Oracle Ramping Grid With New App Server

Oracle is kicking off its Open World conference Monday by showcasing the latest version of its Application Server 10g. Company officials said it is designed to help business run new-fangled applications in a grid computing network.

Release 3 of the popular runtime software will help programmers add services to business processes, keep them secure and manage them in computer systems with gear from different vendors.

These utilities make the new product fine-tuned for service-oriented architectures (SOA) , distributed computing models geared to let businesses execute transactions on the Web.

One characteristic of this SOA optimization is Oracle’s so-called hot-pluggable architecture, which grants companies the freedom to mix and match existing and new systems, regardless of disparate code bases.

“Customers can adopt different components of our middleware products without having to adopt them wholesale and use those with other third-party middleware products, plugging them into their existing infrastructure,” said Rick Schultz, vice president of Oracle Fusion Middleware,

To wit, release 3 is certified to interoperate with competing middleware products such as Microsoft.NET; IBM WebSphere; IBM MQ-Series; Cisco Local Director; and firewalls from Checkpoint.

Schultz said users will also be able to use components of Oracle Fusion Middleware together with open source development tools and runtimes. The new release will be certified with development environments such as Spring, Apache Struts, Apache Axis, Apache MyFaces, Hibernate, Tapestry, Ant, Eclipse and Log4J.

In another patent SOA move, Oracle has written a business rules engine into the app server. Schultz said customers can use this software component to modify or add business rules without recompiling or reconfiguring applications.

An SOA-oriented app server wouldn’t be much if it didn’t support application communication like Web services.

Release 3 boasts compliance with specs from the Web Services Interoperability group . It also supports specs created in OASIS and the Word Wide Web Consortium, including WS-Reliable Messaging, WS-Security, WS-Federation, Web Services Metadata, Web Services Invocation Framework (WSIF) and REST Web Services.

On the security front, the new software backs standards such as SAML 1.0 and 2.0, single sign-on (SSO), along with a new tool to allow users and their access control privileges to be provisioned in business applications and computer systems.

Oracle officials will introduce release 3 at the Redwood Shores, Calif., company’s Open World conference in San Francisco Monday. There, 30,000 attendees are expected to hear the company lay out its current middleware and applications plans, Schultz said.

Release 3 is a move to upstage rivals IBM, BEA Systems and Microsoft on the middleware front, as those vendors are also hunting for as big a slice of the middleware pie as possible.

It’s a safe bet Oracle’s recent spate of acquisitions will be a major conversation piece both for attendees and company officials in the wake of the company’s bid to buy Siebel Systems. Industry watchers will want to know how Oracle plans to take on German market leader SAP in an applications showdown.

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