Oracle Cloud Application Foundation Goes GA; Unifying WebLogic, Coherence Could Change Cloud Game

Oracle is delivering its first set of technologies to support a more agile enterprise infrastructure on-premise or in the cloud. Oracle’s Cloud Application Foundation unifies updates to Oracle WebLogic application server, Coherence in-memory data grid and other ALM technologies. IDN speaks with Oracle vice president Mike Lehmann.

Tags: Cloud Application Foundation, Coherence, Fusion Middleware, private cloud, Oracle, OCAF, WebLogic, expert voice,

Mike Lehman
vice president,
product management

“Oracle’s approach to Cloud Application Foundation is using the same basic software so this foundational infrastructure can run in both the cloud and on-premise worlds."

Oracle is delivering its first set of technologies to support a more agile enterprise infrastructure on-premise or in the cloud. Oracle’s Cloud Application Foundation unifies updates to Oracle WebLogic application server, Coherence in-memory data grid and other ALM technologies.

OCAF 12c, which can be combined with Oracle’s recently updated management and dev tools, is designed to let customers deliver next generation applications, including mobile apps, that run on a mission-critical private or public cloud. said Mike Lehmann, vice president of product management at Oracle.

In addition, OCAF 12c is designed to work with a rich set of supporting application lifecycle supports (via native features of simplified integration) for multi-tenancy, elasticity and reliable provisioning and updates, as well as cloud management, he added.

“OCAF 12c offers is a rock solid, pre-configured foundation layer for cloud infrastructure needs” for both enterprise IT and MSP (managed service provider) customers, Lehmann told IDN. For IT, they can deploy it completely on-premise; MSPs can build their cloud services as OCAF as a core application infrastructure which will run the SaaS offerings they provide to subscribers.

“We did a lot of work in the Oracle Cloud being built into the product and now they are formally productized,” Lehmann added. “This means customers can use the same technologies in the Oracle Cloud to build a cloud on-premise, or managed service providers [MSPs] can build their own cloud environment using Oracle’s mission-critical cloud technology.”

Notably, OCAF 12c is based on the same infrastructure technologies that power the Oracle Cloud public cloud service. “We’re using the same basic software so this foundational infrastructure can run in both the cloud and on-premise worlds, so customers have consistency in their data center and to the public cloud,” he said.

As a result, Lehmann said, OCAF 12c is the biggest step yet to provide enterprise IT with a common and unified infrastructure that can run apps on-premise, in private clouds and public clouds. To bring home this pint, Lehmann  added that OCAF 12c leverages a consistent model across all Oracle’s mission-critical infrastructure and application technologies, Lehmannn added. “The model is common across Fusion Middleware, Fusion applications, Exalogic, Enterprise Manager and the [public] Oracle Cloud. This gives me the ability to operate at scale that simply wasn’t possible before,” he said. ocaf_01

This idea of a providing customers a “mission-critical cloud” wherever they want it turns out to be an important driver behind OCAF. “We’ve been working of these technologies for two years, and we hear a ton of feedback from customers who want to use a cloud, but they are more conservative. They keep asking: ‘Can I do what you do in your Oracle [public] Cloud, but do it on-premise.’ “ 

OCAF 12c doesn’t simply bring together crucial WebLogic and Coherence infrastructure components, Lehman said. Oracle is filling in key gaps and doing full pre-configuration that customers used to have to solve on their own. .. “We heard from customers it was hard to do patching and installation at enterprise-scale to support the kind of volume they have. So, now we’re hearing customers say with [OCAF 12c], ‘You’ve solved some very hard problems,’” he said.

Under the covers, OCAF 12c provides core runtime pieces for an integrated set of infrastructure for both enterprise IT and service providers, Lehmann said. 

Oracle WebLogic Server 12.1.2 adds:

  • Dynamic clustering for cloud elasticity and more efficient resource management. This also supports simplified Java Messaging Service (JMS) administration for operational efficiency.
  • Enhanced support for Apache Maven to help devs with build and lifecycle management tasks. Added support for HTML5, Java and WebSockets to help devs deliver mobile and cross-platform applications
  • Declarative JSON or XML-based access to enterprise data sources via REST (through Oracle TopLink data services)
  • More rapid and reliable application delivery thanks to complete certification and integration with the just-released Oracle Database 12c. This includes support for pluggable database access and continuity capabilities.

Oracle Coherence 12.1.2 adds:

  • Ability to scale applications to meet mobile and cloud demands
  • Automatically provides applications with real-time availability of database changes (via Coherence GoldenGate HotCache)
  • Improves cluster lifecycle management (via Oracle WebLogic Management Framework with Managed Coherence Servers)
  • Oracle Coherence Live Events, a simplified event processing platform, to automatically adapt to spikes in user demand using dynamic proxy thread pooling
  • Rich, flexible, high-availability options and delivers multi-data center solutions with site-safe and rack-safe enhancements

OCAF is just one part of the Oracle story on a unified infrastructure that will work on-premise or for the cloud. “We are making an overall infrastructure release centered around three major areas of investments,” Lehmann said. Aside from OCAF’s mission-critical cloud infrastructure, the other two pieces are:

Management. The latest Oracle Enterprise Manager 12c Release 3, adds comprehensive cloud management capabilities for OCAF. Benefits of the update include capability to reduce complexity of managing private clouds, maximize control of business application SLAs and ability to diagnose middleware issues up to 4x faster, he said.

Development Tools. Updates to Oracle Application Development Framework and Oracle JDeveloper and Oracle Enterprise Pack for Eclipse are all optimized for use with OCAF. OCAF also provides ready hooks for devs to more easily integrate with Oracle Database 12c, and more quickly and reliably support apps that need multi-tenancy and elasticity, he added.

As one example, Oracle’s upgrade to the WebLogic management framework sports a smart set of technologies that provides lifecycle management capabilities to deal with many frequent provisioning headaches. “If you have 1,000 WebLogic domains, you can apply patches and make sure there are no conflicts. And, if there happens to be an issue, we help you reconcile them or you can rollback changes,” Lehmann said.

For their part, customers reportedly are looking to the changes.

Orient Overseas Container Line, a $6 billion shipping and logistics service company in Hong Kong, runs its ERP on Oracle WebLogic and Coherence. The company’s director of applications development, Matt Rosen, said in a statement that he expected the newly integrated management framework “will drive up our operational efficiency.” He also said he expects the Oracle GoldenGate HotCache feature will improve data availability “by surfacing database changes to applications through Oracle Coherence in real-time.”

“What is changing here,” Lehmann said, “is that Oracle’s approach looks to provide a cloud infrastructure that will simplify how customers build [clouds] to scale to support hundreds or thousands of tenants, and allow them to work in the public clouds or on private clouds within their data center.” 

The next big stage will be the rollout of an upgrade to Oracle Fusion Middleware, which will run on top of the OCAF infrastructure. That OFM upgrade, being worked on now, will likely ship in the next 12 months or so, Lehman said.