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Oracle takes open source love to virtualization

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OpenWorld Charles Phillips today reminded the army of delegates at Oracle OpenWorld in San Francisco that the company is much more than just a database vendor. Now it does virtualization too.

The Oracle president pointed to a product family that includes a full middleware suite and a broad collection of business applications. Middleware is the company's fastest growing business, He told everyone, and the foundation of its architecture for applications.

Philips used his keynote to push the "we are not just a database" company theme further, by jumping on the hottest of hot industry trends - virtualization.

He announced the Oracle VM server virtualization software, built using the open source Xen hypervisor. Oracle Database, Oracle middleware and Oracle applications are certified on Oracle VM, which is scheduled for availability through free download on November 14. The supported edition will cost $499 per year for two CPUs and $999 per year for unlimited CPUs.

Philips told OpenWorld that Oracle VM was introduced in response to the customers' question: "What are you going to do about virtualization?". "It's our version of virtualization in the context of management tools that we provide around that, combined with Linux management," he said.

Moving on, Philips offered his own top picks from a host of announcements due at the conference.

These include expansion of the Oracle's Application Integration Architecture (AIA) strategy with best practices and a Foundation Pack. Unveiled in April as the company's strategy for integrating applications, AIA is built on Oracle's middleware, with the company planning to deliver pre-built integrations across Oracle enterprise resource planning (ERP), customer relationship management (CRM), and industry applications using a common object model and an open, Business Process Execution Language (BPEL) based platform.

Philips also flagged up Oracle Logical Apps Active Governance, which the company acquired with LogicalApps, a provider of embedded governance solutions. "We're transitioning from compliance architecture where you document your compliance rules, to actively enforce the policy," he said. An update is also expected on Oracle Agile PLM, a lifecycle product management solution that came with the acquisition of Agile Software Corporation last May.

Phillips characterized Oracle's headline-grabbing acquisition strategy - which has resulted in about 41 acquisitions in the past 45 months - as "acquired research and development... At this point in the history of our industry, acquisitions just make more sense." A target company is likely to have a nice roster of customers, seasoned products, and a post-bubble-era price tag, he said. "We've become the IPO market for the enterprise software industry."

Oracle's overall strategy now is to deliver an open, standards-based, pre-integrated software suite, "We include connections to third-party applications made in Germany if that's what's needed," he added, in an inevitable swipe at rival SAP. "It's a big job and big ambition, but we have enough scale and vision to get there."®

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