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Oracle Unveils Fusion Middleware 11g

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Oracle today unveiled the latest version of its Fusion Middleware, version 11g, a major release in Oracle’s most profitable software line.

“It has significant new capabilities across all product lines,” said Hasan Rizvi, Oracle (NADSAQ: ORCL) senior vice president for Fusion Middleware products, in an online press briefing with reporters ahead of the release.

It was a tremendous effort. It took 7,350 person-years of engineering, occupied over 3,500 Oracle developers, involved 220,000 tests run each night, and incorporated 5,420 customer enhancements and 1,987 individual development projects, according to Rizvi.

Within the Fusion product, the company delivered four upgraded product suites today. The Oracle SOA Suite 11g helps companies build applications and the Oracle WebCenter Suite 11g helps them deliver data over the Web, according to Rizvi.

He added that the WebLogic Suite 11g is used to run applications, including Java.

Rizvi claims the first phase of Oracle Identity Management 11g is the industry’s first service-oriented approach to identity management and will help customers protect their IT infrastructure from external and internal threats.

He added that Oracle will update other parts of the Fusion Middleware suite, such as business intelligence and content management, to version 11g in the coming months. JDeveloper 11g has already been released.

A strategy that centers on BEA

Oracle first talked about its integrated strategy and 11g almost a year ago, when the company said it would be released in May of 2009.

Today, Rizvi said that goal has been achieved. “Nearly a year ago we announced a product strategy around the BEA acquisition,” said Rizvi. “11g is the completion of BEA integration.”

Rizvi added that because Oracle products are built on open standards, they are better integrated than the competition, but that Oracle products can work with any assets. “Middleware needs to work with whatever is in the IT environment, including other databases, portals, and security infrastructure,” he said.

He noted that Fusion Middleware has 90,000 customers worldwide including
29 of the 30 Dow Jones Industrial Index companies and 98 of the Fortune 100 companies.

Rizvi said that 11g takes advantage of current software trends. It makes business intelligence and analytics data available to more employees, within business parameters, by incorporating BI into more commonly used applications.

It incorporates collaboration technologies such as blogging, wikis, and tagging to deliver “end user empowerment.”

“Customers are asking that social networking applications be a first class citizen within the enterprise environment,” Rizvi said. “They want to deploy collaboration that will have the scalability, security, and availability to make it an enterprise class critical service.”

Fusion Middleware 11g can use virtualization technologies to address up to 1 TB of RAM in a grid of cached servers, and is built to fully utilize multi-core computers, Rizvi added.

Better application development

One goal of the software suite is to enable enterprises to truly build company-wide apps. To that end, the suite is designed to ensure that security is treated consistently across all applications. “An SCA, a service component architecture, delivers a common standards-based environment with common services like logging. This reduces the development time for new applications and lowers the cost of application management,” he said.

“There’s a big frustration among our customers at seeing security treated differently on different projects,” Rizvi said. “In response, we give developers access to common security solutions so that developers can build applications based on a common service-based security model. With our beta program, we already have thousands of hours of experience using this capability.”

“The suite integrates three types of business processes that organizations typically deal with independently: humans, systems (IT), and document-centric processes. This allows business users such as those in the HR department and the financial department to use applications rather than requiring IT folks to program them, making department more efficient,” he said.

He added that for developers, there is now little difference between portals, communities, Web sites, and applications because all require the stringent development standards reserved in the past for software.

Asked in the question and answer session whether the product would be Java-centric or whether it would support other languages such as Ruby on Rails, PHP, and Javascript, Rizvi said he’d rely on the open source community.

“We have various development tools,” he said. “We are developing for a certain class of customer but our customers are also consuming different capabilities. We have the open source Eclipse IDE [which is Java-based] but we do have customers who are basically living in other environments.

“Others in the market are developing support for those languages and customers are free to use them.”

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