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Oracle9i Application Server Concepts
Release 2 (9.0.2)

Part Number A95926-02
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Introduction to Oracle9i Application Server

This chapter provides an overview of Oracle9i Application Server. The topics include:

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 commonly experience problems and challenges associated with developing and deploying applications.

Development Challenges

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 Internet application developers. In addition, developing, testing, and deploying applications is very time consuming.

There are numerous challenges associated with application development. It is especially challenging to develop applications that incorporate Java2 Platform, Enterprise Edition (J2EE) requirements, Web services, enterprise integration, portals, wireless, and personalization (see Figure 1-1).

Figure 1-1 Application Development Challenges

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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. J2EE provides a solution to the industry problem.

Web Services

As e-business evolves, companies rely increasingly on their Web sites to conduct business. Accessing information efficiently, and presenting vital information and application interfaces in a unified manner through their Web sites, becomes crucial for most companies. Providing reliable and efficient Web services is important since Web services directly affect business efficiency.

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.


Portals allow 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 are essential infrastructure elements for e-business.


An increasing number of people conduct business out of the office. Wireless allows users to rapidly access any existing application 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.


As companies become e-businesses, the amount of data that tracks the fundamentals and operations of the business increases. Web users provide valuable information about themselves and their interests. When this information is extracted effectively, you can deliver tailored customer experiences and drive business decisions.

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, summarized in Figure 1-2, include performance, caching, availability, scalability, user and security management, and systems management.

Figure 1-2 Application Deployment Challenges

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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.


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 challenging to cache the dynamic, personalized content that the e-business model requires.


Availability of an overall system is measured by the percentage of time that it works normally. A successful e-business requires a 100% 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.


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 scales when you increase your hardware resources.

User and Security 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.

Systems Management

Administrators of application servers require sophisticated tools to monitor and manage the systems infrastructure, and the privileges and access rights of individual users. Maintaining a simplified process in managing your Web site allows you to manage the site infrastructure and monitor the performance from one integrated console.

Building an E-Business Solution with Oracle9i

Oracle9i Application Server (Oracle9iAS) is a part of the Oracle9i platform, a complete and integrated e-business platform. Oracle9i 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. Oracle9i provides integrated development, deployment, and management tools, as well as a runtime platform. The Oracle9i platform simplifies the process for creating and deploying the applications that run your business on the Internet.

See Also:

The product pages on the Oracle Technology Network for more information about Oracle9i Database Server and Oracle9i Developer Suite at

Overview of Oracle9i Application Server

Oracle9iAS 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.

Oracle9iAS provides full support for the J2EE platform, XML, and emerging Web services standards. With Oracle9iAS 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 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 Web site traffic patterns using Oracle9iAS integrated business intelligence services.

You can also implement a centralized management, security, and directory framework to manage and monitor all of your distributed systems and diverse user communities. Oracle9iAS 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.

Oracle9iAS Solutions

Figure 1-3 illustrates solutions that Oracle9iAS provides, which include J2EE and Internet applications, portals, wireless, caching, business intelligence, e-business integration, and management and security.

Figure 1-3 Oracle9i Application Server Solutions

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J2EE and Internet Applications

Oracle9iAS 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. Oracle9iAS also provides comprehensive Web services to expose business functions to authorized parties over the Internet from any Web device.


Oracle9iAS provides an out-of-the-box portal that does not require endless programming and maintenance. You can use Oracle9iAS to build, deploy, and maintain self-service and integrated enterprise portals. Oracle9iAS allows for self-service content management and publishing, wizard-based development, and deploying, publishing, and consuming Web services on an extensible framework.


Oracle9iAS 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, Oracle9iAS Wireless includes wireless services, such as e-mail and location-based services, that simplify wireless-enabling applications and portals. Oracle9iAS provides application developers independence from the underlying wireless infrastructure. Oracle9iAS Wireless is built on the core Oracle9iAS infrastructure, leveraging open standards support in XML and J2EE to deliver a high-performance and scalable wireless infrastructure.


Oracle9iAS provides a Web caching solution with the unique capability of caching both static and dynamically generated Web content. The Oracle9iAS 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, dynamic content assembly, Web server load balancing, Web cache clustering, and failover.

Business Intelligence

Oracle9iAS provides comprehensive personalization and business intelligence services through Web analytic applications. Using Oracle9iAS business intelligence features, you can generate reports on Web site activity by analyzing clickstream data; 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

Oracle9iAS has a powerful set of features that provide communications and integration capabilities for e-business applications. Using Oracle9iAS, you can integrate enterprise applications, trading partners, and Web services, emphasizing scalability and manageability; provide seamless query and transaction access to many non-Oracle data sources; provide integrated e-mail, voice, and fax messaging for access through multiple client devices; and support multiple media types in a centrally managed file system that resides on a database.

Management and Security

Oracle9iAS provides a set of management facilities that are based on industry standards to simplify all aspects of Web site administration. Using Oracle9iAS, you can:

Oracle9iAS Components

Table 1-1 presents the Oracle9iAS components that are associated with these solutions.

Table 1-1 Oracle9i Application Server Components  
Solution Oracle9iAS Components

J2EE and Internet Applications

Oracle HTTP Server

Oracle9iAS Containers for J2EE

Oracle9iAS Web Services

Oracle PL/SQL

Oracle9iAS Forms Services

Oracle XML Developer Kit

Oracle9i Client


Oracle9iAS Portal

Oracle9iAS Portal Developer Kit


Oracle9iAS Wireless


Oracle9iAS Web Cache

Business Intelligence

Oracle9iAS Reports Services

Oracle9iAS Discoverer

Oracle9iAS Personalization

Oracle9iAS Clickstream Intelligence

E-Business Integration

Oracle9iAS InterConnect

Oracle9iAS Unified Messaging

Oracle Internet File System

Management and Security

Oracle Enterprise Manager

Oracle9iAS Single Sign-On

Oracle Internet Directory

Oracle9iAS Infrastructure

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