Oracle in middleware marketing push

Company seeking same recognition for middleware as for database and applications

Over the past couple of years Oracle has been in the news for its applications acquisitions — the takeover of PeopleSoft and, more recently, the intended buyout of Siebel generated plenty of headlines.

However, Oracle has made several other recent acquisitions that haven’t gained the coverage that PeopleSoft, Siebel or retail apps provider Retek did.

Speaking to Computerworld at the Oracle Technology Summit in Sydney late last month, Oracle Asia–Pacific vice president of Fusion Middleware sales, Roland Slee, said Oracle’s recent buys of middleware vendors such as Oblix and Collaxa are also very important.

Oblix’s main contribution to Oracle is in the identity management space, but with the acquisition Oracle also got hold of Oblix’s COREsv product, which it has rebranded Oracle Web Services Manager.

The Collaxa acquisition strengthened Oracle’s offering in the BPEL (Business Process Execution Language) space, as Oracle has rebranded Collaxa’s BPEL Server into Oracle BPEL Server.

BPEL is an XML-based language that enables information to be exchanged and tasks shared across distributed computing environments.

Slee, who was previously Oracle’s Asia–Pacific senior director of business and technology solutions, took up the middleware role in May, a month after Oracle rebranded all its middleware products under the Fusion Middleware banner.

The Fusion Middleware brand comprises Oracle’s Application Server, Collaboration Suite, Business Intelligence, Identity Management and and Data Hub products, among others.

In New Zealand, Telecom is major user of the Data Hub, which it uses to access customer data.

The Fusion Middleware is intended to be the foundation of the upcoming Fusion applications, the merging of Oracle’s E-Business Suite with the PeopleSoft and JD Edwards applications it gained when it bought PeopleSoft.

Another speaker at the Technology Summit was Oracle vice president of technology marketing Bob Shimp, who noted that Oracle did US$850 million (NZ$1.25 billion) of middleware sales in the last financial year.

Shimp laid out a vision of Oracle products going into the future, with its grid computing platform, Fusion Middleware and Fusion applications all playing a part in the broader environment of a service-oriented architecture and enterprise information architecture.

Oracle is in the throes of a major marketing push for its middleware, seeking to get it to the same level of recognition as its database and applications. Its approach to middleware is quite different to that of rival SAP, which runs the Netweaver middleware platform.

In pushing middleware, Oracle is competing against IBM, BEA Systems and open-source middleware vendors such as JBoss.

In a recent benchmark test of application servers by open source test software maker Push to Test, Oracle performed poorly against competing products from BEA, IBM and JBoss, partly due to string problems in the Oracle product.

Oracle has also come under fire for including business intelligence products in the Fusion Middleware range. In his blog, BEA senior investor relations director Eric Stahl claims Oracle is inflating its middleware portfolio by including BI tools in it when BI isn’t a middleware application.

The Oracle Technology Summit featured presentations from Slee and Shimp among others, partner presentations and customer success stories from Virgin Mobile and others.

Watson travelled to Sydney courtesy of Oracle

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Tags technologyOraclemiddleware

More about BEABEA SystemsIBM AustraliaJBossJD EdwardsOblixOraclePeopleSoftRetekRolandSAP AustraliaTechnologyVirgin Mobile Australia

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