Fusion Middleware comprises several software packages from the Oracle brand. It features a range of services, including developer tools, Java EE, business intelligence, integration services, content management and collaborations and relies on open programming standards such as XML, BPEL and JMS.
The market was revolutionised when Fusion Middleware came onto the scene, providing the software needed to develop, deploy and manage a range of service-oriented architectures for business, integrating with systems and applications from a range of other software providers, such as SAP, Microsoft and IBM.
The evolution of Fusion Middleware
Many products listed under the 'OFM' category do not actually qualify as middleware products in their own right, as the term essentially refers to a re-brand of a range of Oracle products outside of the core Oracle offering of applications and database software. Since the launch, the market has rapidly begun to adopt the services on offer and estimates suggest that by 2006 alone over 30,000 companies had begun to use Fusion Middleware, including 35 of the world's biggest organisations and 75% of the companies listed in Global Business Week. Additionally, OFM was being supported by up to 7,500 partners.
To assist with ongoing business process automation, Hewlett Packard has incorporated the Oracle Fusion Middleware offer into its own architecture portfolio of services. The later Oracle Fusion Applications, based on the original Middleware build, were also released in 2010. The big focus now is very much on cloud computing, which Oracle Fusion Middleware offers a total foundation for, in both public and private spheres. Alongside these releases, the company keeps winning accolades and recognition for its industry-leading product range and market approaches.
Advantages and disadvantages of Fusion Middleware
There are a range of measurable benefits from using the Middleware, primarily gaining the ability to run intelligent and agile business applications, whilst maximising the delivery of IT services, through optimising the utilisation of both software architectures and hardware within an organisation. In fact, Oracle's Fusion Middleware offer is the only product available on the market today that offers a complete solution through a single strategic partnership, an integrated approach with Oracle products, 'best of breed' product offerings and hot-pluggable enhancements.
The main disadvantage appears to be cost, primarily for many smaller organisations. The education and awareness required to educate businesses and organisations about the value of such middleware applications are also issues. Some remain concerned about becoming tied to a sole supplier and building their business intelligence systems on a wholly-owned Oracle brand, but the company's dominance continues to grow and its service and product offering remains cutting edge. This is particularly noticeable when considering competitors such as TIBCO, which offers comparable products but does not have the global reach and sales presence of Oracle. TIBCO tends to be preferred by those who want more niche products such as EAI, but Oracle offers the broadest selection of technologies.
Many purchasers initially believe that the proprietary set-up of PeopleSoft applications suggest that few advantages can be delivered outside of this technology; however, there are a number of significant advantages to combining Fusion Middleware with PeopleSoft applications that improve how the latter system interfaces with other software applications. The combination also improves system robustness and security and enhances the overall user experience.