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Oracle's Phillips Outlines Oracle Fusion Architecture Strategy

Oracle president Charles Phillips kicked off the annual Oracle OpenWorld conference, under way this week in San Francisco, with a keynote focused on the convergence of the company's three lines of business—database systems, middleware and applications—which are combined in the company's implementation of a service-oriented architecture called Oracle Fusion Architecture.

"The Oracle Fusion Architecture is a unifying model of emerging trends in grid computing architecture, service-oriented architecture and enterprise information architecture," Phillips said. "It gives customers and partners a good view of the direction that Oracle is taking to make the most of our core strengths in database, middleware and business applications."

OFA is model-driven, for applications, business processes and business information; service- and event-enabled, for extensible, modular, flexible applications and processes; information-centric, for complete, consistent and actionable real-time intelligence; "grid-ready," by which the company means scaleable, available, secure and manageable on low-cost hardware; and standards-based.

Phillips' speech was liberally seasoned with reassurances to the company's burgeoning, acquisition-enhanced customer base, which he claimed has grown to 275,000. Oracle's recent acquisitions list includes PeopleSoft, Oblix, TimesTen, Retek, I-flex and Siebel Systems.

"Protect, extend, evolve; that's our approach to innovation," Phillips told a packed Moscone Center auditorium. "We've never left a customer behind, and customers come with us through technologies."

Phillips went so far as to promise never-ending support for Oracle's acquired applications. Under the company's new Lifetime Support Policy, Oracle will offer three levels of service support: Premium, which covers the first 5 years of an application; Extended, which covers the first 8 years; and Sustaining, which provides unlimited coverage.

Oracle unveiled Project Fusion in January. The plan: to bring all the company's applications to a single code base by 2008. The company has since brought all its middleware products under the Oracle Fusion Middleware umbrella.

At a Q&A following the keynote, Phillips answered questions about the pending Siebel acquisition.

"Even though we have said there is no risk and no change, it's still important to put Siebel customers at ease," he said. Toward that end, Oracle has set up a call center for Siebel customers "to stay out in front of the press and to keep people informed."

Phillips shrugged off questions about recent comments from Salesforce.com CEO Marc Benioff, who wondered whether Oracle would ever support a product based on DB2 and IBM middleware. "We will support Siebel applications," he said, simply. He pointed out that PeopleSoft and Retek applications run on DB2.

To a question of Siebel's CRM OnDemand, Phillips said that Oracle was "very impressed" with it, and that his company is "looking very carefully at how best to handle the on-demand product line."

Phillips said he believed that the integration of Siebel resources into Oracle would not be difficult from a human consideration standpoint.

"Many Siebel employees worked at Oracle once before," he said. "The cultures are not as different as people on the outside may think."

Among those former Oracle employees is the chairman and former CEO, Thomas M. Siebel, who founded Siebel Systems in 1993. "Tom will have an ongoing role at Oracle, in a consulting capacity, for several years to come," Phillips said.

An estimated 30,000 conference attendees swarmed into San Francisco's Moscone Center for this year’s show. The conference features more than 800 sessions and 300-plus partner exhibits.

With revenue totaling $11.8 billion, Oracle can now justifiably claim to be the world's largest enterprise software company.

About the Author

John K. Waters is a freelance writer based in Silicon Valley. He can be reached at john@watersworks.com.

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