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Understanding the difference between infrastructure and application

Anthony Shorten
Senior Principal Product Manager

One of the most common sets of questions I get from partners and customers are things like "How do I set up Load Balancing with your products?" or "How do link my security repository to your products?". People are surprised by my response by linking to the Oracle WebLogic and Oracle Database documentation.

This emphasizes the confusion over the role of the infrastructure versus the application. Let me explain. The Oracle Utilities products are applications housed in a container such as Oracle WebLogic and store their data in the database, namely Oracle Database. These are infrastructure and Oracle Utilities products should not be confused with them as it is an application using these services. Infrastructure provides a series of services that interface to the operating system and provide services to the application housed with them. There is a role for infrastructure and a role for applications housed in infrastructure.

These infrastructure services provide the interface into a lot of capabilities that the applications. Some of the capabilities provided are:

  • Security. Oracle WebLogic is responsible for the direct security of the applications that it houses. It provides a wide range of connectors to security such as its own internal LDAP server, external LDAP based repositories, SSO, OAuth2 and other security repositories. Oracle WebLogic provides the authentication and policy services for all the channels used by the Oracle Utilities products.
  • High Availability. Oracle WebLogic and the Oracle Database supports a large variety of architectures including high availability architectures, such those outlined in Oracle's Maximum Availability Architecture. The Oracle Utilities products can take advantage of this capability for high availability and scalability by being housed in a highly available Oracle WebLogic or Oracle Database cluster. This includes the ability to support the various hardware and software load balancers supported by Oracle WebLogic and Oracle Database.
  • JMS, Oracle WebLogic includes an inbuilt scalable JMS capability. This capability can be used by the Oracle Utilities products for inbound and outbound communications directly or via middleware.
  • JDBC. Oracle WebLogic includes basic and advanced capabilities when connecting to the Oracle Database via JDBC. The Oracle Utilities products can take advantage of both the basic and advanced capabilities offered by these drivers.
  • Other capabilities. Oracle WebLogic offers a wide range of additional capabilities that can be utiltized by the Oracle Utilities including caching, specialist networking etc.


Remember the role of the application is to provide functionality for the business, the role for the infrastructure around the application is to support the application and its interfaces to the various capabilities provided by that infrastructure.

It is not the responsibility of the product to take over the role filled by the infrastructure. A simple example I use with people is that you don't expect MSPaint to have the capability to change your Windows Password. Windows itself provides that capability and MSPaint provides user with the capability to compose and manipulate graphics.

If you want to remind yourself, always remember that the application is housed in a container, in the case of Oracle Utilities products that container is Oracle WebLogic. To get into that container to the application, you must go through that container.

My recommendation to partners and customers is to learn as much as you can about the capabilities of the infrastructure before learning about the capabilities of the application to avoid confusion.

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