Oracle Corp is relying on integration capabilities and a partnership with Hewlett Packard Co to drive up-take of the latest version of its Java application server, unveiled this week.
9i Application Server Release 2.0 version 4.0.3 includes e-business and business process management tools, with support for latest web services standards for application integration. 9iAS Release 2.0 version 4.0.3 is due in the first half of 2003.
The new features were unveiled on day two of OracleWorld, the company’s annual user conference, in San Francisco, California – a day clearly designated by the company as integration day.
Redwood Shores, California-based Oracle drove home its message by lining up customers, partners and executive speakers to promote application and business process integration using Oracle’s software. Application and business process integration have been dominated in recent months by competitors BEA Systems Inc and IBM.
Oracle also announced a three-year deal with HP, which is designed to seed the market with copies of 9iAS. HP will ship a free, limited version of 9iAS for its UX operating system, and Windows and Linux running on ProLiant servers.
This version includes an HTTP list server, J2EE 1.3 container, unlimited user license and five free support calls but the product lacks advanced features such as clustering and management via HP’s OpenView. The application server is targeted at developers and those companies deterred by the cost of full-featured application servers.
Oracle becomes the second Java 2 Enterprise Edition (J2EE) vendor to be endorsed by HP, since that company killed its own Java and middleware business this year. San Jose, California-based BEA Systems became an HP preferred middleware partner in June.
Yesterday’s partnership, though, does not appear to go as far as HP’s relationship with BEA. Under that deal, HP operates a 350-strong BEA consulting practice that BEA claimed closed 15 multimillion-dollar deals during its second and third fiscal quarters. BEA also said HP plans to quadruple the practice’s size in the next year.
HP was unclear on whether it would operate a separate 9iAS practice.
BEA’s agreement with HP will also see the J2EE vendor support its WebLogic Server on HP’s UX, NonStop Kernel (NSK), OpenVMS and Tru64 Unix operating systems, Windows 2000 and Linux. BEA’s vice president of strategic alliances Gamiel Gran called HP’s decision to ship 9iAS with UX, Windows and Linux strictly marketing while BEA and HP sell to specific accounts. Palo Alto, California-based HP said it would act as a trusted advisor to customers.
Ironically, Oracle appears un-deterred by HPs own doomed attempts at growing market share by giving away its J2EE-based application server, Total-e-Server. The company is equally undeterred by Santa Clara, California-based Sun Microsystems Inc own attempts to grow market share for its own ONE application server by making a version available for free.
HP, meanwhile, appears to be acting to re-enforce its status as a computing and consulting vendor running a convincing middleware strategy against IBM and Sun. HP wants to compete against IBM and Sun by partnering with Oracle, said 9iAS senior director of marketing Scott Lee Clawson.
Oracle hopes that product improvements and partnership will help it to maintain growth in its application server business. Giga Information Group said Oracle’s application server doubled market share in 2001, from 3% in 2000 to 6%.
Two sets of existing Oracle customers are believed to be the chief targets of yesterday’s announcements. The first group are those using Oracle’s database but running BEA’s WebLogic application server or integration technologies from companies like IBM or Tibco Software Inc for either web services, or their application or business process integration needs. The second group of customers is those using Oracle’s applications but who are still undecided over which J2EE application server to pick.
As such, 9iAS Release 2.0 version 4.0.3 features pre-built adaptors for applications like SAP and PeopleSoft based on Java Connector Architecture 1.0, Simple Object Access Protocol (SOAP), Universal Description, Discovery and Integration (UDDI), Web Services Description Language (WSDL) and vertical industry business protocols RosettaNet, UDDNet and HL7.