RealTime IT News

Oracle Locks Up 'Federated' App Server

Refusing to rest after announcing a $5.8 billion merger deal with rival Siebel Systems, Oracle debuted its Security Developer Tools, software that can be used to grant or deny users access to information on computers.

The tools let corporations offer partners and customers access to their internal applications, while keeping them out of files and other information they don't want to share.

The suite of tools, based on specifications written by the OASIS SAML and the Liberty Alliance Project, has been designed to craft applications that run on Oracle Application Server 10g Release 2, launched earlier this year.

The suite is rooted in the concept of federated identity, in which programmers write policies that determine whether or not business users may access certain types of data on computers. Access is granted with passwords and other user credentials.

Federating identity is a critical part of a Web services platform. Distributed computing promotes communication among several different types of software. This communication occurs across the Internet, making it prey to a host of vulnerabilities on the Web.

Having policies on the applications, which will run on Oracle's application server, gives customers a trusted ally in the fight to protect data.

Oracle and rivals such as IBM, Microsoft and BEA Systems know this, and have been weaving federated identity into their infrastructure software to accommodate the increase of corporations using service-oriented architecture (SOA) schemas and Web services.

Oracle said in a statement businesses in such fields as financial services can use applications built with federation capabilities as a competitive advantages.

With access to a supplier's order management application, a customer sales representative for a retail company can tap into the supplier's network and apprise a consumer of the status of an order.

That's a sweet spot Oracle hopes to hit before rivals do: Later the Redwood Shores, Calif., company will add a multi-protocol federated server and portal and business applications with federation capabilities.

Security Developer Tools is the latest piece from Oracle's Fusion Middleware brand, which includes the company's middleware: Oracle Application Server 10g, Oracle Identity Management, Oracle Data Hubs and Oracle Collaboration Suite.

Meanwhile, Oracle is just as busy on the applications side, preferring to snap up large application vendors instead of organic growth. Earlier this week, Oracle bid to acquire rival Siebel, another step in the long path to catch up to market leader SAP.