Oracle fortifies integration suite for mobile work

Oracle SOA Suite 12c now supports the JSON and REST formats, and updates FTP management

If it weren't enough of a challenge for IT architects and system managers to glue enterprise systems together, they must also now worry about connecting their systems to mobile and Web applications as well.

With this in mind, Oracle has updated its Oracle SOA Suite 12c system integration software it can also handle data from mobile and Web applications, by recognizing some of the most popular data formats and communication protocols used by these external applications.

"You can now expose any existing application through a mobile interface without rewriting the application," said Amit Zavery, Oracle's group vice president for its Fusion Middleware line of software.

Oracle SOA Suite 12c, released Thursday, also adds more management controls for FTP (File Transfer Protocol) data transfers.

Used by thousands of organizations, Oracle SOA Suite is the company's software for connecting enterprise systems so they can share data and work jointly on cross-application workflows. SOA stands for service-oriented architecture, a design methodology for defining and combining systems by the services they offer.

Traditionally, the Oracle SOA Suite -- and similar enterprise application integration middleware -- has focused on bridging systems by incorporating their varying communication protocols and data formats, such as XML (Extensible Markup Language), CSV (comma-separated values), or any one of a number of legacy, vendor-specific or custom protocols and formats.

Increasingly, however, enterprises are incorporating mobile and Web applications into their operations. This update to the Oracle SOA Suite should help architects and administrators fold these new sources of data and functionality into their systems.

The newest version of the SOA Suite includes adapters that can ingest JSON (JavaScript Object Notation), which is increasingly becoming the data formatting protocol of choice for mobile and Web applications. The software can also translate other data in formats, such as XML, into JSON.

REST (Representational State Transfer) support will also provide an easy conduit to the outside world. REST is popular for communicating with external Internet services, providing an easier-to-deploy alternative to the Web services stack, which SOA also supports.

"Now I can put a REST interface on any legacy application and create a mobile front-end without having to rewrite the application from scratch," Zavery said. Oracle also offers a set of development tools to build iOS and Android applications.

The Oracle SOA Suite also eases another pain point for enterprises, that of managing file transfers using FTP, which is often used to copy large sets of data from one location to another. While the protocol itself is robust -- it has been widely used for the past 30 years -- the tools for managing the protocol are still pretty crude, Zavery said.

"We want to simplify how to manage those transfers, which is hard to do otherwise," Zavery said.

The Oracle SOA Suite is a collection of integrated Oracle enterprise system support software built on the Oracle WebLogic application server, and includes an enterprise software bus, a number of business rules processing engines, and an editor for developers.

"FTP is a very unpredictable protocol. You don't usually get any sort of monitoring with it. You are doing a lot of manual transfers with it," Zavery said. The software offers a dashboard that can post alerts if a file was only partially transferred or not transferred at all.

The updated software also comes with a revamped installation process, new event processing functionality, and new debugging and testing tools. It also comes with the usual round of bug fixes and performance optimizations.

Joab Jackson covers enterprise software and general technology breaking news for The IDG News Service. Follow Joab on Twitter at @Joab_Jackson. Joab's e-mail address is Joab_Jackson@idg.com

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