OpenWorld: Oracle9i app server gets full treatment

Oracle Corp. laid to rest any questions about the level of support for Web services protocols with the launch of the next version of its 9i Application Server (Oracle9iAS) this week at its OracleWorld event here.

The upgrade will come complete with the alphabet soup of Web services support, including SOAP (Simple Object Access Protocol), WSDL (Web Services Description Language), and UDDI (Universal Description and Discovery).

The company will merge the J2EE programming model with Web services standards, said John McGee, senior director for Oracle9i product marketing, based in Redwood City, Calif.

Developers will be able to use 9i Jdeveloper advanced tools for Java, and with J2EE component tools can add WSDL support to their objects and programs, officials said.

"Oracle Web services will work with (Microsoft's) .Net Web services, but Oracle's customers will not have to decide what language to use or what tools. What companies will have to decide is where they want to run them. If they choose the Microsoft stack to deploy them on, you can only use Windows. But if you use J2EE, you can deploy it anywhere," McGee said. Oracle's Web services will work in major operating system environments such as versions of Unix and Linux as well as the .Net realm, he said.

In developing a comprehensive Web services stack, Oracle will offer enterprise-level companies the opportunity to create Web services for supply-chain automation, procurement applications, and for use on b-to-b exchanges, McGee said.

In addition, the 9i Application Server will dynamically and automatically optimize software for use in a clustered environment and will run on standard high-volume servers. The cluster software uses a so-called "fast start fault recovery" for non-stop application failover should one node go down.

Also new is a caching technology that stores the most frequently accessed pages in memory for faster delivery the next time that a page is requested. What is unique about the caching technology is that it can detect changes in the background, and when a second request is made the page is delivered to the user with the changes incorporated.

The 9i Application Server will also support voice applications developed on any voice platform and will allow developers to include user-defined voice alerts over the phone.

Other communications enhancements include APIs that will allow J2EE applications to generate messages to any communication-enabled device over most protocols including Short Messaging Service, e-mail, fax, or automated voice call.

Oracle will also offer a J2EE application so that corporate developers can enable both Microsoft Exchange and Lotus Notes applications with wireless or voice capabilities.

Other additions include support for improved security, support for 2.5G and 3G networks, location-based services, and a mobile-commerce application that will integrate with secure mobile-commerce payment systems.

Oracle9iAS, Release 2, standard edition and Oracle9iAS, enterprise edition will be available in the first quarter of 2002. Pricing starts at US$10,000 per processor for the standard version and $20,000 per processor for the enterprise version, officials said. Oracle9iAS Personalization and Oracle9iAS Wireless are available as options to the enterprise edition and are each priced at $10,000 per processor.

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