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Oracle Goes SOA with Collaxa Buy

Oracle has crafted a service-oriented architecture (SOA) based on its recent acquisition of hometown start-up Collaxa, which makes business process management (BPM) software.

The company did not reveal a purchase price for Collaxa, whose BPM platform helps companies coordinate the glut of processes and technologies in their software stacks. The purchase had been rumored for weeks, only to be denied by the company until a press statement Tuesday.

The company did say it has made the flagship Collaxa BPEL Server a driving component of its SOA software, which, like others of its kind, will be used as a distributed computing platform to coordinate Web services . These allow applications to communicate with one another and automate business processes.

Bridging the gap between business processes, Web services and SOAs is important at a time when companies are relying on fluid, distributed computing environments filled with disparate applications, because it makes transactions and other tasks flow better.

Oracle said it hopes its newly created BPEL (Business Process Execution Language) Process Manager, from the Collaxa BPEL Server, will make it easier for organizations to adapt to changing business needs on the fly, a cornerstone of SOAs and Web services. The product includes a BPM engine, a management console and a graphical interface for writing software.

Collaxa's technology is modeled on the Business Process Execution Level (BPEL) specification, which is a template for reducing the cost and complexity of integration projects. It is backed by Microsoft , IBM , SAP and BEA Systems.

Along with the BPEL Process Manager, Oracle will leverage the Web services, BPM and other capabilities in its Application Server 10g to help companies reduce the cost of integrating business applications.

Oracle BPEL Process Manager is immediately available for free download and evaluation from Oracle Technology Network. For commercial use, it can be purchased as an add-on option to Application Server 10g Enterprise Edition for $10,000, or as a standalone product for $30,000.

Ronald Schmelzer, senior analyst of SOA and Web services research outfit ZapThink, said Oracle's maneuver is a positive step for a company that had a gaping SOA value proposition, having offered only an SOA developer kit earlier this year. IBM, HP , Computer Associates and smaller vendors already sell SOA software products and/or services.

"This is a major deal for Oracle, because it bumps Oracle from an SOA-by-lip-service company to an SOA-in-reality company," Schmelzer told internetnews.com. "Collaxa has been delivering on real implementations of process-driven SOA for a few years, so there's no doubt that the addition of this product will add real SOA capabilities to the Oracle line."

However, Schmelzer said it's not yet clear how Collaxa technology will fit in with the rest of Oracle's product lines, noting that the enterprise resource planning (ERP) and customer relationship management (CRM) application lines "could seriously benefit from an SOA re-architecture.

"But there's no evidence that shows that they will be applying Collaxa in that way," he continued. "Right now, I think they're still looking to plug holes in their SOA offering. We'll have to see if it really achieves that goal."

An Oracle spokesperson was not immediately available for comment.