Oracle set to preview SOA suite

Oracle will take its biggest plunge yet into SOA this month, with plans to unveil a developer’s preview of Oracle SOA Suite 10g Release 3, which will wrap a conglomeration of Oracle Fusion middleware products into a single install for the first time. Already available in beta, the developer offering is deemed fully functional by Oracle and serves as a preview to the general release due this fall.

Oracle SOA Suite features Oracle’s BPEL Process Manager, Web Services Manager, Business Activity Monitoring, Enterprise Service Bus, and Business Rules products. An abbreviated version, for use with Oracle’s app server, lacks the ESB and Business Rules components because they are already tied into the app server itself.

Oracle SOA Suite provides a one-stop shopping approach to SOA, said David Shaffer, senior director of product management at Oracle. The company believes that an ESB is only part of the SOA equation; customers also need capabilities such as identity management, process composition, BPM, and even business intelligence and grid-style infrastructure management. “We think [the suite is] the right package in terms of mapping to people’s real-world requirements,” Shaffer said.

Analysts described Oracle SOA Suite as a way for the company to integrate various technologies it has acquired. Web Services Manager, for example, includes technology gained from buying Oblix, while BPEL Process Manager is based on Collaxa’s BPEL Server.

But Oracle and others with SOA suites, such as BEA and Sun, may be overdoing it, said Shawn Willett, principal analyst at Current Analysis. “There may be too much in them to make them practical,” Willett said. “People usually don’t re-architect their entire IT system just all at once.”

The general release of Oracle SOA Suite is priced at US$50,000 per CPU when used with Oracle’s application server, and $65,000 per CPU for use with other application servers.

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