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9/18/2005
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Oracle Unveils New App Server At Its Big Show

The new software will be available by May and is especially geared for Web services and grid computing.

While most of the chatter at this week's Oracle OpenWorld confab will doubtless center on Oracle's planned buy of Siebel Systems, there will be some plain ol' product news as well.

At the San Francisco event, the company is announcing Oracle Application Server 10g Release 3, due later this fiscal year ending May 2006.

This is a "major update to the company's SOA platform and hot-pluggable architecture," said Rick Schultz, vice president of Fusion Middleware for the Redwood Shores, Calif., database giant.

And, Oracle—now with many PeopleSoft and perhaps Siebel customers who run on Oracle, IBM or Microsoft software—is expected to play up its good corporate citizenship.

"We're committed to not only Java Web services and SOA standards but also to certifying a broad range of third-party products —something like 128" for use with the middleware, Schultz told CRN.

For example, the new offering is certified with Microsoft'sActive Directory and non-Oracle databases just as its other middleware products are certified on other J2EE Web servers including BEA WebLogic, Jboss and IBM WebSphere. It will also be certified for such open-source technologies as Spring, Apache Struts, Apache Axis, Apache MyFaces and Hibernate, Schultz said.

Oracle Application Server 10g Release 3 includes enhancements to Oracle JDeveloper and Oracle Application Developer Framework (ADF) including more powerful code re-factoring; support for Java 5.0 and J2EE 1.4; and a visual JavaServer Faces (JSF) and Struts-based development environment. These tools also support the Enterprise Java Beans (EJB) 3.0 specification.

A modified class-loading architecture will let integrators, VARs and corporate IT more easily plug in open-source products and interoperate with them, Schultz told CRN. Release 2 has been shipping since last December.

In supporting SOAs—one of the latest tech buzzwords—Oracle is adding a business rules engine to bolster SOA life cycle support, Schultz said. The engine lets customers "abstract out rules from the application code so if they want to change the rules without changing the [overall] code which would require a recompile, they can do so. This keeps the rules separate from business services," he noted.

Oracle is also adding support for WS Reliable Messaging, WS Security and the latest versions of SAML (2.0) and UDDI (3.0), he said.

And, the company is updating the Enterprise Services Bus (ESB) in the app server enterprise edition so it supports JSR 2.08, he said. Oracle will position this middleware and its related toolset as a boost for developers who want to build "grids" and SOAs with an array of support for the relevant alphabet-soup of protocols. For example, o JDeveloper and Oracle Application Developer Framework (ADF) will add support for Java 5.0 and J2EE 1.4 as well as a visual JavaServer Faces (JSF) and Struts-based development environment. The tools also support Enterprise Java Beans 3.0.

Oracle Application Server 10g Release 3 includes enhancements to Oracle JDeveloper and Oracle Application Developer Framework (ADF), such as new usability features; comprehensive, more powerful and easy to use code re-factoring; support for Java 5.0 and J2EE 1.4; and a visual, declarative JavaServer Faces (JSF) and Struts-based development environment with an extensive library of Graphical User Interface (JSF) components. These development tools also support the Enterprise Java Beans (EJB) 3.0 specification.

This show is expected to focus on Oracle's growing middleware lineup rather than its bread-and-butter database lineup. Oracle last week made available its Oracle 10g Release 2 database for Windows. The Unix and Linux versions surfaced earlier this summer. The company is expected to release its security updates for the database next month.

While the company continuously touts fast growth of its app server and tools business, that is off a much smaller base than competitors like BEA and IBM, observers say.

One big question will be what Oracle CEO Larry Ellison will say about continued support for Seibel OnDemand CRM, which was built for IBM DB2/WebSphere environments. Siebel executives said last week that the linkage between Siebel CRM OnDemand and IBM infrastructure could be revisited. Oracle must move carefully because many of its newly-in-the-fold PeopleSoft and JD Edwards customers run Oracle on IBM (and Microsoft) infrastructure.

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