Oracle adds data warehouse builder to 9i crop

Adding to its 9i lineup of products, Oracle Corp. on Wednesday announced an updated version of its Oracle Warehouse Builder (OWB) software.

OWB is a tool for connecting a variety of data sources and pulling that data into a 9i database. Data sources can include CRM (customer relationship management) and ERP (enterprise resource planning) applications, or databases from other vendors, such as IBM Corp.'s DB2 or Microsoft Corp. SQL Server. Once the data is in the 9i database, it can be organized and analyzed from there.

Warehouse Builder fits into Oracle's integrated back-end vision by working in conjunction with the database, OLAP (OnLine Analytic Processing) tools and front-end business intelligence tools to deliver better intelligence, faster, according to Bob Shimp, senior director of Oracle 9i database marketing, in Redwood Shores, Calif.

"Oracle Warehouse Builder is part of a much larger strategy by Oracle to provide a more complex, integrated warehousing solution," Shimp said.

Philip Russom, an independent analyst in Waltham, Mass., said that the advantages to Oracle's approach are that it is less expensive than combining a variety of point products, and that the integrated products work together efficiently.

"The average IT shop is using a handful of tools from different IT vendors," Russom added. "It's common to find a long list of point products in any company."

On the downside, Russom continued, Oracle's warehousing software is designed to build warehouses only in Oracle's database, whereas point products can load information into any database.

"It's a good choice for companies doing warehousing in just Oracle databases, and there are lots of Oracle-only shops out there" Russom said. "If it's a heterogeneous environment, it's just not going to work as well."

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