Monday Jan 25, 2016

The OPN Cloud Journey is Now

Oracle has been busy listening to our OPN members to finalize our next generation Oracle Partner Network (OPN) Cloud program. As promised during our initial announcement  during Oracle OpenWorld 2015, Oracle will formally launch the OPN Cloud Program on February 1, 2016 – giving you the full scoop on what this program can do for you.

This new Cloud program is designed to provide OPN members the opportunity to showcase their expertise, skills and investment in the Oracle Cloud to further support their cloud business growth. Partners engaging with Oracle will be able to differentiate their Oracle Cloud expertise and success with customers through an innovative set of Cloud designations that complement their existing OPN membership levels and provide tiers of recognition with progressive benefits. Not to mention, partners that transform their business with Oracle Cloud partner programs will be better positioned to help their customers journey to the cloud at an accelerated pace.

We are excited about the OPN Cloud Program and look forward to sharing the details. We will announce the program details at a live in-person event being held in London at the Oracle Digital Transformation Conference February 2-3, 2016 as well as via regional partner webcasts on the OPN Website on February 17-18, 2016.  Mark your calendars now to join us. Registration details coming soon.

Join the Journey,

The Oracle PartnerNetwork Team

Tuesday Jan 19, 2016

Empowering the Citizen Integrator

You may remember the emergence of end-user computing. IT had tremendous application backlogs and they weren’t being responsive to Line of Business (LOB) needs. First came 4GL languages that allowed LOB users to create their own reports from databases. Next, came personal computers and the productivity tools like spreadsheets. In general, the trend has been toward supporting the do-it-yourself (DIY) business user. That trend is now visiting the application integration arena.

First There Was Citizen Developer

All along, Gartner has chronicled developments, made predictions and coined terms to describe the evolution of the DIY business user. Gartner first coined the term “citizen developer” as “a user who creates new business applications for consumption by others using development and runtime environments sanctioned by corporate IT.” They operate outside of IT and create new business applications either from scratch or by composition.

Gartner predicted in 2009 that these citizen developers would build 25 percent of all new business applications by 2014. Three trends appear to have nurtured the birth of the citizen developer and have fostered the current DIY trend in application integration:

  • Cloud computing is freeing application development from having to care and feed the required infrastructure.
  • Due to the consumerization of technology, end users are more technologically savvy and have more sophisticated requirements.
  • Tooling has become much more powerful and easier to use thus lowering the bar for application developers.

Enter the Citizen Integrator
As Gartner has sharpened its focus from general application development to integration platform as a service (iPaaS), Gartner’s Massimo Pezzini recently specialized the “citizen developer” term to coin a new term, “citizen integrator.” A citizen integrator is a citizen developer who is specifically focused on building integrations between existing applications.  Here is how we profile a typical citizen integrator. He or she:

  • Is from the LOB, not IT;
  • Needs to react to business needs faster than IT can respond;
  • Maintains a solid understanding of business processes;
  • Has good data analysis skills, but isn’t necessarily formally trained in any traditional enterprise application integration (EAI) tools or technologies;
  • Understands specific capabilities and data objects of the applications that need to be integrated;
  • Is often confronted with integrating new cloud-based application investments with existing on-premise applications.

Oracle’s Integration Cloud Service
Oracle has been a leader in the service oriented architecture (SOA) space for many years. Oracle SOA Suite has been very well received and has topped the charts in many analyst reports. Recently, it brought the SOA technology to the cloud with Oracle SOA Cloud Service. Both Oracle SOA Suite and Oracle SOA Cloud Service are IT-focused products, but Oracle hasn’t rested on its laurels. It has aggressively taken what it has learned and created a new product called Oracle Integration Cloud Service (ICS) that is targeted for the citizen integrator.  

Integration Cloud ServiceICS simplifies development of integrations between applications in the cloud and between applications in the cloud and on premise, all without needing to write code or install and manage infrastructure. As a subscriber of SaaS applications like Oracle Sales Cloud, Oracle Marketing Cloud and Oracle Service Cloud, a citizen integrator has access to these applications through ICS. Using built-in adapters, ICS lets citizen integrators integrate applications in hours instead of months.

ICS helps citizen integrators along four fronts:

  • Connect: SaaS and web service adapters are available to accelerate integration with cloud-based and on-premise applications.
  • Design: Users enjoy an intuitive, web-based, visual designer to implement integration design patterns and map data flows without coding.
  • Monitor and Manage: ICS provides extensive visibility into auditing and error management information.
  • Pre-Builts: The Oracle Cloud Marketplace provides a host of pre-built integrations and adapters to extend the capabilities of their service.

The evolution of end-user computing to citizen development and to citizen integration will continue as business needs grow, users become more sophisticated and technology becomes even more powerful and easier to use. ICS is an excellent example of how Oracle is squarely focused on the citizen integrator. I encourage you to spend a few moments to explore quick product demos. These three will satisfy your curiosity in under seven minutes: Creating Connections, Creating Integrations and Mapping Data. You will be surprised at what a citizen integrator can quickly accomplish with ICS.


