My third day was exhibition day for me! I took the opportunity to wander around the JavaOne and OpenWorld exhibitions to see what might be useful for me when selling WebLogic, Coherence & SOA Suite. I found a number of interesting vendors and thought I would share what I found here. These are not necessarily endorsements, but observations on companies that I thought had interesting looking products that fill a need I have seen at customers.
A few years ago I worked with a customer that was a port authority. They wanted to tie E-Business Suite into their operations to provide faster processing of cargo and passengers. However they only had a 2 hour downtime window to perform upgrades. This was not a problem for core database and middleware technology, this could accommodate those upgrade timescales easily. It was a problem for EBS however so I intrigued to find Rapid E-Suite Inc offering an 11i to 12i upgrade service that claims to require no outage. This could be a real boon to EBS customers like my port friends that need to upgrade without disruption to their business.
I have come across a number of customers who want a comprehensive mobile solution, connected and disconnected operation and so forth. ADF only addresses part of these requirements currently so I was excited to discover mFrontiers Inc offering an apparently comprehensive solution that should integrate easily with Oracle SOA Suite to mobile enable a SOA infrastructure. The ability to operate without a network is important for many applications, particularly in industries that require their engineers to enter buildings to perform maintenance or repairs, because network access is not always available – many of my colleagues don’t have mobile access from their homes because they live in the middle of nowhere – and disconnected support is crucial in these situations.
Obviously Sharepoint is an evil pernicious intrusion into a companies IT estate but it is widely deployed and many people like it but also would like to take advantage of Oracle products such as WebCenter Content. So I was encouraged to see that Fishbowl Solutions have created a connector for Sharepoint that allows it to bring in content from WebCenter, it looks like a valuable way to maintain the Sharepoint interface end users are used to but extend the range of content by pulling stuff (technical term for content) from WebCenter.
The Enterprise Deployment Guides are Oracles bible on building highly available FMW environments, and each of them requires a front end load balancer. I have been asked to help configure F5 Load Balancers on a number of occasions over my time at Oracle and each time I come back to it I find more useful features have been added to the BigIP line of load balancers that F5 sell, many of their documents are tailored to FMW. I like F5, they provide (relatively) easy to use products that do what they say on the side of the box. They may not have all the bells and whistles of some of their more expensive competitors but they do the job and do it well! Besides which I like their logo!
I saw lots of other interesting products and services, such as a lightweight monitoring tool for Coherence, Forms migration services, JCAPS migration services and lots of cool freebies to take home to the children!
Wednesday night was the partner appreciation event and I had decided to go back to the hotel and have an early night. I decided to attend the last session of the day – a Maven/Hudson/WebLogic tutorial. I got the wrong hotel for the session and snuck in 20 minutes late at the back and starting working on the hands on workshop. One of my co-attendees raised his hand for help and as the presenter came over to help he suddenly stopped and yelled – “Is that Antony”! It was my old friend Steve Button who used to be based in Redwood Shores but is now a WebLogic guru PM in Australia. It was good to catch up with him. As he yelled out a guy with really bad posture turned around to see who he was talking to, this turned out to be my friend Simon Haslan, Oracle ACE from the UK. After the tutorial Simon and I retired to the coffee shop to catch up and share stories. 2 and half hours later we decided it was time to retire, so much for an early night but great to renew old friendships and find out what real customers are worrying about.