When we first started this blog more than 2 years ago, we debated about whether to name it “Fusion Security” or more specifically “Fusion Middleware Security”. We all work in the Fusion Middleware team on Fusion Middleware but even back then we saw Fusion Applications coming down the pipe and after all Fusion Apps is a set of big business applications whose principal distinction (in my opinion) is that it is the first set of business applications to be built on a truly modern middleware platform.
The much anticipated Fusion Applications was recently released. For those of you unfamiliar with Fusion Apps, it is composed of several families of applications (CRM, Financials, HR, Supply Chain, Procurement etc) that comprise the next generation version of Oracles Apps portfolio (PeopleSoft, E-Business Suite, Siebel etc.) and as I said it is built on top of most of the Fusion Middleware products that currently exist today.
Welcome Apps Community
I will start off by welcoming those in the Oracle Apps community to the Fusion Middleware community and specifically the FMW security community. The middleware products may seem complicated, even overwhelming at first, but they are good powerful products that you can build your business upon.
What does this mean for those of us in the Fusion Middleware Security community? Why should we care?
For one Fusion Apps has been driving much of the direction of Fusion Middelware for some time and now is your opportunity to see what it is all about and how the Middleware you know and love is used. In this post I’ll provide an overview of this usage and follow up with much more detail in the coming months.
Secondly, I think our community is about to get much larger. Every Fusion Apps customer will become a Fusion Middleware Security Customer. So, I’ll also take the opportunity now to say welcome to all the new Fusion Apps architects, developers, and administrators out there that may happen across this post.
Thirdly, Fusion Applications is a very large and complex set of applications. Oracle has created an Enterprise Deployment Guide specifically discussing how the Identity Management products that Fusion Apps utilizes should be deployed. It is worth reading this just to get an idea for what Oracle considers as reference architecture for an IAM environment that supports large business applications. You can find the Enterprise Deployment Guide for Oracle Identity Management (Fusion Apps Edition) here.
I myself have been very involved in the initial rollout of Fusion Applications and will continue to be very much involved along with other members of this blog in helping to advise customers on the security technology involved in Fusion Apps deployments.
With all that being said, while I do think the release of Fusion Applications is exciting and important to those of us in the Fusion Middelware Security community, I have heard some messaging around Fusion Applications and its impact on Fusion Middleware that I think oversells the importance of Fusion Apps and is ultimately incorrect.
I’ve heard it said many times that customers should closely align their use of our Fusion Middleware products to how they are used in Fusion Applications. While I agree that customers should be mindful of how FMW is used in Fusion Apps, I simply don’t agree with that statement.
Fusion Applications is a set of specific applications, namely business applications, which use our Fusion Middleware Security stack in a specific set of ways. They do not make use of every feature or even every product in our FMW Security stack. Our Fusion Middleware customers use our middleware products in a wide variety of ways, to create and support a wide variety of applications, with a wide array of business requirements, in a large variety of environments. Some of the differences between what our customers are trying to achieve with Fusion Middleware vs. what we achieved with Fusion Middlware in Fusion Apps means that customers can and should take different approaches from what was taken with Fusion Applications.
Now that my rant is out of the way, I’ll proceed to talk about how Fusion Middleware Security is used in Fusion Applications on a product by product basis. Again, for a more detailed discussion at this time see the Enterprise Deployment Guide for IDM (FA Edition).