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Oracle buys ClearApp for SOA management

One analyst wonders how many more acquisitions it will take for Oracle to develop a coherent SOA management story

Oracle plans to buy ClearApp, maker of software for managing the performance of composite applications in SOA (service-oriented architecture) environments, the company announced Tuesday.

The deal is expected to close later this year. Terms were not disclosed.

SOA sees applications pulled together from multiple, sometimes shared components, theoretically giving IT departments flexibility and the opportunity for reuse.

But SOA environments also introduce a level of complexity that can make it hard to nail down the source of performance problems or pinpoint the effect of changes made to a given component, Oracle said.

ClearApp’s software automatically discovers application components and their dependencies at runtime and monitors performance, according to Oracle. It will work alongside Oracle’s Enterprise Manager platform.

ClearApp, based in Mountain View, California, also supports competing platforms such as IBM’s WebSphere.

An Oracle FAQ on the pending sale did not specify how those relationships would continue, except to say that existing features in ClearApp’s software would be supported.

ClearApp’s technology provides “deep visibility into the components underlying SOA-based composite applications,” but the acquisition also raises questions, as it follows related purchases of companies like Auptyma and Moniforce, said ZapThink analyst Jason Bloomberg in an e-mail Tuesday.

“Just how many management vendors does Oracle need to acquire before they have a coherent SOA management story that’s not just more of their Frankenstein strategy? (That is, put together a lot of parts and hope for lightning),” Bloomberg wrote.

“Oracle does have quite a bit of experience in assimilating acquired technologies, and they’re also known for taking care of the customers that come along as a result, but every such acquisition sets the bar of success higher for them,” he added.