Monday 11 August 2008

Back at the front: Oracle-BEA

Today I returned from my vacation and one of the things to start with was to dive into the Oracle BEA material.

So I listend to the podcasts of Thomas Kurian (Oracle's Vice president on Fusion Middleware) on, dated juli 1st 2008. He talked about Oracle's strategy to integrate the BEA products in the Oracle FMW product lines.

I created an exerpt from this podcast.

Oracle's strategy is to create a complete Suite of Middleware for building, deploying and managing applications on SOA. Thomas is apparently a three-pointer-guy. He talked about:

  1. Common middleware customers asked to bring the products together

  2. Oracle wants to broaden sales and distribution channels

  3. Oracle and BEA have very complementary product-sets and adoption of customers in industries and geographies.

So they come with a combined product roadmap.

  1. BEA and Oracle have complementary products: BEA has a JVM, Transation Monitoring, Security products. Oracle has Business Inteligence, Identity Management, Content Management products. This is very simple: these products are going to be co-exist.

  2. There where there is overlap: BEA and Oracle already interoperate, and will enhance the interoperatability of products based on Oracle's hotplugable strategy.

  3. There will be specific decisions on certain overlapping products. For example BEA's and Oracle ESB products are brought together. In this case it will mean that BEA's ESB will be promoted.

Tuxcedo is considered to be an important asset. Oracle will enhance it significantly. Broadening the number of supported OS's. Integrating with Soa Infrastructure and integrating more tighly with 11gDB Grid/RAC.

Weblogic will be Oracle's strategic Java Server, with another 3-pointer:

  1. All FMW technology that is already supported on Weblogic 9.x, will be certified on the new Weblogic 10.3.

  2. Integrating number of features of Oracle AS in Weblogic: Object Relation Modelling (I read Toplink, but probably also ADF Business Components), EJB-implementation, Security manager, Webservices Stack.

  3. The “Converged Application Server” is also going to be used in the Application Suites. (I wonder if this also is going to count for EBS in short notice; EBS just recently, since mid 2007, in R12 is based on Oracle 10g AS OC4J).

Thomas states that SOA is the fundamental architecture for Enterprise Applications.

A number of BEA features is going to be added to the Oracle SoaSuite. The Oracle SoaSuite then will consist of:

  • ESB converged to SCA Services Component Architecture

  • Oracle BPEL PM

  • Oracle Rules

  • Oracle Complex Event Processing mechanism combined with Weblogic Event server

  • BAM

  • Oracle Webservices Manager

  • BEA Aqualogic Enterprise Repository

  • Oracle Enterprise manager

  • Oracle Integration B2B engine

Thomas also talked a little about Enterprise 2.0, what in his eyes is about the fact how people in an enterprise use applications on internet. How you share information. Apparently Oracle's Content management systems plays a big role with versioning, access, indexing and searching. This brings together CMS from Oracle FMW + BEA:

  • Weblogic portal

  • Aqualogic user interaction

  • Oracle webcenter

This will be called the Webcenter Suite that will bring web2.0 services.

Another interesting subject Thomas talked about was: Business Process Management. This is about Separating definition of business processes into a Business Process Management Engine. For this Oracle comes with the BPM Suite - Business Process Management suite: modeling, execution and monitoring business processes. I wonder how the BPA suite and SoaSuite fits in this. To me it seems that BPM (being business process management, not modeling) is: BPA Suite (Business Process Architecting + Modeling) + jDeveloper (BPEL Modeling) + SOASuite (BPEL PM for execution and BAM for monitoring). But I don't know how far this is true, since on the BEA website I find a datasheet on the Aqua Logic BPM Suite. Thomas does not talk about the BPA Suite, so this sound like a rebranding of the AL BPM Suite, which also has a Business Analyst part. Interesting though is that this BPM suite also has a Process Modeller and an execution engine, while I understand from the talk of Thomas that Oracle BPEL PM will be the Process Execution engine of the SoaSuite. So I'm still very curious about that.

Two other interesting product suites Thomas talked about are:

  • Access Management Suite.

  • Weblogic Application Grid.

The combined Suites already available. In September 2008 the public date that the 100-days plan is done. More interoperability is promised in the future release of FMW 11g.

So although it is interesting hearing Thomas about Oracle's FMW+BEA roadmap, I've still some questions. My major ones are:

  • What is the future of the SoaSuite adapters? They're JCA compliant, but BEA also brings in adapters with the Aqualogic ESB. I've not looked into them, but expect them to be JCA complient also.

  • As stated above what about Oracle BPA suite verses BEA Aqualogic BPM Suite. When Oracle talks about the BPM Suite is this the rebranding BEA ALBPM, leaving behind the BPA Suite?

  • How will the Oracle BPEL PM fit in the BPM Suite? Since there is a great effort already done on integrating BPEL PM with BPA Suite, which together in my opinion sounds very like the BEA AL BPM Suite.

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