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Oracle® Application Server Concepts
10g Release 2 (10.1.2)
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1 Introduction to Oracle Application Server

This chapter provides an overview of Oracle Application Server. The topics include:

1.1 The Challenges of Creating and Maintaining an E-Business

The Internet introduces significant opportunities for companies to reach new markets and to streamline their internal business processes. At the same time, these opportunities generate new challenges because applications must be delivered quickly and must serve vast numbers of users.

Quickly delivering highly scalable applications often requires integrating diverse products that were not designed to work together. When this is the only way to get a consolidated set of business applications, companies must spend large amounts of capital, time, and effort, both initially and continuously, to support the complicated technologies or systems that they have built.

Companies that create e-business Web sites experience common problems and challenges associated with developing and deploying applications.

1.1.1 Development Challenges

There are numerous challenges associated with application development. Developing applications in a complex Internet environment involves dozens of interfaces, programming languages, and platforms. Assembling the infrastructure to support such applications requires comprehensive knowledge on the part of Internet application developers. In addition, developing, testing, and deploying applications is very time consuming.

There is a common set of requirements that today's Internet applications need to meet. The challenge for e-businesses is to create applications that integrate all of these requirements.

Figure 1-1 shows the six main requirements that contribute to the challenge of developing integrated Internet applications: Java2 Platform, Enterprise Edition (J2EE) requirements, Web services, enterprise integration, portals, wireless, and personalization.

Figure 1-1 Application Development Challenges: Application Requirements

Application Requirements
Description of "Figure 1-1 Application Development Challenges: Application Requirements" J2EE Applications

Most e-business application developers face the fact that development cycles have become shorter, while demand for an increasing number of programming languages and multiple platforms keeps growing. In recent years, developers began using Java, a platform-independent programming language, in application development. However, their applications are still vendor-dependent because of proprietary Application Programming Interfaces (APIs). Complying with industry standards to create a level of cross-vendor standardization has become an increasing demand and challenge. The J2EE platform and component specifications define a standard platform for developing multi-tier, Web-based enterprise applications. Using J2EE as a development requirement addresses the issue of conflicting industry standards. Web Services

As e-business evolves, companies rely increasingly on their Web sites to conduct business. Web services provide a standards-based infrastructure through which any business can both offer internal business process services and dynamically link its business processes with those of its partners. Web services support direct interactions with other software applications using XML-based messages and Internet-based products. Portals

Over the past several years, the portal has emerged as the new Internet desktop, enabling users to access information through Web browsers and to combine information from different sources into a single entry point. Portals also support personalized views, so that users or user groups can customize the content and the appearance of the portal to suit individual preferences and requirements. Secure, easy-to-use, and dynamic portals that provide access to all applications and Web services are essential infrastructure elements for e-business. Wireless

An increasing number of people conduct business out of the office. Wireless applications allow users rapid access through mobile devices, such as Web-enabled phones, personal digital assistants, or pagers. However, wireless applications are limited by small screen size, limited data entry capacity, and heterogeneity in standards supporting wireless devices. Personalization

Customers, through Web site navigation, purchases, demographics, and ratings data, provide valuable information about themselves and their interests. When this information is extracted effectively, you can deliver tailored customer experiences and drive business decisions. Enterprise Integration

Most companies need to integrate their existing applications and data sources with new business processes. As companies grow, it is essential to integrate existing applications and data sources with those of their partners, customers, and suppliers. These companies must perform a complete enterprise application integration without rewriting the applications or building extensive customized program logic.

1.1.2 Deployment Challenges

The key to the success of any Web site is how quickly and reliably the server can deliver the appropriate content to users. If a server takes too long to respond or if it fails, then users will take their business elsewhere. If content and applications are not secure, then sensitive information or information technology assets are vulnerable. If deployed applications cannot use hardware efficiently, then information technology budgets are depleted quickly on equipment purchases.

Concerns associated with application deployment include availability, scalability, performance, caching, systems management, and user and security management.

