Oracle Outlines Roadmap For BEA Acquisition's Products - InformationWeek

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Oracle Outlines Roadmap For BEA Acquisition's Products

BEA's WebLogic will become Oracle's strategic application server and will undergo very little reengineering, Oracle president Charles Phillips said.

Oracle will make BEA's WebLogic, the No. 2 application server in the middleware market, its premier application server product over its own Oracle Application Server, which ranks No. 3.

Oracle president Charles Phillips and senior VP Thomas Kurian made the announcement in a Webcast Tuesday as they laid out a road map for how BEA products will be fit into its portfolio. Oracle completed its $8.5 billion acquisition of BEA in April.

Oracle grouped BEA products into "strategic," "continue and converge," or "maintenance" categories. BEA's WebLogic will become Oracle's strategic application server and will undergo very little reengineering, Phillips said. WebLogic has already been integrated with key Oracle technologies, including TopLink, for mapping Enterprise Java Beans for storage in relational databases, and Oracle Coherence, the management software for grids -- clusters of low-cost servers.

Continue and converge products will eventually have their features merged with Oracle products, resulting in one Fusion product. But Oracle will continue to provide technical support for such products for nine years. Phillips asserted that BEA customers will not be required to adopt Oracle products. "There will be no forced migrations," he said.

Oracle will continue to develop its own Oracle Application Server, particularly for the eBusiness Suite customers who rely on it for online application services.

Kurian said there were "a number of highly elegant features" in BEA's AquaLogic product suite, including its enterprise service bus, and Oracle will come up with a common runtime for it and its own Oracle Enterprise Service Bus, converging the two.

One of the AquaLogic features it seeks to preserve is its Data Services Engine's ability to handle XQuery, a way of retrieving information from an XML document without calling up the whole document.

Oracle Data Integrator for transforming data between applications and Oracle Identity Manager for managing end users will become strategic products over their BEA counterparts.

Oracle will seek to combine the capabilities of BEA's Workshop development tool into Oracle's Enterprise Eclipse Pack. Workshop users will be able to continue to use it in its familiar form in the Eclipse Pack. Oracle will continue development of its own JDeveloper tool and will add characteristics of BEA tools to JDeveloper, such as their design time modeling features.

Oracle will adopt BEA's JRocket Java virtual machine while continuing to support Sun Microsystems' and Hewlett-Packard's versions of the Java VM.

Oracle will merge the BEA and Oracle developer networks together. "We have 1 million Java developers between us," Phillips said. In-house, Oracle now has 4,500 software engineers working on middleware.

When BEA's customers are added to the total, Oracle has 77,000 middleware customers, Phillips added. "The addition of BEA products will accelerate innovation in our product offerings. ... Oracle is No. 1 in middleware," he said.

Phillips and Kurian both stated Oracle was now is the market share leader in the fast-growing middleware market. With the addition of BEA, Oracle gets BEA's middleware engineering and marketing skills, which he termed "deep expertise" in the field.

Gartner in a June report on the middleware market said it wasn't there yet, even with the addition of BEA Systems. IBM had revenue of $4.1 billion in 2007 for a 28.9% market share, an increase over its 28.3% share of the year before. BEA Systems occupied the No. 2 spot with revenue of $1.3 billion and 9.3% market share, down slightly from 9.8% the year before. Oracle was No. 3, with $1.2 billion in revenue and 8.5% market share, an increase from 8% the year before. Even with the BEA acquisition, Oracle will remain a distant No. 2 to IBM with combined revenues= of $2.5 billion in 2007, according to Gartner.

Phillips in the Webcast complained that IBM counted many different products as middleware, without offering a definition of the term. The market totaled $14.1 billion in 2007, compared with $18.6 billion for the database market. It's growing at a rate of 12.9% a year or faster than many other categories of software, Gartner said.

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