Oblix Deal To Give Oracle Wide-Ranging ID Management

Oblix acquisition

"Oracle has had identity management primarily focused on Oracle products," said Thomas Kurian, Oracle's senior vice president of server technologies. "We now move beyond Oracle environments [with a solution] for heterogeneous, enterprisewide deployments for packaged applications from Oracle and outside Oracle--databases, application servers and other systems that may be from Oracle or other companies."

Oblix's offerings are designed to provide Single Sign-On for multiple applications and manage Web services emanating from different applications and systems.

Oracle unveiled the acquisition of Cupertino, Calif.-based Oblix on Monday. Terms of the deal weren't disclosed. Oblix CEO Gordon Eubanks, a PC software pioneer who helped lead Symantec to utilities leadership, won't stay with Oracle but will advise it through the transition, Kurian said.

Meta Group analyst Earl Perkins said Oblix will bring credibility to Oracle in access management. While Oblix started out in identify management it had morphed in recent years to more of a Web services focus. It bought Confluent for Web services management last year, he said.

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Plans call for Oracle, Redwood Shores, Calif., to meld Oblix's sales teams into its internal direct-sales force and retain most of Oblix's engineers, who will work in Oracle's application server group, according to Kurian. Oracle also will work with systems integrators and VARs to bolster indirect sales efforts, he said, adding that Oracle is committed to training 1,500 integrators on the product lineup in the next six months.

Oracle has good relationships with Capgemini, Accenture and EDS, and Oblix was aligned with Deloitte Consulting and PricewaterhouseCoopers. Such alliances could give the combined Oracle-Oblix product suite strong coverage among the largest integrators.

However, some smaller, longtime Oracle partners said they don't expect much incremental business to flow their way in the wake of the Oblix deal. Though Oracle claims that 40 percent to 48 percent of its application server and middleware revenue is generated through the indirect channel, that figure doesn't impress many Oracle partners.

"Very few partners have a real focus on Oracle applications. Oracle has always tried to deal with them internally, although some partners do application implementation," said one veteran Oracle VAR based in the western United States.

Another Oracle solution provider, who also requested anonymity, was similarly unimpressed. "We're still fighting the same conflicts with Oracle in the field, and I don't see this changing that," he said.

Some industry observers cited an Oracle World speech two years ago, when Oracle application server executives called Dell the company's primary reseller partner--a contention that didn't endear Oracle to VARs and integrators.

Others expressed concern about Oracle's acquisition moves. The Redwood Shores, Calif.-based software vendor announced the Oblix deal just a week after closing its $670 million acquisition of Retek and within months of its blockbuster $10.3 billion acquisition of PeopleSoft.

"With all the recent acquisitions, it will be interesting to see how Oracle is able to integrate them all," said Dan Mori, vice president of Fusionstorm, a San Francisco-based Oracle partner.