Oracle is packaging several of its Fusion middleware products together as the Oracle SOA Suite, in an attempt to meet the growing interest in SOA.

Rick Schultz, vice president of Oracle Fusion Middleware, said that the products would have a common install and management tools and would use Oracle's BPEL (Business Process Execution Language) and ESB products.

"People have piece parts, but nobody's really put together a comprehensive SOA suite and certainly not one that's hot-pluggable and works with other vendors' middleware products," Schultz said.

In this instance, Oracle is using "hot-pluggable" to mean interoperability with other vendors' middleware. But, to no great surprise, the company claimed that using the suite with Oracle's application server would be less expensive than using it on a rival application server. The suite's price is $50,000 per CPU when deployed with an Oracle application server, or $65,000 per CPU when used with a rival application server.

With its suite, Oracle is betting that users want a single provider for SOA, said Ronald Schmelzer, senior analyst at ZapThink.

"Not only is Oracle offering this comprehensive-type approach to SOA, but it looks like IBM, BEA, Microsoft, and even SAP are gunning for the 'complete' SOA package. While the markets for SOA have matured, it's not clear that customers are looking for a one-stop-shop for SOA," Schmelzer said.

Customers are looking for interoperability but not necessarily from a single vendor, said Schmelzer. "We'll have to see what wins the tug-of-war: greater vendor choice through interoperability and loose coupling, or reduced vendor selection for purposes of efficiency," he added.

Components of the suite include: Oracle BPEL Process Manager, for mapping out business process flows; Oracle Enterprise Service Bus, for connecting existing IT systems and business partners as a set of services; Oracle Web Services Manager, providing a console for setting web services policies; and Oracle Business Rules Engine, for defining and managing business rules.

Release of the suite marks the first time Oracle Enterprise Service Bus has been separated from the company's application server.

Other middleware products in the suite are Oracle Business Activity Monitoring, for insight into business operations; Oracle Enterprise Manager, for managing service-oriented applications; and Oracle JDeveloper 10g.