Oracle is developing a Message Broker based on Sun?s Java Message Service (JMS) specification.
Message Broker will provide existing applications with workflow capabilities and enable disparate packages, including its own ERP applications bundles, to communicate with each other.
One of the database supplier?s key current themes is enterprise application integration, which it sees as an important role of version 4.0 of its Application Server (see Newswire 14 August, 1998), but it is still evaluating whether to provide an integrated offering only or if it should also sell Message Broker as a separate standalone product.
Sanjeev Kumar, Oracle?s principal product manager for the Enterprise Application Server, said: "There are two personalities to an Application Server. One is the traditional vanilla version that sits between the Web server and back-end systems. The second personality is the message broker, which sits on top of different messaging transport mechanisms to send data across applications and to allow messaging between them. Such technology is valuable for organisations wanting to merge their packages after mergers or acquisitions or for streamlining them in a multinational corporation."
Oracle is developing the underlying plumbing of the Message Broker itself, which will be based on its own internally developed object request broker and messaging technology such as the advanced queuing software incorporated into its Oracle I database. This is due for release on 14 September (see Newswire, 14 August, 1998).
Message Broker will also support Corba Messaging services, which sit on top of the messaging technology, so it can communicate with Corba-based objects, and JMS application programming interfaces (APIs).
These will enable developers to write packages for the platform without needing to delve into the plumbing if they do not wish to. JMS is also being supported by a wide range of industry players such as IBM, so in theory, a programmer could write one application and deploy it on any JMS-based system.
For existing applications, however, Oracle is building adaptors that will enable users to seamlessly plug their packages into Message Broker to take advantage of its functionality. The supplier will encourage third party ISVs and VARs to develop their own application adaptors for the product, and will also use it as the basis for integrating its own vertical market application suites such as consumer packaged goods.
These are currently made up of several core Oracle packages, but also a raft of third party offerings and the aim of Message Broker is to provide users with off-the shelf technology to integrate them better.
Kumar said Oracle was working with various customers in the banking, telecommunications and retail sectors to define what they wanted from the software, but added that JMS support will be included in Application Server 5.0, which is due in about a year.
Other enhancements to version 5.0 include support for Microsoft's COM object model, CorbaComponents, XML, public key encryption for e-commerce and goal-driven resource management via the Enterprise Manager console.
In future, users will also be able to specify response times from their application servers or services, a feature that Oracle has borrowed from the mainframe market and which it believes will differentiate its offering on the marketplace.
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