Oracle's Farrell Talks SOA

ADT’s Kathleen Richards recently spoke with Ted Farrell, chief architect, vice president of tools and middleware at Oracle. Farrell discussed Oracle’s approach to SOA and his views on where the market is headed this year.

ADT: You wanted to talk about SOA trends in 2006, and jumping off from there, what we can expect this year?

Looking back at 2006, I think we have seen a couple of interesting trends that are fairly important in the bigger scope of enterprise software. One is the expanding footprint of the middleware space, where a few years ago, I think middleware was focused on the app server itself. And then you know, Web services and the SOA buzz came along, and started adding things like the BPEL engine, business process engine and some web services capabilities. In 2006, we [saw] that full middleware stack evolving throughout the business process--rules engine, enterprise service bus, integrated security, portals. … I think in 2006, we [had] a huge uptake of customers who are using the end-to-end middleware stack to develop service-oriented architecture applications.

ADT: What distinguishes Oracle's SOA technology?

I think one of the biggest distinguishing factors is our integration and our adaptability---I mean our marketing term, I try to stay away from marketing terms--is “hot-pluggable.” I think our big differentiator is that a lot of our competitors have basically taken a bunch of products and put them together into a suite and call that their SOA stack. We spent a lot of time over the last four years carefully acquiring companies so that the technology is very tightly integrated at the lowest levels. Along with that, we've been very standards-focused in everything that we’ve done and that doesn’t just mean that data that we’ve been using like BPEL, and Web services, but it also means the interfaces. So what that allows us to do is to really be flexible with plugging in other pieces at other levels. So if we wanted to use a message bus from Microsoft, or TIBCO, or you wanted to use a security provider other than Oracle, it is very easy to plug those things to the total stack.

ADT: Do you expect to see more uptake in SOA this year?

We have way more reference accounts now that we have built up over the last 18 months. It is becoming less scary for people, because I think they realize they can start with some small projects and start getting successful. I worked with a customer and their main core functionality in their software was Assembler—that’s 35 years old. They are able to refactor it and expose some of that as services and start to build new processes on top of that as they plan out to rebuild their code, which will take them obviously years--and people are really comfortable with that now.

About the Author

Kathleen Richards ([email protected]) is the editor of and executive editor of Visual Studio Magazine.