Oracle co-president Charles Phillips offered a few hints as to what partners can expect from the company's next database and applications generation.
The upcoming Oracle 11g database, for example, will allow "segregation" between applications users and the database that feeds their applications, he said. The upshot is that application users will not be able to see underlying data in the database unless they have the rights to see it.
This was one of the first public company comments around the next database version. Phillips said nothing about timing, but Oracle shipped the current 10g Release 2 last summer and observers expect the company to start getting more specific about both the 11g database" and E-business Suite 12 this week at Oracle OpenWorld in San Francisco.
Oracle has pledged continued upgrades not only to its home-grown apps suite but for Siebel, PeopleSoft and JD Edwards apps as well. The ultimate end game remains the next-gen "Fusion" applications but Phillips again pledged there would be no "forced march" away from customers' current branded applications.
The company can do more for customers and partners in terms of security, high availability and compliance in its next product wave, Phillips said adding that John Wookey, senior vice president of applications development, will speak more on E-Business Suite 12 during his keynote on Wednesday.
Partner sources say a big focus of "12" is tighter integration with Oracle's portal and XML reports publisher and emphasis on CRM and business intelligence. They do not expect it to surface until April at the earliest.
In the future, Oracle products will enable centralized entitlements, so a user's access to data and applications will automatically follow him or her throughout applications and tasks.
What is being done now in compliance is the "tip of the iceberg," he said. Future Oracle users will be able to audit database information and access by applications and users. [It will track] not only which applications you can use, but what data did you view, what did you change, [it will] identify the person once and track him across all apps and the stack. It'll be a complete audit trail from keyboard to disk," Phillips said.
Oracle's current technology can monitor user response times across the stack and isolate problems, Phillips said. IBut in the future, "we'll enable centralized entitlements [and] hot deployments of patches without downtime," he said. Future applications will be able to initiate a rollback of the application server and database" as needed, Phillips said.
Phillips also talked up tighter integration and going forward between the core Oracle database and middleware stack and applications going forward. "We have assets on the tech side that apply elsewhere. In our umbrella strategy, we have single core foundation of the technology stack—the database and middleware. Around that we have industry oriented applications, ERP and CRM. The applications should leverage the core stack."
While Phillips pledged to continue Oracle's dedication to open standards, it was unclear how this tighter integration would affect Oracle pledges of support third-party technologies. For example, since acquiring PeopleSoft and JD Edwards, Oracle execs have been careful to promise continuing applications support for IBM's DB2 database. Many JD Edwards and PeopleSoft customers run their applications on IBM's DB2 database which competes with Oracle's bread-and-butter database. Likewise, Oracle has promised that its database will continue to fully support third-party applications that compete with its own software.
Also announced Sunday were new Business Accelerators for the mid market. These wizard-like programs let partners and users easily enter information about the desired application and automate its optimal set up, Oracle said. A new Oracle Accelerate program aims to get partners to extend these accelerators for their verticals.
Phillips also announced a new Configuration Support Manager to ease deployments and optimize performance. It will be part of Oracle's Premier support options.