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Fusion 11g integrates BEA technology, but whither OSGi?

Rob Barry

Perhaps the surprise was that there was not much surprise. Effective integration of BEA technology within Oracle's Fusion Middleware was the major takeaway from last week's Fusion Middleware 11g roll-out,

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said Ovum Analyst Tony Baer.

While Baer gave Oracle good marks for a comprehensive integration strategy for its BEA purchase, he openly wondered about an apparent lack of suite-wide OSGi (Open Services Gateway Initiative) framework integration.

In a blog post following Oracle's announcement, Baer wrote:

Although the Oracle Fusion product portfolio came from far more diverse sources than BEA (as Oracle was obviously a more aggressive acquirer), the result is far more unified than anything that BEA ever fielded. Before getting swallowed by Oracle, BEA had multiple portal, development, and integration technologies lacking a common framework. By comparison, Oracle has emphasized a common framework for mashing the pieces together.

In an interview with SearchSOA.com, Baer said the thing that disappointed him most about Fusion 11g was the lack of suite-wide OSGi framework integration.

Baer noted the OSGi framework was originally developed to support set-top boxes and home gateways as a way of bringing applications and home appliances together. "But we see how that worked out," Baer quipped. "You might go to the Jetsons' house and find that."

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Still, what survived was a very nimble Java framework that can conserve a lot of time and server space if configured correctly. Baer said it was disappointing that the only part of Fusion 11g built on OSGi was WebLogic, which the acquisition of BEA brought to the table.

"This framework itself is very scalable," said Baer. "You can deploy it while your server is running and you can change it on the fly. You don't have to run all the modules. You can only run what is necessary."

Since Oracle was re-architecting their middleware offerings, Baer said it would have been the perfect time to embrace OSGi more thoroughly, especially for business process management (BPM).

On the whole, Baer said the market has been slow to adopt OSGi architectures. This, he said, is because customers haven't seen how it can reduce Java footprints and operational costs. It is not a technology that tends to be optimized out of the box.

In his posting, Baer wrote that OSGi may become something of a bargaining chip in future Java Community Process planning. Oracle is set to take a greater role in JCP as it closes its multibillion dollar deal to buy Java-originator, Sun Microsystems.

With reporting by Jack Vaughan.

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