SOA


Last week, Oracle announced plans to retire Web Services Gateway (WSG) and Extended Process Integration (XPI) from JD Edwards EnterpriseOne. While the company has made noises about putting these offerings out to pasture for some time, the announcement puts definite dates on the event.

Beginning September 1, 2008, Oracle will no longer offer WSG with EnterpriseOne Tools. However, existing users will still be able to access WSG via the Update Center. In addition, Oracle will provide Premier Support for the offering through October 1, 2010. This means that WSG will continue to receive updates, fixes, and certifications for new EnterpriseOne releases. After October 1, 2010, WSG will move to Sustaining Support, which provides technical assistance and pre-existing fixes for known issues.

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In 2006, Andrews Consulting Group released a white paper entitled The Transformation of JD Edwards Applications that you can download from our white papers section. This year, we are revisiting the subject of how Oracle is transforming our applications with a new series of articles. We welcome your comments and questions as the series evolves.

As I explained in the previous article in this series, Oracle wants to make it easy for users of its Applications Unlimited (AU) products — including JD Edwards — to invoke “best of breed” functions from other Oracle applications. Oracle is repackaging these functions as composite business processes that other applications can access via service-oriented architectures (SOAs). The technologies that make all of this possible are contained in Oracle’s Application Integration Architecture (AIA).

Over the next one to two years, Oracle plans to implement AIA fully within almost all of its applications. This could make it possible for the then-current JD Edwards releases to invoke functions from other AU applications, Fusion Applications, and software that Oracle has acquired from Agile, Demantra, G-Log, and other vendors.

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In 2006, Andrews Consulting Group released a white paper entitled The Transformation of JD Edwards Applications that you can download from our white papers section. This year, we are revisiting the subject of how Oracle is transforming our applications with a new series of articles. We welcome your comments and questions as the series evolves.

As I explained in our first article in this series, Oracle has set an ambitious goal for itself. That goal is to make it easy for all of its Applications Unlimited (AU) offerings—including JD Edwards—to invoke functions from the rest of Oracle’s vast application portfolio. This would make each AU product significantly more complete than it is today.

If Oracle realizes its vision, it could make life dramatically different for JD Edwards customers. A company might, for instance, integrate functions from Oracle’s Agile, Demantra, G-Log, and Siebel products under the covers of EnterpriseOne or World. Indeed, it might even integrate some of the latest Fusion Applications in the same way. In some cases, these integrations would require the deployment of selected components of the integrated applications. In other cases, the customer would invoke the functions from an Oracle-hosted site. Either way, the resulting integrations would be virtually seamless, with data flowing almost effortlessly between the new functions and the underlying JD Edwards applications.

How could Oracle make it so easy for JD Edwards and other AU customers to close the functionality gaps in their existing applications? The answer lies in two strategic initiatives that the software giant has been pursuing for more than two years. The first initiative is to repackage much of the “best of breed” functionality in its applications as composite business processes. These processes will integrate with AU applications and each other via a service-oriented architecture (SOA). The second initiative is to create an “integration platform” that governs how composite business processes are created and defines how they interoperate with AU applications over SOAs.

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Recently, SearchOracle.com conducted a survey of 683 professionals who make IT decisions at Oracle shops. When the study participants were asked about their plans for implementing a service-oriented architecture (SOA) at their site, a full 84% said that they have not implemented a SOA on any level. When the “have no SOA” participants were asked if they plan to implement a SOA in the future, 48% said they plan to implement one within the next three years. However, the remaining 52% said that they did not know if or when their companies would take the SOA leap. If you do the math, this means that around 44% of all Oracle customers have no plans for implementing a SOA.

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Nowadays, most JD Edwards users know something about Oracle’s Applications Unlimited (AU) strategy that it announced in April 2006. However, I’ve been surprised — indeed, shocked — at how most people fail to recognize one of the most important implications of the strategy.

To understand what I’m talking about, allow me to provide a little background information. Under AU, Oracle will support and enhance its JD Edwards, E-Business Suite, PeopleSoft Enterprise, and Siebel product lines indefinitely. The vendor will develop new releases of these products and continue to certify them on the latest releases of third-party products that support them. For instance, Oracle will continue to certify EnterpriseOne and World on new releases of IBM’s DB2 database and WebSphere middleware.

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For years, organizations have complained that their applications are too hard to integrate, too inflexible to keep up with the rate at which their businesses change, and too expensive to maintain and upgrade. This is because most applications were originally developed as monolithic entities using proprietary technologies and whatever design principles the individual developers chose at the time. The resulting applications are, in many ways, similar to homes built entirely from handmade components without consistent blueprints.

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