Figure 1-2 Application Deployment Challenges: System Requirements

Application Deployment Challenges
Description of "Figure 1-2 Application Deployment Challenges: System Requirements" Availability

The availability of an overall system is measured by the percentage of time that it works normally. A successful e-business requires a 100% available operation without downtime. To improve availability, companies may use redundant components, but only when the back-up component can take over for a failed primary component immediately. Scalability

The scalability of a system refers to how well it responds as user demands increase. The number of Web users has increased tremendously in the past few years. It is crucial to maintain high quality Web sites that scale when you increase your hardware resources. Performance

Increasing the performance of your Web site and increasing the speed of your applications without redesigning or rebuilding the Web site are common goals. Typical performance factors include the ability to handle multiple requests simultaneously, competition for resources, latency, response time, service time, throughput, wait time, and scalability. Caching

Many high-volume Web sites serve thousands of users concurrently and need to provide them with accurate data in a dynamic environment where content changes frequently. Caching is one of the key technologies that promises to alleviate the computational and economic burdens resulting from complicated Web site infrastructure and technologies. However, it is often difficult to cache the dynamic, personalized content that the e-business model requires. Systems Management

Application server administrators require sophisticated tools to monitor and manage the application platform, deployed applications, and the privileges and access rights of individual application users. Administrators benefit from a central administration console that simplifies the management and monitoring of the application server and its components, and also allows them to manage application deployments, application configuration, and security. Security and Identity Management

With the Internet continually growing, the threat to information traveling over the network increases exponentially. Maintaining a secure Web site is crucial. Once your Web site is running, you must protect the databases and the servers on which they reside. You must administer and protect the rights of internal database users, and you must guarantee the confidentiality of e-business customers as they access your database.

1.2 Building an E-Business Solution with the Oracle Platform

Oracle Application Server is a part of the Oracle platform, a complete and integrated e-business platform. The Oracle platform consists of:

To deliver scalable and high performance e-business solutions successfully, you must be able to leverage an integrated, comprehensive, flexible, and open platform. Oracle provides integrated development, deployment, and management tools, as well as a runtime platform. The Oracle platform simplifies the process of creating and deploying the applications that run your business on the Internet.

See Also:

The product pages on the Oracle Technology Network at for more information about the Oracle Database and Oracle Developer Suite

1.3 Overview of Oracle Application Server

Oracle Application Server is a completely standards-based application server that provides a comprehensive and fully integrated platform for running Web sites, J2EE applications, and Web services. It addresses all the challenges that you face as you refine your business processes to become an e-business.

Oracle Application Server provides full support for the J2EE platform, XML, emerging Web services, and grid standards. With Oracle Application Server you can simplify information access for your customers and trading partners by delivering enterprise portals, which can be customized and accessed from a network browser or from wireless devices. It allows you to redefine your business processes, and integrate your applications and data sources with those from your customers or partners. You can deliver tailored customer experiences via real-time personalization, and assess and correlate customer navigation, purchasing, ratings, and demographic data.

Oracle Application Server allows you to save on Web site infrastructure by deploying your fast, scalable Internet applications through built-in Web caching, load balancing and clustering capabilities.

1.3.1 Oracle Application Server Solutions

The following sections describe solutions that Oracle Application Server provides to address the development and deployment challenges common to e-business Web sites. These solutions include J2EE and Internet applications, portals, wireless, business intelligence, business intelligence, e-business integration, caching, management, and security, built on a scalable and highly available infrastructure.

Figure 1-3 Oracle Application Server Solutions

Oracle Application Server Solutions
Description of "Figure 1-3 Oracle Application Server Solutions" J2EE and Internet Applications

Oracle Application Server is built entirely on a J2EE framework that supports the latest industry standard technologies and programming languages, including J2EE API specifications, XML, and Web services. This comprehensive and flexible framework allows you to design, develop, and deploy dynamic Web sites, portals, and transactional applications using familiar programming languages and technologies such as servlets, JavaServer pages, XML, PL/SQL Server Pages, and SOAP. Oracle Application Server also provides comprehensive Web services to expose business functions to authorized parties over the Internet from any Web device. Portals

Oracle Application Server provides an out-of-the-box portal that does not require endless programming and maintenance. You can use Oracle Application Server Portal to build, deploy, and maintain self-service and integrated enterprise portals. Oracle Application Server Portal allows for self-service content management and publishing, wizard-based development, and deploying, publishing, and consuming Web services on an extensible framework. It also includes Oracle Instant Portal, a custom application built with OracleAS Portal that provides smaller enterprises an opportunity to build simple portals in a short amount of time. Wireless

Oracle Application Server Wireless simplifies wireless development and deployment by providing the ability to deliver content to any device, to use any protocol, and to work across any wireless network. In addition, Oracle Application Server Wireless includes wireless services, such as e-mail and location-based services, that simplify wireless-enabling applications and portals. Oracle Application Server provides application developers independence from the underlying wireless infrastructure. Oracle Application Server Wireless is built on Oracle Application Server Containers for J2EE (OC4J), leveraging open standards support in XML and J2EE to deliver a high-performance and scalable wireless infrastructure. Business Intelligence

