SOA/Web Services

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April 18, 2006

App Server Vendors Prep for Imminent Combination of IT, Telecom

By Robert Liu, TMCnet Executive Editor

Application server vendors are accelerating their rollout plans to prepare for the imminent blending of information technology with the telecom world, brought on by the influx of IP Multimedia Subsystem (News - Alert)-based architecture.
On Tuesday, Oracle (News - Alert) outlined its roadmap to deliver a standards-based Service Delivery Platform (SDP) for the telecommunications industry to transition from current silo-based network investments into a service-oriented architecture (SOA) to help reduce time and costs to deploy next-generation communication Internet Protocol (IP) voice and data services. Oracle (News - Alert) SDP plans to extend its Oracle Fusion Middleware platform with technologies obtained through its recent acquisition of HotSip, adding elements like Session Initiation Protocol (News - Alert) (SIP), Presence Server, Proxy Registrar and Location components.
Oracle’s announcement underscores its desire to buy its way into the lucrative telecom market, which is witnessing an economic upswing as standards like IMS and Linux enable the convergence of delivery platforms. Just yesterday in the Financial Times, Oracle CEO Larry Ellison expressed his interest in acquiring Novell, which owns SUSE Linux – one of the most secure and widely deployed versions of the open source operating system to incorporate Carrier-Grade Linux specifications.
That positioning, though, comes at the same time that SUSE Linux competitor, Red Hat, acquired open source application server vendor, JBoss, for $350 million. Coincidentally, JBoss announced on Tuesday that it has turned to Ubiquity to incorporate its SIP app server into the JBoss Enterprise Middleware Suite (JEMS) platform.
But Oracle and JBoss are also considerably late to the game. IBM bowed its SDP strategy last fall integrating its IMS offerings into a Web services framework using its own CGL-based eServer BladeCenter T line. And Hewlett-Packard (News - Alert) has been busy integrating its OpenCall family of communication products into the omnipresent Intel (News - Alert) ecosystem.
“IT-standards-based service delivery platforms offer compelling value to operators as the basis for developing interactive, media-rich, next generation data services,” said Philip Marshall, director, Wireless/Mobile Technologies, Yankee Group. “Service delivery platforms that enable immediate ROI through out-of-the-box services and integration with [operational and business support systems] through standard interfaces are likely to be particularly compelling. Vendors who are able to provide a broad portfolio of products that are stable, mature and carrier-grade will have a definite edge over the competition.”
Complicating matters for Oracle is the fact that its SDP won’t immediately incorporate key elements of the IMS standard like call control. In addition, the platform has yet to be performance tested in an Advanced Telecom Computing Architecture (AdvancedTCA (News - Alert) or ATCA) environment – which is becoming the predominant form factor for modular platforms in the telecom space. The company said today that a broader suite of functionality is scheduled to be made available this calendar year.
Robert Liu is Executive Editor at TMCnet. Previously, he was Executive Editor at Jupitermedia and has also written for CNN, A&E, Dow Jones and Bloomberg. For more articles, please visit Robert Liu's columnist page.

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