Exploring middleware technologies and Oracle Fusion tools
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This is the second of a two-part series on Oracle application integration. The first part was about integrating Oracle applications with one another.
Not every business can completely shift over to become an Oracle-only shop. There are usually applications outside of the Oracle ecosystem that must be maintained and, better yet, integrated into Oracle platforms. Those applications can range from complex SAP business applications to in-house developed customer relationship management (CRM) or sales programs. Nevertheless, integration still proves to deliver ease of management and enhanced productivity.
This is another area where Oracle’s Fusion Middleware 11g can step into the picture. Oracle has created numerous pre-built integrations for specific solutions that work across applications and industry-specific solutions. These integrations run the gambit across a variety of vertical markets, such as communications, retail, high tech, manufacturing, consumer goods, banking, utilities and public sector. Oracle claims that these pre-built integrations accelerate integration projects and provide sustainable business process templates between specific applications.
Nonetheless, Oracle isn’t the only game in town when it comes to middleware. Major vendors such as IBM, Red Hat, and Microsoft have proven middleware products. What’s more, a new breed of Web-orientated middleware tools have surfaced on the market from vendors such as Axway, SAP, TIBCO, Informatica, Pervasive and webMethods.
In other words, the market is rife with selection, meaning that an enterprise may not have to marry itself to a single vendor for applications, middleware, Web presentation and application development. A healthy, hearty SOA-based infrastructure can be built by mixing and matching the most appropriate tools. However, that may take high levels of expertise and support can grow into a nightmare, since multiple vendors are involved in the application delivery stack.
Choosing what works best is not a simple process and the simplicity of looking to a single vendor for a complete solution is not without merit. It all comes down to whether or not that vendor can support all of a business’ needs and still remain affordable. There are some basic rules of thumb that can simplify the selection of a middleware product. Evaluators should seek middleware services that include a functional set of application programming interfaces that allows an application to:
- Locate transparently across the network, thus providing interaction with another service or application
- Filter data to make applications better suited for the end user
- Support public access by incorporating anonymization process for privacy protection
- Be independent from network services
- Be reliable and always available
Add complementary attributes like semantics