Oracle Application Server Business Intelligence provides comprehensive personalization and business intelligence services. Using Oracle Application Server Business Intelligence features, you can dynamically serve personalized content recommendations to both registered and anonymous visitors as they browse your site; perform dynamic, ad-hoc query reporting and analysis using a standard Web browser; and publish high quality, dynamically generated reports on a scalable, secure platform. E-Businesses Integration

Oracle Application Server has a powerful set of features that provide communications and integration capabilities for e-business applications. Using Oracle Application Server, you can integrate enterprise applications, trading partners, and Web services, emphasizing scalability and manageability, and provide seamless query and transaction access to many non-Oracle data sources. You can implement both human and process workflow automation, and connect out-of-the-box to a variety of packaged applications and legacy systems. Availability and Scalability

Oracle Application Server provides a flexible deployment model that allows you to architect your system for high availability and scalability. Oracle Application Server provides a variety of options for improving availability and scalability, and provides features for implementing fault tolerance, death detection, and failover. Additionally, Oracle Application Server supports such high availability options as cold failover clusters and active failover clusters. Caching

Oracle Application Server provides a Web caching solution with the unique capability of caching both static and dynamically-generated Web content. Oracle Application Server Web Cache significantly improves the performance and scalability of heavily loaded Web sites. In addition, the Web cache provides a number of features to ensure consistent and predictable responses. These features include page fragment caching, Edge Side Includes (ESI) and Edge Side Includes for Java (JESI) support, compression, dynamic content assembly, Web server load balancing, Web cache clustering, and failover. Systems Management

Oracle Application Server provides a set of management facilities to simplify all aspects of Web site and application server administration. Using the management capabilities of Oracle Application Server, you can:

  • Configure and monitor Oracle Application Server instances to optimize them for performance and scalability from a centralized console

  • Monitor and manage your entire suite with Oracle Enterprise Manager

  • View real-time, graphical information about your application server processes with Topology Viewer

  • Have your HTTP port management automated

  • Create and manage application server clusters

  • Deploy and configure applications

  • Start and stop the application server and its components

  • Respond to problem conditions from a centralized console

  • Use encrypted secure sockets layer (SSL) connections, user and client certificate-based authentication, and single sign-on across all applications

  • Implement Oracle Internet Directory, an LDAP-compliant directory that provides a single repository and administration environment for user accounts Identity Management

The Oracle Application Server identity management infrastructure allows you to manage user identity throughout the application security life cycle. Oracle Application Server provides components for handling authentication, security services, authorization, and user provisioning to ensure the security of your Internet applications.

1.3.2 Oracle Application Server Components

Table 1-1 presents the Oracle Application Server components that are associated with these solutions.

Table 1-1 Oracle Application Server Components

Solution Oracle Application Server Components

J2EE and Internet Applications

Oracle HTTP Server

Oracle Application Server Containers for J2EE

Oracle Application Server TopLink

Oracle Application Development Framework

Oracle Application Server Web Services

Oracle JDeveloper

Oracle XML Developer's Kit

Oracle PL/SQL

Oracle Content Management SDK

Oracle Application Server MapViewer


Oracle Application Server Portal

Oracle Application Server Portal Developer Kit

Oracle Ultra Search


Oracle Application Server Wireless

Oracle Application Server Wireless Developer Kit

Oracle Sensor Edge Server

Business Intelligence

Oracle Business Intelligence Discoverer

Oracle Application Server Forms Services

Oracle Application Server Reports Services

Oracle Application Server Personalization

E-Business Integration

Oracle Application Server Integration InterConnect

Oracle Application Server Integration B2B

Oracle Application Server Integration Adapters

Oracle BPEL Process Manager

Oracle BPEL Process Analytics


Oracle Application Server Web Cache

System Management

Oracle Enterprise Manager 10g

Identity Management and Security

Oracle Application Server Single Sign-On

Oracle Application Server Certificate Authority

Java Authentication and Authorization Service

Oracle Internet Directory

Oracle Security Developer Tools

High Availability

Oracle Application Server Guard

Oracle Application Server Backup and Recovery Tool

Oracle Application Server Disaster Recovery Tool

Installation and Upgrade

Oracle Application Server Metadata Repository Creation Assistant

Oracle Application Server Upgrade Assistant

Oracle Application Server Metadata Repository Upgrade Assistant