Oracle World opens with savings through compression

Oracle kicked off its European Oracle World event on Monday by detailing a new cost saving feature in Release 2 of its 9i database software and announcing a one-stop-shop deal with Sun Microsystems Inc.

The Redwood Shores, California, software maker also introduced two new services for partners in the Europe, Middle East and Africa (EMEA) region and said that many implementation partners and software makers now support the online analytical processing (OLAP) functionality in 9i Release 2.

Data warehousing is one of the main topics at Oracle World Copenhagen, and Oracle is for the first time talking about a compression feature that can cut up to 25 percent of a data warehouse cost, said Robert Shimp, a vice president of database marketing for Oracle.

Oracle claims 9i Release 2 is unique in that it allows customers to compress database tables, the part of the database that holds the actual data. Compressing the tables reduces the size of the database, which results in savings for customers as a smaller database requires less hardware and maintenance, said Shimp.

Previous versions of Oracle's database software only allowed customers to shrink the size of the database indexes, a feature also common to competing database products. However, the competition is "years behind" on table shrinking, said Shimp. Release 2 of Oracle 9i Database was announced earlier this month. Early adopters of the compression technique have been able to reduce a terabyte of raw data in half, cutting the cost of storage by 50 percent and the total cost of their data warehousing system by 25 percent, said Shimp.

Only historical data in the database, which according to Oracle is typically about 70 percent of data in a data warehouse, is compressed. Recent data is left uncompressed and fully available, Shimp said. Companies that use the new technology include France Télécom SA, Oracle said.

In another announcement at Oracle World, Oracle said it is now possible to get Oracle software preinstalled on systems from Sun Microsystems of Palo Alto, California. Customers can "get their customized Oracle and Sun infrastructure up and running in less than a day," Oracle said in a statement.

The offering, under Sun's Customer Ready Systems program, is valid for Oracle 9i Database, Oracle 9i Application Server and the Oracle E-Business Suite, Oracle said.

Talking about its partner network, Oracle announced that many implementation partners and independent software vendors (ISVs) will be offering products that use OLAP, a feature new to Release 2 of 9i that facilitates analytical usage of data.

Also, Oracle launched the Oracle Partner Source Network and the Oracle EMEA Migration Factory.

Oracle Partner Source Network is set up as a single point of contact for all 6,200 Oracle PartnerNetwork members in their dealings with Oracle. Based in Dublin and available by phone, Web or e-mail, the Oracle Partner Source Network can handle enquires in 12 European languages.

The Oracle EMEA Migration Factory is a service for software makers to make their products work with Oracle's 9i Database and 9i Application Server. The migration can be conducted by Oracle in India or an Oracle partner on a fixed price basis. This service is available today in Germany, Finland, France, Denmark and Sweden and will be available across the EMEA region by the end of August, Oracle said.

Other topics Oracle will cover the coming days in Copenhagen include Real Application Clusters, Web services and developer tools. Larry Ellison, Oracle's chairman and chief executive, will promote Unbreakable Linux, a partnership between Oracle, Red Hat Inc., and Dell Computer Corp.

Oracle World in Copenhagen runs through Thursday.

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