Tuesday, October 16, 2012

OOW 2012 - A Not So Brief Recap

OOW 2012 - A Not So Brief Recap

Now that the hubub is over, let's recap the highlights of Oracle OpenWorld 2012. Two important caveats: 1) these are highlights that stood out for me - others may have different perspectives; 2) there were so many highlights, announcements, roadmaps, etc. that I doubt any one writer will be able to recap anything in a single article.

E-Business Suite

Contrary to many, I'm very impressed that Oracle did not release EBS 12.2. There was pleny of market pressure to do so. But the bottom line, at least from what I hear, is that it's just not ready to be shipped. The transition from OC4J to WebLogic is proving to be a challenge and the EBS Development team is determined to put out a quality release. Would everyone involved like it to be shipped by now? Sure. But it serves nobody's best interest to rush shipping and wind up with a buggy release. And, yes, one could argue for a more iterative approach...but, in all honesty, that's darned hard to pull off with enterprise software...and it's also a different discussion. I'm just impressed that the EBS team chose quality over schedule.

One other thing: Endeca is going to be a huge deal for EBS. I'll just leave it at that for now...this merits a blog post of it's own in the near future.

Fusion Applications

Oracle now has roughly 400 Fusion Applications customers - 100 of are scheduled to be live by the end of October. Note that those figures include Taleo and RightNow customers, which is why 65% of Fusion Applications customers are running on the cloud (more on the whole cloud thing in a minute). A smaller percentage is running on-premise, with the smallest percentage being Oracle OnDemand customers. While I'd be interested in knowing the breakout of Taleo and RightNow customers (I suspect it's a significant portion of the customers on the cloud), I don't have access to those numbers.

We also saw some new functionality coming up in RUP 5, which will probably release in October or early November. I was very impressed by what I saw added to the Project Portfolio Management suite in particular (Resource Management rocks).

The new User Experience for Fusion Apps (internally named "Fuse") was probably the biggest announcement from OOW 12, in my humble opinion. Original design, simple and easily understood - the epitome of elegance and a huge leap forward for using Fusion Apps (yeah, still love the work coming out of Oracle's UX team...and I also sat in on a UX gamification workshop that opened my eyes a bit). My prior post here gives you a taste, but I'll be sharing more over the next few weeks and months. Runs on the tablet or over your computer browser...any bets on how long it will take to release this on phones? Pretty innovative stuff coming out of the UX team...again.

We also saw exposure of a REST API for Fusion Apps at OOW 12. The purpose? First, to support the integration of Fusion Apps with Oracle Social Management. Second, to support at least part of Fusion Apps on tablets, phones and other mobile devices. Seems like there's a big focus by Oracle on threading all the pieces together...should in an interesting 12 to 24 months on this front.

Fusion Middleware 12c

Didn't happen. Rumors all wrong. In fact, I personally think the release of FMW 12c is still a ways off. For further explanation, re-read the "E-Business Suite" section. Another impressive call by Oracle. Still wish they could ship faster, but pleased that they're picking quality over market pressure and schedule.

Database 12c

I'm usually more impressed by shipped software than pre-release previews, especially at a major conference like this, but the idea of pluggable databases is interesting nonetheless. A brief synopsis of the concept: "one (root or container) database with all the generic elements of an Oracle Database that encompasses between 1 and 200 pluggable databases. Shared between all databases are the data dictionary, the UNDO area and the administration effort. Private to each pluggable database is the definition of application’s database objects and the actual data." Not my words in quotes, but a pretty nifty high-level explanation nonetheless. The benefit? Many databases running on a single piece of hardware...many more than possible prior to 12c. Word is that it will ship by the end of the calendar year, but don't bet the farm on it.

Business Process Management

Another pre-release preview. Stunning, but not yet available. PS 6 looks great. Process Accelerators, Simulators in the Process Composer, Adaptive Management (focused on Agile techniques) are all very iimpressive. Can't wait...when do I get 'em (insert sound of crickets chirping here)?


Most of the people who work with me know that I've been a closet fan of Oracle's Applications Development Framework for some time now. I haven't really come out on ADF because of the peer-pressure from the open-source crowd. But now I'm proudly coming out of the closet...with ADF Essentials. ADF Essentials allows application development and deployment without a license fee...and it's technology-stack agnostic (as in not limited to the Oracle tech stack). Which means it can be used on open-source stacks, while still providing the productivity benefits of ADF. Yeah, this was technically released just before OOW 12, but still...this is pretty amazing stuff. I'm wagering that we'll see a very significant uptake of ADF by JEE developers over the next several months.


Well, we've already covered the REST API and it's importance to mobile. But, in addition, we saw lots of emphasis on TAP. In addition, we saw and heard a ton about ADF mobile design patterns (yeah, there goes the UX team again). Personally, I got excited about the mobile design patterns...planning on working through some hypothetical use cases over the next few weeks and months. I'll keep ya'all posted on where this goes.

Mobile is a big focus for Oracle. However, keep in mind that the product lifecycle for mobile is causing Oracle to hedge their bets a bit. Seems like the dominant platform changes every 24 months or so...Blackberry>iPhone>'Droid. Writing for a platform that changes so dramatically and so quickly has very limited economic benefits. So, while we'll see big buzz on mobile, I'm personally betting that the technical deliveries in this space will be very, very simple (ie. low cost).

All that being said, we did hear at OOW 12 that a Mobile ADF release is just around the corner. What I saw here was definitely very cool, especially when combined with the Mobile ADF Design Patterns (yeah, another kudo for the UX team on the patterns thing). Wish it was already here...


Seems like Oracle's big message these days is all about the cloud: Oracle Cloud, public cloud, private cloud, Software-As-A-Service, Platform-As-A-Service, Infrastructure-As-A-Service (shades of Amazon !). While I don't like to be negative, I have to admit that I'm a little architecturally befuddled by the approach here. I'd much prefer to see Oracle focus on one cloud-based service, get it right, then expand incrementally. Instead, the message seems to be "hey, we're on the Cloud...with everything you could ever imagine...right now". Frankly, listening to Oracle talk cloud for any length of time is like drinking from a fire hose...it's just too much to take in. I suspect that this approach is based on a perceived need to "catch up"; several of Oracle's competitors in any given marketspace already have a strong cloud presence. Oracle is late to the game. Still, they have the staying power to approach the cloud incrementally and in an organized fashion. Just not seeing that at this point in time.

Wish I could say that OOW 12 cleared this up...

Some Final Thoughts

First, if you're looking for any commentary on Exadata, Big Data, Hadoop or the announcements from JavaOne...well, Google is your friend. Many more people with lots more smarts in these areas have written on this stuff...I'm not even smart enough to know how to fake it yet.

Second, I thought that the non-announcements were just as important as the announcements at OOW 12. No EBS 12.2 and no FMW 12c, plus teases on ADF Mobile and BPM PS 6. OOW 12 definitely piqued my interest for what's coming out over the next 12 months. And, when you stop to think about it, that's really what OOW is all about, right?

Oh, two more OOW 12 announcements before I (finally) wrap this up: 1) my friends at Pythian are hiring. If you're looking, check them out. 2) My company, EiS Technologies, announced their agreement to be acquired by 4XOR. Big deal on the personal front...we'll see how it goes.

Done. Comments welcome.


laurie Sanderz said...

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Anonymous said...

RightNow has several thousands of customers, ~99.99% in the cloud.