Will the real Oracle Identity Management please stand up (part I)

by Deborah Volk on March 28th, 2009

I get asked this question all the time and the best answer to any question is documentation. Blogs are a modern form of documentation, ergo this post.

Question: What is Oracle Identity Management? I've heard that it requires Oracle Internet Directory and Oracle Application Server. Is it possible to deploy it as a stand-alone application or with <insert your favorite directory> and <insert your favorite app server>

Oracle Identity Management is a very context-sensitive term, just like help in Microsoft Office: if you right-click on the wrong thing, you'll end up spending 30 minutes searching all over Encyclopedia Britannica for directions on how to change the footer via that darn ribbon. To understand context, one must know what questions to ask and the questions don't materialize by themselves, there has to be some foundation from wherein they spring. I call this foundation a history lesson.

A long time ago, in a galaxy far, far away there was a company called Oracle. Larry Ellison aside, it did not resemble the present-day Oracle very much. The database and a few apps made up most of its product line, Oracle Financials had yet to morph into e-Business Suite and Oracle Universal Installer ran on JRE 1.1 which it also conveniently added to the front of your PATH. Fusion was something mad scientists had cooking in a jar in some collider, PeopleSoft was optimizing workforce somewhere out in Pleasanton with PeopleTools (hammer, sickle, ...) and there were these other databases too, like Informix and Sybase.
When Netscape rose to prominence in second half of the 90s and helped propel LDAP to new heights of popularity with Netscape Directory Server, Oracle had to have an implementation too. Whether it was a "me too" move or a preview of things to come in Fusion I don't know but happen it did and Oracle Internet Directory was born circa 1999. As J2EE gathered momentum in late 90s - early 00s with app servers leading the way as a key infrastructure component, Oracle entered the market by acquiring the codebase to Orion app server (pretty decent and lightweight J2EE implementation at the time) from a Swedish company IronFlare. The codebase served as a starting point for Oracle's development effort that culminated in a release of Oracle's app server, aka Oracle Containers for J2EE (OC4J). If you are a J2EE expert, you could probably make sense of this product name but most customers weren't so Oracle simplified this game of linguistic chicken for everyone by releasing Oracle Application Server.

Oracle Application Server (OAS) isn't a real product per se, it is a marketing name for a bundle that consists of Oracle HTTP Server (OHS, based on Apache codebase) and OC4J. When BEA and IBM grew the entire cottage industry around their app server product lines and capitalized on app server market domination by renaming everything to Weblogic Blah and Websphere Foo, Oracle's marketing was not far behind. Thus, a number of components became "attached" to OAS even though they were not directly related to the app server .


Posted in (Legacy) Oracle Identity Management, Oracle Internet Directory    Tagged with oas, ohs, oid, oc4j


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