New Oracle app server focuses on integration

San Francisco – Oracle Corp. is planning a major upgrade of its application server that adds integration components to enable enterprises to use the product as a platform for application-to-application, business-to-business, and Web services integration, the company unveiled during its recent OpenWorld conference.

Oracle9i Application Release 2 Version 9.0.4 is intended to enable companies to use the middle tier as a single hub for integration. For example, an enterprise deploying both PeopleSoft Inc. and Oracle applications and a third-party database can use the application server to unify processes across the three disparate products, Oracle said.

“The application server now becomes the hub,” so users do not have to resort to point-to-point integration, said John Magee, Oracle vice-president of application server and tools product marketing, in Redwood Shores, Calif.

New capabilities include a Web-based tool set to manage EAI, B2B, Web services, business process management, and business activity monitoring. This eliminates the need for proprietary programming skills, according to Oracle.

Also featured is support for the J2EE Connector Architecture (JCA) 1.0 specification for integration between application servers and enterprise information systems such as ERP, CRM and legacy systems.

Web services protocols are supported such as SOAP, UDDI and WSDL. Specific industry protocols are also backed in the new application server. EDI is supported for document exchange, RosettaNet Inc. for high-technology manufacturing, UCCNet Inc. for retail enterprises, and Health Level 7 for the health care industry.

Oracle Application Server Release 2 Version 9.0.4 is scheduled to ship in the first half of 2003.

Oracle also announced that the TD Financial Group is using Oracle9i Application Server and its portal technology to create an IT-focused corporate intranet.

With 40,000 potential users, the portal’s focus is on IT content management, giving employees a single location to do everything from submitting questions to the helpdesk to getting statistical analysis on IT projects, said Adam Thackeray, portal administrator and IT analyst with TDit, in Mississauga, Ont.

The new Oracle system is replacing an older Oracle Web database solution. Well over 90 per cent of the necessary portal data is stored on one Oracle database, Thackeray said. “It is a lot easier to administer since it is all in one place.”

Thackeray said he likes the portal’s functionality, performance capabilities, power and third-party support. He also likes that the portal is driven from an Oracle database, enabling database functionality (Oracle’s strength) to be passed on to the portal.

– With files from IDG News Service