Acquisitions! Can’t live with ’em, can’t wait until they stop holding up progress. At least now we have new fodder for speculation.
What’s great about the Snoracle merger finalizing: already I’ve seen more blogs from more people in “the know” who are reaching out than I can recall ever seeing from the Identity team at Oracle. Nishant has always been the sole Oracle blogger in my acquaintance, but a few other voices are being heard – if you aren’t listening, you should be! I am really excited about the idea that this merger could herald a cultural shift at Oracle towards more transparency.
The dust has settled on the initial announcements, and the big surprise is that OIM (previously Thor) has been chosen as the strategic provisioning product. I can see all sorts of technical reasons why this might be the case – I imagine that the original Thor product had already been heavily retooled for integration into the fusion middleware suite. Any other strategic considerations (size of existing customer base, ease of expansion, etc) really don’t have as much weight as those of us on the outside had been assigning for a simple reason: the Waveset customer base is captive. There is no competitor right on the heels of either OIM or Waveset, no hungry beast to prey on dissatisfaction or fear around assimilation costs or adapter growth/expansion for Waveset. As such, Oracle can play it cool by supporting Waveset long enough to appease nervous customers, cherrypick the functionality that is missing from OIM, and eventually find a migration path once the dust has settled.
So then, we have the following communities: 1) Existing OIM customers, who are relieved I’m sure. 2) Existing Waveset customers, who are probably unimpressed, but who will hopefully be well supported and given a migration path. 3) New customers, who are in the worst position, having had their choices narrowed. Will prospective customers keep asking for “Oracle Waveset” (the re-rebranded name of Sun Identity Manager)? Or will memories fade fast? There is a hole now – will another product fortuitously step in, for example Forefront Identity Manager 2009 2010?
I also wonder what kind of pressure SaaS will put on applications that traditionally are provisioning hard cases. If you are an software vendor competing against SaaS services, and that SaaS service offers a provisioning API that allows for a 10-minute integration into an automated Enterprise infrastructure, wouldn’t you be worried? Will bricks & mortar software companies feel compelled to compete? I hope and pray that this will be the case – and frankly I can’t figure out why on earth any software vendor would prefer to have a provisioning tool bypass its core logic and reach into the backend database to twiddle bits.
The access front is interesting, if not surprising. Given that OpenSSO was opensourced, I don’t think anyone really felt it was likely to replace OAM, but in this case there is a migration path that sees customers stay with the pre-Oracle codebase and maintain the code themselves (I hear there are integrators out there already offering up a new neck to choke with respect to codebase management and support). Oracle has said that there are a few things that they will adopt from OpenSSO, but I imagine that the opensourcyness of OpenSSO might be a barrier there, most engineers I know are loathe to mix license types in a product.
No matter what happens, at least it’s now able to happen openly. As Green Day sings: “every new beginning comes from some other beginning’s end“. The world marches on, but I’ll always remember the long hours I spent in the Sparc 1 and Sparc 2 labs at university; on Sparc 5’s and 20’s at the beginning of my career; and the time spent on the ever-renamed directory that started at Netscape, went to iPlanet, then SunOne, then suffered from all sorts of horrible marketing mangling around “Java” and “Enterprise”. The pre-marketing-mangled Sun brands will always make me smile; they were representative of a bright shiny world that I felt awed to be a part of.