Oracle vs. SAP: The SOA factor

Mark Brunelli, News Editor

German business applications giant SAP AG is beating its chief rival, Oracle, in the battle for the hearts and minds of the

set -- for now at least -- and IBM is trouncing them both, in the opinion of one SOA expert.

Meanwhile, SOA adoption is slow, but there sure is a lot of SOA planning going on, according to new survey results. surveyed 683 IT professionals who have a say in the IT decision making process at Oracle shops representing a wide variety of industries and found that 84% have not implemented SOA technology on any level. Of those, 48% said they plan to implement SOA within the next three years, while the other half of respondents said they didn't know if or when their companies would delve into the world of SOA.

SOA planning tips

For many of organizations like these, who's ahead of who with their SOA plans may not matter just yet, anyway. IT professionals planning for SOA should begin by putting down their pocketbooks and taking the time to determine exactly what business problems they want SOA to solve, according to analysts.

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Also, Bloomberg said, database management systems are key components of the SOA infrastructure, so it's important to use a DBMS that supports XML natively. Most DBMSs support XML reasonably well, he said, but it's a good idea for organizations to do product comparison to determine if they have the right skills in-house to make the most of the specific XML features found in each product.

More on Oracle, SAP and SOA:

Oracle vs. SAP: SOA and Web services security

Special Report: Oracle vs. SAP

Finally, people interested in SOA need to remember that SOA is not a product, it's an architectural approach.

"Do not expect to buy SOA from any [one] vendor," Bloomberg said. "[SOA is] an approach that leverages heterogeneity, so if any vendor says, 'buy my stuff a you'll get a SOA in a box,' they're pulling the wool over your eyes. No vendor can say that truthfully."

Some organizations, like the government offices of Jefferson County, Alabama, simply don't have the time or resources to begin an SOA development project.

According to David Shockey, a systems analyst with Jefferson County, his group is too busy trying to replace legacy mainframe applications with less expensive off the shelf software, all while working within the confines of a tight budget.

"SOA is really not taken into account into our decision making process," Shockey said. "Someday [we'll implement SOA], just not now. There are too many other priorities."

Oracle, SAP and IBM race for SOA dominance

SAP, with its  

Oracle, meanwhile, is busy contending with a massive software integration undertaking called  

And then there's Big Blue.

"IBM has the broadest and deepest SOA story of any vendor, with their solid software and professional services offerings as well as the depth of each across product lines and verticals," Bloomberg said. "They're everyone's number one competitor."

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