IT channel takeaway: This Q&A offers a glance (from an Oracle executive's perspective) at how Oracle Fusion Middleware compares with different middleware and SOA offerings.
With Ashish Mohindroo, senior product director, Oracle Fusion Middleware.
Question:</b. To some extent, Oracle's middleware offerings -- at least as I understand them -- are separate from Fusion applications, but the two are related. Understandably, people who don't work for Oracle may be confused. Could you help us sort this out?
Mohindroo: Oracle Fusion Middleware is a platform for building applications. We have separately priced our products. The customer can buy middleware technology from Oracle, and they can buy Oracle applications, which is a completely separate set of products. Now going forward, our Fusion applications, our next generation applications slated to come out in 2008, are going to be built on the Fusion Middleware Platform. So Fusion applications will have components of Fusion Middleware embedded in them. For right now, and into the future, customers can buy Fusion Middleware completely separately.
Question: Would it be fair to say that the Fusion Middleware platform is to Oracle what NetWeaver is to SAP?
Mohindroo: I would say yes, and it's much more than that. NetWeaver is their platform for SAP applications, right? We offer more than that, because you can build any application, not just Oracle apps, on top of our platform. So, if you're building a customer application -- we have over 7,500 ISVs building their applications on top of our middleware technology, we have Oracle applications on top of it -- so it's a very generic middleware platform that can be used for any purpose: integrating applications, building custom apps, securing your infrastructure and so on.
Question: Service-oriented architecture is obviously one of the hottest topics in IT. Does Oracle's approach to SOA differ from that of SAP?
Mohindroo: Absolutely. Last month we announced a new package called Oracle SOA Suite. We're the only vendor in the market that has a comprehensive, "unbreakable" SOA suite. And let me elaborate on that. We deliver every product component that's required to adopt a service-oriented architecture. SOA is more a methodology. It's a framework, a blueprint, on how to make your applications interoperate with one another, and how to build a component-based architecture. But at Oracle, we supply all the components you need — it's comprehensive — and secondly, we understand that most of our customers operate in a very heterogeneous IT environment. So they have pieces of SAP, they have Oracle, they have legacy systems, they might have custom-built applications, so any piece of infrastructure you add on to the existing IT infrastructure needs to interoperate with what's there today. We call this concept "hot pluggable." Oracle SOA Suite is 100 percent hot pluggable running on top of any infrastructure, like Oracle application server, BEA WebLogic, JBoss or IBM WebSphere.
This 3 Questions originally appeared in a weekly report from IT Business Edge.