Oracle Building Hot-Pluggable Middleware

During last month's Oracle OpenWorld, the database giant unveiled a enhanced roadmap for its Fusion Middleware, including more attention to a 'hot-pluggable' approach to enable more easy installs and custoimzation. See how Oracle's integratble approach to services middleware could change how devs and architects think about linking data and logic across your multi-vendor infrastructure.

Tags: Oracle, Fusion Middleware, Business, Process Manager, Customers, MacNeil, Security,

During last month's Oracle OpenWorld, the database giant unveiled a revved-up roadmap for line of Fusion Middleware, debuted last spring.

A key element to the upgrade is what Oracle calls more attention to a 'hot-pluggable' approach to enable more easy installs and customization.

With the upgrades to Fusion Middleware, Oracle posits the idea that linking data and logic between silos needs a wide range of support services - including security, directory and a rules repository. But, at the same time, Oracle says, accessing all those services should not require architects to conduct a forklift upgrade of existing enterprise infrastructure.

Oracle's Fusion Middleware architecture, which originally debuted in April, is all about providing developers - and even business users - choice, flexibility and better simplicity for managing data, applications and/or services across the enterprise, according Dennis MacNeil, Oracle product director for Java EE application servers.

"We look it at Oracle Fusion Middleware as a platform for the entire SOA lifecycle, from design, build, deploy and especially to update and manage" MacNeil told IDN. "So, we're engineering it to include J2EE app sever, but also includes business integration, tools, ID management and security solutions."

MacNeil put the vision behind Oracle's upgrades to Fusion Middleware this way:

"SOA is more than exposing apps to a service, there is an entire SOA lifecycle that includes design and development of the service, as well as the deployment, the securing and even the management," MacNeil said. "Taking this soup-to-nuts approach, we believe, will let customers better work with other portions of their company, as well as with partners, when building and managing SOA services."

One part of the new Fusion Middleware lets customers build business processes for several different applications using APIs and/or web service-enabled integration points (such as WSDLs). Oracle's recent acquisition of Oblix as well as its Oracle Data Hubs and Collaboration technology. The middleware products are then used to help crate Service Oriented Architectures (SOA) using Web services, an Enterprise Services Bus and Oracle BPEL Process Manager.

Oracle's decision to add a business rules engine to its J2EE app server (to support the Fusion Middleware approach) was driven by trends Oracle sees among customers, MacNeil said. A business rules engine native to our J2EE app server "allows developers or business analysts to quickly modify their application to adapt to changing business needs," MacNeil said.

"If there is a change in regulatory requirements, for instance, rather than chance code in the underlying applications or services, you just simply declaratively change those rules." To further enable "declarative" changes - rather than changes by direct coding -- Oracle is also adding a UDDI services registry to its coming J2EE Oracle apps server.

Inside Oracle's Fusion Middleware Stack
Among the parts to Oracle's Fusion Middleware are:
  • Oracle Application Server 10g,
  • Security Developer Tools (to support WS-Security and SAML),
  • Oracle Identity Management,
  • Oracle Data Hubs,
  • Oracle Collaboration Suite,
  • Oracle process manager,
  • Oracle web services manger,
  • JDeveloper tools,
  • Oracle WBPEL, and
  • Native support for EJB 3.0 and Hibernate.

    For all the features that Oracle's Fusion Middleware will include, the architecture is also "hot-pluggable," which will let customers mix-and-match Fusion Middleware with their existing infrastructure components. "With this approach, we can provide customers a complete SOA environment, or we can let customers use what they already have and simply add added functionality, such as end-to-end security or [BPEL] process management, where they might need it," MacNeil said.

    ISV and integrator partners are making plans to support Oracle Fusion Middleware, and cite the suite's ability to meet J2EE 1.4 standards, as well as provide up-the-stack business process management and security technologies in a way that can be pre-packaged in 1 place - or mixed and matched with legacy infrastructure.

    Oracle Fusion Middleware family, will be available in 2006.