Oracle 11g and Integration

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You'll see this stat everywhere - probably because it was in the press release:


Oracle 11g comes with more than 400 features, 15 million test hours, and 36,000 person-months of development.


With that much new stuff, there's bound to be something useful for integration.


And it turns out there is. Those who've previewed Oracle 11g say it includes better integration support for applications, data and security. But there's also good news for those using Web services, alone or with SOA.


Here's a look at how Oracle 11g could affect integration efforts:


Integration with Applications According to Forrester Research Principal Analyst Noel Yuhanna, 11g shows innovation and advancements in terms of integrating with applications and .NET. One way it helps with application integration: 11g offers Real Application Testing, which allows programmers to create test environments for new applications, but run real product transactions against the database. According to IT Jungle, this will could cut the test cycle for database applications from approximately 150 days down to 11.


Data Integration According to InfoWorld's analysis of 11g, it includes free migration and management tools that will help database administrators manage their Oracle and non-Oracle databases at the same time. And just as it allows developers to virtually test their applications, it allows DBAs to see how alterations to the database or SQL code will impact performance - without actually doing so. It also "helps automate rolling database upgrades," according to InfoWorld.


Oracle has also improved the XML features - hence the good news for you Web services users out there. i4u.com reports 11g offers:

  • Significant performance enhancements to XML DB
  • Support for binary XML, so you can match the XML storage options to your application and performance needs
  • Manipulation of XML data using industry standard interfaces with support for XQuery, Java Specification Requests (JSR)-170 and SQL/XML standard
(For a more thorough look at 11g's improved XML features, check out "Oracle Database 11g to feature XML enhancements," which ran in December 2006 at TechTarget SearchOracle.com. So far, I haven't seen an updated article dedicated only to the XML features.)


Integration for Corporate Mergers One of the major promises is that 11 makes it easier to install software or change systems - which makes for a more agile IT division. According to BusinessWeek, this means 11g can help manage mergers and acquisitions or the addition of new products.


Integration with Other Vendor Products: Vnunet.com reports that other vendors either already have or are developing systems that will integrate with Oracle's 11g database. HP worked with Oracle to ensure its StorageWorks EFS Clustered Gateway integrates with 11g's Direct Network File System, thus ensuring a single model for storage and network. Already, vendors are issuing their own press releases on how their product will work with 11g.


And, of course, Oracle is an integration story in and of itself. As the BusinessWeek article reports, Oracle has added human resources, sales, manufacturing and other specialized applications as it's bought out companies such as PeopleSoft, Siebel and JD Edward. Oracle is working on a new Application Integration Architecture strategy. There's no word yet on how 11g will play into this, but surely it will.


But Not Much on Windows Integration - Yet: Oracle holds the largest slice of the database market - 47 percent of the $15.2 billion database industry - but Microsoft is doing it's best to gain ground. According to BusinessWeek, Gartner found SQL Server's share of the market grew by 28 percent last year. Meanwhile, Oracle grew by 15 percent. The reason, according to Gartner, is that more companies are moving to Microsoft products for computing functions beyond the front-end, productivity functions of Office.


Microsoft will offer a major upgrade of its SQL Server in 2008, which is apparently codenamed Katmai.


Perhaps that's why you won't hear about one integration topic with this first shipment of Oracle 11g: integration with Windows. It's debuting on the Linux platform in August, and though there's no word on when it will release 11g for the Windows platform, ENT News Online notes that, historically, the Windows version has shipped several months after the Linux release.


But when 11g for Windows does ship, it will offer better integration with Microsoft's Visual Studio, the .NET Framework, and ASP.NET providers - which ties in again with the application integration goals - according to a Forrester analyst quoted in the ENT News article.


If you'd like to know more about the non-integration business case for Oracle 11g, check out this recent post from IT Business Edge's The Visible Enterprise blog.