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Oracle-Systinet deal a win-win

While Oracle gets a UDDI v3 registry and lifecycle management capabilities, Systinet extends its reach among SOA infrastructure platforms.

Oracle Corp. and Systinet Corp. have entered into a strategic three-year agreement in which Oracle will embed Systinet's registry with the recently unveiled Oracle Application Server 10g Release 3, a component of Oracle Fusion Middleware. Also under the terms of the contract, Oracle will have the ability to prepopulate the registry with business services based on Oracle's family of application software.

For Redwood Shores, Calif.-based Oracle, the deal will not only provide a UDDI v3 registry, it will also provide lifecycle management capabilities, which will become more important as organizations reach a critical mass with Web services and service-oriented architecture, said Melinda Ballou, program director of application lifecycle management research at IDC, Framingham, Mass.

"The big challenge for SOA development is lifecycle management," Ballou said. "There aren't that many Global 2000 companies doing enough [SOA development] to hit the wall with lifecycle management, but those who have know what they need. Oracle doesn't have a lifecycle practice. The key vendors doing development for SOA are looking to partner with innovative companies with core capabilities to manage SOA. Systinet has got good technology."

"One of the main reasons Oracle was interested in working with Systinet was [its] support for the UDDI v3 standard, ratified at the beginning of this year," said Ian Bruce, director of marketing for Systinet, Burlington, Mass. "But the standard is simply a protocol; we've added a lot of functionality that is very attractive to BEA [Systems Inc.] and Oracle, like lifecycle management."

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According to Mike Lehmann, director of product management for Oracle Application Server, early adopters of Web services who are increasing their portfolio of services are beginning to be concerned about having a system of record and a taxonomy. "Customers wanted more than just the basic vanilla UDDI v2 registry we provided; they obviously wanted UDDI v3, and Systinet has built a pretty rich functional interface on top of the UDDI v3 spec."

As the registry has grown more strategic to SOA implementations, "we had a choice of evolving our registry and investing heavily in it, or take [a] best-of-breed approach and build it in," Lehmann said.

He said Oracle will continue to support its own UDDI v2 registry for now, and will provide a transition plan for customers. In addition, "for services we provide ourselves and want discoverable by customers, we will register them in the [Systinet] business service registry. This will be strategic."

For Systinet, this marks the second major deal with a SOA infrastructure vendor. In June, BEA Systems, San Jose, Calif., announced it would be reselling the Systinet registry as part of its AquaLogic product family.

The difference between the two agreements, Ballou pointed out, is that "BEA is selling [Systinet] as an add-on option. Oracle is bundling it in. That will make it easier for Oracle users to take advantage of it."

With the Oracle and BEA deals, a significant share of application servers will ship with the Systinet registry. According to IDC, the top vendors of application deployment software for 2004 were IBM, BEA and Oracle, with market shares of 37%, 12% and 7%, respectively. IDC defines application deployment software as application, Web and integration servers; message-oriented and transaction-server middleware; and adapters/connectors/gateways.

"This gives us immense reach in the marketplace," Bruce said. "This [agreement] is a great endorsement of three things: the requirement for a registry inside a service-oriented architecture; for UDDI as the standard that underpins SOA registry technology; and Systinet as a company and our technology strategy."

For customers of both Oracle and BEA, utilizing the same registry can be an advantage, Lehmann said. "Ultimately, this is a good thing for customers," he said. "For example, there are scenarios where a customer may be using the Systinet registry in a competitor's environment and in our environment, and they might want aggregation or federation across environments. Given that it's the same product under the covers, that kind of capability would be possible."

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