analyst, Info-Tech Research

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Software maker Oracle Corp’s., release of a broad range of “Fusion” products based on a service oriented architecture (SOA) might be a case of too much too soon for Canadian firms, says one analyst. They probably went overboard on this. Most organizations don’t need something this big.Curtis Gittens >Text

Oracle anticipates these offerings will be adopted in a big way by both large and mid-sized enterprises.

But – in Canada, at least – that might not happen for quite a while, according to Curtis Gittens, an analyst with Info-Tech Research Inc. in London, Ont. “They’re unloading a lot of stuff that’s probably a bit to heavy, or a bit too daunting to use,” he said.

“Companies are still trying to get around the idea of how to organize their business and then this thing is put before them. Customers will be skeptical and probably wait until the hype dies down,” said Gittens.

He believes Oracle has developed a lot more than what’s currently needed. “They probably went overboard on this. Most organizations don’t need something this big.”

SOA – which has acquired buzzword status today – defines the use of services to support software user requirements. Unlike traditional point-to-point architectures, SOAs comprise loosely coupled, highly interoperable services.

The term featured prominently in yesterday’s presentation by Oracle executive, Thomas Kurian at the 2006 JavaOne conference in San Francisco. Laying out his company’s “vision of the future,” Kurian, who is senior vice-president, Oracle Server Technologies, said his company’s SOA-based products “will further simplify and help developers tailor their applications” to fit their business.

With the emergence of new Web service software such as Java APIs for XML Web Services (JAX-WS) 2.0 and Java Architecture for XML Binding (JAXB) 2.0 and new tools that make it easier to compose Web-based service applications, Kurian said the time is ripe to shift from pilots to a more comprehensive SOA commitment.

To accelerate this process, he said, Oracle has launched its Fusion Middleware suite – a portfolio of standards-based products that include Java Enterprise Edition developer tools, integration services, business intelligence, collaboration, and content management offerings.

Oracle Fusion Middleware’s developer-pertinent products include: Oracle Application Server 10g, Oracle SOA Suite, and Oracle Developer Tools.

Application Server 10g is designed to support both SOA, the latest Web services standards. It is certified and interoperable with more than 128 products including open source tools. The SOA Suite has a set of service infrastructure components for creating, deploying and managing SOA applications. Oracle’s Developer Tools is a collection of integrated application and business intelligence software tools.

Oracle’s SOA-based tools could help organizations become more productive, according to Dave Senf, an analyst with IDC Canada Ltd. in Toronto. SOA, he said, encourages companies “to seriously think about business workflow, identity management and information organization,”

But Senf also feels adoption of the “Fusion vision” will be slow. “We’re behind the curve in understanding workflow. A lot of companies also do not fully comprehend the idea of identity management partly because vendors have lumped this with security.” He said until there’s a better understanding, SOA will be years away from implementation at the scale they envision in Canada.

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