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IT Briefcase Exclusive Interview: An Integrated Approach to Mobile, Cloud, and API Management Technologies with Oracle Fusion Middleware

June 12, 2013 No Comments

In the below interview, Bruce Tierney from Oracle outlines ways in which a complete, open, and integrated approach across social, mobile, and cloud technologies can improve business processes and increase ROI for businesses today.

  • Q. How are mobile, cloud, and API management technologies impacting the evolution of application integration in the enterprise?

A. After more than a decade of gradual acceptance of Service Oriented Architecture (SOA), mobile and cloud integration have introduced a sense of urgency to SOA adoption.  As companies continue to add multiple cloud SaaS vendors, each with disparate integration requirements, as well as new mobile integration requirements that differ from traditional desktop and Web integration requirements, the scale will either tip toward more disparate integration complexity or toward putting a re-usable service integration platform into place. Furthermore, the newer requirement to manage the use of internal services for external consumption through API management has also increased the urgency to implement SOA and migrate from point-to-point redundant application integration.

  • Q. How is Oracle Fusion Middleware currently working to accommodate this evolution?

A. It seems overwhelming when you consider all of the different technology components required to address mobile enablement (back-end service re-use, mobile presentation layer, etc.), cloud integration (both private and public), and API management (security issues, policy management, version control, etc.).  The solution is to simplify them within each suite and across all middleware suites through common unified interfaces as opposed to an increasingly disparate toolkit strategy. Over the years, Oracle’s strategy for simplifying complexity was not only to unify across not only individual products, but also across the entire Oracle Fusion Middleware portfolio. For example, within Oracle SOA Suite, the advances in unifying with shared design, runtime, and management were dramatic from version 10g to 11g.

  • Q. What role do you see “bring your own device” (BYOD) playing in the overall cloud and mobile trend?

A. From the SOA perspective, BYOD equates to increased heterogeneity, which is what SOA was designed for: reusing a common application service foundation for increasingly diverse interfaces and devices. And what was once a single corporate Blackberry standard has exploded into iOS, Android, Blackberry and many other niche BYOD devices.  So BYOD is yet another driving force for increased SOA adoption.

  • Q. How can SOA help IT managers address the proliferation of mobile and cloud technologies, without introducing infrastructure complexity?

A. As BYOD increases within organizations, the Center of Excellence should take an active role in supporting this new freedom but must also be prepared to play a counter-balance role to ensure security and application adoption policies are enforced for new mobile devices and traditional clients. Otherwise, disparate departments may end up diverging so far from the existing enterprise implementation, such as business units partnering with incompatible SaaS vendors, that complexity will spike. Another key strategy to minimizing complexity is to avoid the temptation to introduce a disparate niche product for each new requirement, especially if the solutions are based on proprietary programming languages (not Java or other standards), proprietary business processes (not BPEL), and integration methodologies to the point where companies experience a return to the pre-SOA days of the accidental architecture.

  • Q. Taking into account the geospatial nature of business today, how important is it for organizations to have the ability to create and run agile, intelligent business applications in “real time” from anywhere and at any time of day?

A. Real-time intelligence business applications have taken on new meaning in the new fast data infrastructure world. Traditional threshold-based alerting mechanisms are no longer manageable in today’s high velocity and high volume environments, especially with social media integration beginning to play a bigger role. A new way to solve this problem is to combine event processing technologies together with in-memory data grid and engineered systems to filter and correlate in-flight events for better awareness and decision making. The “anywhere” part of the question is a fascinating topic for event related opportunities. An Oracle telco customer (outside the U.S.) has used Oracle Event Processing as part of a fast data solution to sense which subscribers passed by three locations (such as gas station, clothing store, then coffee shop). Based on this combination of events, a well targeted offer could be provided to the subscriber. Furthermore, this information could be made available as part of an API management offering to the telco’s partners.  Privacy will be an issue for these scenarios in many countries, but absolutely fascinating from a technological perspective.

  • Q. What are the tangible benefits of having a unified application integration and SOA solution?

A. As new requirements to support API management, fast data, mobile enablement, and cloud integration enter the mainstream, organizations that lack collaboration in purchasing decisions across business units may face an increasingly disparate collection of niche development toolkits. Now more than ever, a unified platform across these technologies, as well as existing integration requirements, has taken on renewed importance to ensure related middleware components can easily communicate with each other and that teams can flow from one middleware task to the next. Otherwise, costs will increase and integration complexity will grow.

  • Q. What solutions is Oracle Fusion Middleware providing to businesses today looking for a complete, open, and integrated approach across social, mobile, and cloud technologies?

A. One of the most well known differentiators of Oracle SOA Suite is the unified interface across the design, runtime, and management environments of Oracle SOA Suite and the related management. Oracle has integrated what were once silos across the traditional definition of middleware such as SOA, in-memory computing, BPM, collaboration and more. For example, Oracle Coherence functionality from the Cloud Application Foundation (CAF) offering is now embedded into Oracle SOA Suite for service result caching performance.  Likewise, Oracle BPM Suite doesn’t introduce any new adapters since it layers on top of Oracle SOA Suite, using the existing application adapters and adding new capabilities such as Social BPM. Oracle WebCenter, also part of Oracle Fusion Middleware, enables all of these middleware teams (and more) to work together to more efficiently optimize connections between people, information, and applications. Furthermore, Oracle ADF Mobile adds the user interface layer on top of all of these middleware components to provide developers a single code base for iOS and Android applications.

  • Q. Can you please give us a few customer examples of how these solutions are currently being implemented within the enterprise?

A. Grab your iPhone or Android-based phone, go to the app store and download the free apps from SFpark and OnStar to see some great examples based on Oracle SOA Suite for leveraging application services into mobile devices. The SFpark app, developed by the San Francisco Metropolitan Transit Authority, provides real time Google Map displays of parking availability and demand-based pricing information throughout San Francisco using Oracle SOA Suite for service integration. The OnStar app for the Chevy Volt leverages Oracle SOA Suite to extract data from back-end applications and expose it into these mobile channels as described in Profit Magazine. Cisco describes how they used Oracle SOA Suite to manage their WebEx acquisition and how Oracle SOA Suite plays a key role in their cloud and on-premise integration infrastructure. The full details on these as well as many more customer examples are available here:

Bruce Tierney is a Director for Oracle SOA Suite at Oracle. He is a co-author of Cloud Integration – A Comprehensive Solution, author of Rethink SOA: A Recipe for Business Transformation and has delivered SOA and business integration training globally to help companies optimize and simplify business integration. Bruce’s specialties include Service Oriented Architecture (SOA), Enterprise Service Buses (ESB), Business Process Management (BPM), and Business-to-Business Integration (B2B).


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