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Oracle To Turn Focus on Cloud with Next Major WebLogic Update

Oracle this week announced the forthcoming availability of Oracle WebLogic Server 12c, a major update of the company's WebLogic app server and the cornerstone of its Cloud Application Foundation.

WebLogic Server 12c, which Oracle said will arrive in the next few weeks, is the first major update of the app server since the WebLogic 11g's release in 2009. Much of Oracle's focus with this release is on moving its customers smoothly to the cloud. In fact, the "c" in WebLogic Server 12c stands for "cloud," according to Mike Lehmann, senior director of Oracle's product management group.

"One of the key themes behind this release is how we're enabling our customers to get into the cloud, both with their existing, conventional infrastructures in their datacenters, and the same infrastructures we're providing on our optimized, engineered Exalogic Elastic Cloud," Lehmann said.

The Exalogic Cloud is a component of Oracle's Cloud Application Foundation, the company's next-gen app infrastructure. (Oracle calls it "the world's first and only engineered system for cloud computing.") It combines the Exalogic cloud and the WebLogic Server with Tuxedo for C/C++/COBOL, Oracle's Coherence in-memory data grid, the JRockit and Hotspot Java VMs, Oracle Enterprise Manager, and the Oracle Virtual Assembly Builder.

WebLogic Server 12c is optimized to run as a high-performance, mission-critical, elastic cloud infrastructure on the Exalogic Cloud, Lehmann said. The Exalogic Cloud is "tested and tuned" to provide the best foundation for Java applications, Oracle applications, and other enterprise apps, he said.

"This is the infrastructure we believe our customers need to build out cloud solutions," Lehmann said.

Lehmann explained that this release is part of Oracle's Java Cloud Service, the company's enterprise platform for developing, deploying and managing business-critical Java EE apps. The Java Cloud Service supports development and deployment from multiple Java-based integrated development environments (IDEs), including Oracle's own JDeveloper, its open-source NetBeans IDE, and its Eclipse environment.

"Oracle has made an important strategic decision to begin offering its software as a cloud service for its customers," observed IDC analyst Al Hilwa. "To do that, Oracle has had to invest a fair amount of R&D into WebLogic to support cloud deployment and management options. I see Oracle beginning to offer some of these services to many of its customers as add-on capacity, not as replacement, in the early days. We expect midsize enterprises to consider cloud application platforms more aggressively than larger enterprises over the next year or two."

Besides its cloud focus, WebLogic Server 12c is also designed to let developers leverage the capabilities and features of the Java Platform Standard Edition 7 (Java SE 7) and the Java Platform Enterprise Edition 6 (Java EE 6). Java really gets the spotlight in this release; it's the first version of the app server to be fully certified for Java EE 6 platform, and Oracle is promoting its ability to leverage Java SE 7. Hilwa sees these enhancements as good news for Java developers.

"This is an important milestone taken in context of Oracle's overall stewardship of Java," he said. "Adoption of Java EE typically moves slowly in enterprises, but offering a certified implementation of the standard framework begins to move the process of long-term migration along. The certified implementation of the standard is important, but more important is the added set of capabilities and integration across the stack that Oracle is providing in this release. The integration with the database and RAC [Oracle's Real Application Clusters] in particular is an impressive showcase of the value of an integrated stack."

Among the new tools in this release is the Virtual Assembly Builder, which wraps the typically dispersed components of an enterprise Java application (Web server, traffic management, app server, messaging) into a virtual container that can be managed as a single unit.

Another new tool is the Oracle Traffic Director, a software load-balancer-traffic-management solution. The Director adds high-performance and high-availability traffic routing capabilities, dynamically configurable caching, load-balancing and proxy support for HTTP-based applications, Lehmann said.

WebLogic Server 12c also supports dependency management and a uniform build process through an updated plug-in for Apache Maven, an open source framework and repository for building and managing any Java-based project.

This release also comes with improved integration between the app server and RAC, which can auto-detect and correct database node failures; new disaster recovery capabilities designed to allow customers to store data in a file store or a database; improved application security with version 1.2 of Transport Layer Security (the successor to SSL); and a "seamless upgrade from Oracle WebLogic Server 11g."

About the Author

John K. Waters is a freelance author and journalist based in Silicon Valley. His latest book is The Everything Guide to Social Media. Follow John on Twitter, read his blog on ADTmag.com, check out his author page on Amazon, or e-mail him at john@watersworks.com.


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