Fusion Is Heating Up
Oracle President Charles Phillips announced at the Oracle Fusion Strategy event on January 18th in San Francisco that the company's Project Fusion middleware initiative is ahead of schedule, halfway finished one year after the name was released and work started. The update for partners, customers, and industry watchers included details of Fusion's progress, as well as road maps for the coming years.
"Oracle is halfway to Fusion one year later, and it was the tough half," Phillips said, referring to defining the Fusion architecture and tools, certifying the numerous Fusion middleware applications and other blueprint and data-model work that goes into creating a new standard for integration. "We're dropping the word Project
in relation to Fusion, and focusing on three core components: Fusion applications; Fusion Middleware (the platform for creating and integrating applications); and Oracle Fusion architecture (the technology layer that makes it all possible)." Phillips used this opportunity to dispel myths and rumors that Fusion started with a blank sheet of paper, that it was all about merging code, and that it was driven by a need created by numerous acquisitions. "Even if we hadn't made acquisitions, there's always a need for the next generation of technology," he said.
After covering the progress of Fusion, which includes the current availability of some elements, Phillips and his copresenters discussed and demonstrated how the SOA platform would deliver on Oracle's objectives of building a completely standard generation of applications, and enabling all current users of Oracle family products to upgrade to Fusion with the first release. Thomas Kurian, senior vice president of Oracle server technology, indicated that Fusion would be true to its name, combining the best of native and acquired Oracle SOA and BI prowess with grid computing architecture, allowing customers to run Fusion applications on low cost hardware and storage. John Wookey, senior vice president of applications development, emphasized the idea of an upgrade. "The vast majority of customers will be able to upgrade their current products with Fusion applications in 2008," Wookey said. "The move is an upgrade, not a new implementation."
Wookey explained that the upgrade process would allow customers to move their multiple integrations to a single instance, or to remain pillared in separate instances across the enterprise. In preparing for the Fusion future, Wookey suggested three steps: "Protect your investment by adopting the latest releases of products; extend the value of existing implementations by adding BI, reporting, MDM, and other components; and evolve to Fusion applications by planning the process and anticipating a project to build skills and gain experience with Fusion."
In closing, Phillips looked to the future, providing his view of Oracle in 2010. "I envision a more secure infrastructure that leverages commodity storage and servers; a standards-based applications suite making us the applications leader in key industries. Oracle will be the leader in BI, in structured and unstructured data. We will be the leading on-demand company, with more subscription businesses."
Ray Wang, a senior analyst for Forrester, summed up the day's announcements as a win for Oracle. "Prior to this, Oracle was behind SAP from a perception perspective. They were able to throw the ball back into SAP's court by showing Fusion was on its way and ahead of schedule." Wang also spoke to the result of Oracle's multiple acquisitions in 2005. "This bodes well for what will happen with Siebel and with data integration in general. Additionally, the attention Oracle has paid to J.D. Edwards customers has been very significant. J.D. Edwards customers are very loyal, and it's clear all the functionality they have come to expect will be there. The question is whether to upgrade today, or five years from now."
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