy mainframes would likely be sluggish to drop them, he said. While the mainframe skill set is indeed graying, he said transaction brokers can also be tricky to use and it can be even harder to find people with relevant skills. Many enterprises have even spent millions already on service enabling their legacy mainframes with modern middleware.

For enterprises that are considering dropping their mainframe, Patel said Tuxedo offers a significant TCO reduction over traditional migration. The system is hardware agnostic and is built such that application code does not require major rework, he said. Patel said the only code that needs to be reworked is that which handles the environmental configuration, and Tuxedo has a tool to simplify that process. He said by emulating mainframe systems that enterprises are familiar with, the extra time and effort spent rewriting code for a standard migration is no longer a factor.

Originally developed by AT&T, Tuxedo has its roots in online transaction processing for the telecom space. It spent a few years owned by Novell Inc. before BEA picked up its development. It came to Oracle through the BEA acquisition of 2008. Since then, Patel said, Oracle has focused on two areas: making Tuxedo more like a full-blown application server and improving its management features. Oracle continues to integrate Tuxedo into its Fusion Middleware platform.

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