Oracle is set to unveil Enterprise Manager 10g Release 5 on Tuesday, framing the upgrade as a major step forward for the company's wide-ranging application management platform.
"This is a pretty important release," said Moe Fardoost, director of product marketing. "There's something in each tier."
On the application level, the update adds support for Siebel CRM 8.1.1, as well as additional management tools for the Beehive collaboration platform and Oracle's billing and revenue management software.
Moving down the stack to middleware, Oracle has brought in deep management capabilities for WebLogic Server and Oracle Service Bus, he said.
The company has also added automation for Real Application Testing, which allows users to take a snapshot of real-life production workloads and apply them to test databases for assessing the effect of changes. RAT was never that complicated to use, but "what we're doing here is providing the automation to do it in one step," he said.
Automation has also been added for Oracle's Real Application Clusters, which allow users to deploy a single database across multiple servers for added reliability. In addition, Oracle's Automatic Database Diagnostics Monitor now has support for RAC environments.
Oracle VM is another major focus of the release, as Enterprise Manager's configuration, provisioning and monitoring capabilities have been extended to virtual environments, he said. Previously Oracle had only basic capabilities in this area, he said.
Richard Sarwal, Oracle's senior vice president of systems management, is scheduled to deliver a webcast on Tuesday that will take a deeper look at the new release.
But Oracle's overall strategy behind Enterprise Manager is probably more interesting than any new features on their own, according to Forrester Research analyst Jean-Pierre Garbani.
That's because Oracle has taken "a totally different approach" from other IT management vendors, such as Hewlett-Packard and BMC, Garbani said. "They are all providing generic monitoring and management solutions that will adapt to everything."
Unlike those vendors, Oracle's core business is around applications, so for now it wants to provide customers with everything that helps deploy Oracle apps, he said.
Since the high cost of maintaining applications in the traditional manner is driving customers toward outsourcing and SaaS (software as a service), lowering the price tag of implementation and management is of huge importance for Oracle, according to Garbani.
In pursuit of this goal, Oracle has made a string of acquisitions to round out Enterprise Manager's capabilities, Garbani noted. Among them are ClearApp for its composite application management software and Moniforce for end-user monitoring.
It is certainly possible to integrate Enterprise Manager with third-party products, such as BMC's Remedy help-desk application.
But Oracle's ultimate goal is to give customers an "IKEA model" for building out their application environments, according to Garbani.
"At IKEA, when you buy it, you've got to put it together, but everything is pre-cut and arranged in one package," he said. "You can see how [Oracle] could evolve to the fully built model in time."