Oracle has re-architected its middleware into a more tightly integrated software set and launched it today as its Fusion Middleware 11g suite.
Oracle President Charles Phillips traveled to Washington, D.C. to make official what Oracle has been promising was coming for the last three years. He and Thomas Kurian, senior VP for Fusion Middleware, staged two hours of demos and presentations on how Fusion products now work together.
According to Oracle, Fusion 11g will provide "the innovation foundation" for the company's growing portfolio of business applications. It will allow services for many applications, such as security, to be delivered from a shared middleware layer. And it will allow changes to applications to be made at a higher, metadata level, rather than through changes in the underlying application code. Avoiding app customizations will lead to fewer incompatibilities between applications and relieve a major impediment to application upgrades.
At today's demo, Phillips emphasized integration. "The industry has been dominated by specialists trying to dominate their application space," he said, leaving it to customers to "improvise" the integration of their products with other elements of their data center.
Improvisation is what generates two million calls a year to Oracle technical support seeking help, Phillips noted, then said that he's looking at the tighter integration between applications and their supporting middleware that'll be available in Fusion to reduce the need for technical support.
"Otherwise, those calls will never change, if we just continue what we've been doing," he said.
Fusion Middleware can now provide identity management services, Web portal services, security services, services oriented architecture, and WebLogic application server services to the broad portfolio of Oracle applications.
Over the last five years, Oracle has made 58 acquisitions, mainly in the business applications space, such as PeopleSoft, Siebel Systems and J.D. Edwards. Oracle plans to follow up its success in relational database with a growing portfolio of applications that make use of the database. Indeed, middleware is now the leading edge of Oracle's strategy to sell applications. If Oracle can get customers to adopt its middleware, they'll have a reason to buy more applications that work both with that middleware and each other.