Tom Barrett
Oracle Director, Global Partner Enablement

Wednesday Jan 13, 2016

Transcending the Dark Ages of Information Security in 2016

It’s been said aspects of our industry is living in the “Dark Ages” of security. Businesses are tied to outdated views and rely on tools and tactics from the past, yet we are surprised when chaos breaks out. Security breaches and other vulnerabilities continue to create significant disruptions to our customers’ businesses.  As an industry and society, we must leave antiquated approaches behind and forge a new path as data volume and data sources proliferate.

Here are two points of view on how to address the problem of data vulnerability.

Focus one: The changing role of IT security

The first focus is on data security and data science changing the role of IT security. In recent years, the overall IT market has seen the rise of four technologies that continue to have a profound impact on the dynamics of the industry:

  • Mobility: Usage of smartphones, tablets and other devices connected to the Internet has grown dramatically.
  • Social Media: Defined as a group of applications that allow the creation and exchange of user-generated content over the Internet, social media’s relevance has evolved from closely-knit groups of friends to large communities and the enterprise world.
  • Cloud Computing: A model for enabling ubiquitous, convenient, on-demand network access to a shared pool of configurable computing resources (e.g., networks, servers, storage, applications and services) that can be rapidly provisioned and released with minimal management effort.
  • Big Data & Analytics: The gathering and processing of massive amounts of information, fueled by the increasing number of mobile devices (ranging from phones, transponders, sensors and other network enabled embedded devices).

These four areas are driving growth in the IT industry but they also impose a number of new constraints, especially when it comes to security. As more and more devices get connected to global networks, getting us even closer to the Internet of Things, the potential for security breaches is constantly increasing and the level of protection of enterprise and government IT security systems have been consequently lowered.

In the past, IT security systems were modeled like a fortress with impressive walls, moats and arrow slits. All features were dedicated to protect from intrusion. But this model is now evolving to a more open and inviting model, which is driving organizations to open the walls of the IT “fortress”. In turn, security needs have not at all gone away and have only increased.

Focus two: Secure to the Core

At this year’s Oracle OpenWorld, Oracle emphasized shifting the focus of infrastructure to security. Security features should be pushed down the stack as low as possible (think as low as the silicon in microprocessors) to allow for the highest security possible. That way, every application using a particular database inherits the security encryption and data protection capabilities. In fact, the last we checked, hackers have not yet figured out a way to download changes to a microprocessor because silicon is so hard to alter.

Part two is that security features should be always-on. There should be no way to turn off encryption or data protection. This seems like common sense but it’s good to reiterate.

SPARC M7: Now is the time

Oracle’s vision for security is embodied by the following three precepts:

  • Security at each layer;
  • Security in between layers;
  • Security between systems.

In each of these areas, Oracle’s philosophy is to follow best practices by default, integrate security at the design phase, implement security policies reflecting business imperatives and provide tunable controls.

Since Oracle owns the complete stack from silicon to database and applications, we are in a unique position to address security at every layer in the stack and bring them together in our servers, storage and engineered systems.

At the bottom of the stack you now find the SPARC M7 processor, which takes Oracle’s engineered systems philosophy into the core technology for computing systems: co-engineering the chip with software for optimum security and efficiency.

The M7's biggest innovations revolve around what is known as "software in silicon," a design approach that places specific software functions directly into the processor through specialized engines. Because these functions are performed in hardware, a software application runs much faster. And because the cores of the processor are freed up to perform other functions, overall operations are accelerated as well. Such speed and efficiency is essential for platforms in which security should be on by default.

Customer and partner momentum

The powerful message here is around the dramatic innovations we’ve made with software in silicon on the SPARC M7 processor, especially around the topic of security.

But don’t take our word for it. Oracle has a number of customer and partner testimonials on these new systems as well as new world record benchmarks which demonstrate why these new servers are a big deal to the infrastructure needs of the secure cloud.

Oracle also offers partners, customers and university researchers access to the Software in Silicon Cloud, which provides developers a secure and ready-to-run virtual machine environment to install, test, and improve their code in a system with SPARC M7 processors running Oracle Solaris.

The calendar year may have just come to a close, but we can expect the size, severity and complexity of cyber threats to continue increasing.

As the age of digital transformation continues to pave the way for our industry, information security needs to remain a chief priority. Let’s work together to ensure the security and reliability of our information systems.

The OPN Communications team

Wednesday Dec 23, 2015

Happy Holidays from OPN!

Before Oracle goes on Winter Break, we'd like to stop and say thank you for your ongoing support to the OPN program. 2015 was a fantastic year, and we have a lot of exciting announcements to come. So rest up and recharge because 2016 is going to be the best year yet!