Blogger: Anne Thomas Manes
By invitation, I went to a special NDA analyst briefing last week on the Oracle 11g announcements. As I tweeted at the time, I found it very refreshing to hear a strong and definitive strategy underlying the announcements. It's a four-part strategy:
Complete: Oracle wants to be a one-stop shop. You can buy everything you need: applications, software infrastructure, tools, databases, management, and hardware infrastructure from Oracle.
Integrated: All components of the complete platform are designed (or perhaps refitted) to work with each other.
Best-of-breed: Each component in the integrated, complete platform is a credible, competitive product in its own right.
Hot-pluggable: The environment is standards-compliant, so, if you desire, you can replace a best-of-breed Oracle component with a comparable standards-compliant component from another vendor.
Unfortunately, it's a specious strategy.
Yes, the Oracle environment is complete, integrated, and composed of (for the most part) standards-based, best-of-breed offerings. But if you take advantage of the "hot-pluggability" feature, you break the "integrated" benefits of the environment, which derive from the common development and management systems (JDeveloper and Enterprise Manager). But Oracle has deliberately limited the scope of these products to work only with Oracle-supplied platform components.
As alluring as the one-stop shopping strategy is, organizations must learn to just say "no". The reality is that no one has an entirely homogeneous environment. Oracle claims that Enterprise Manager supports end-to-end business process monitoring, but the concept breaks down if the process includes a .NET service or a third-party COTS application. A better solution is a management strategy that embraces diversity.
Diversity in IT systems is a fact of life. The trend toward heterogeneity is only going to increase as organizations take advantage of cloud computing or implement ebusiness collaboration systems.
As for the specifics of the announcements: Two things I really liked:
- Integration of TopLink and Coherence -- you can now use the Coherence distributed data caching system within TopLink
- Integration of Collaxa and Fuego runtime engines -- a single engine can now run both BPEL scripts and BPMN models