REDWOOD SHORES, CALIFORNIA (11/20/2000) - Oracle Corp. this week will bolster its upcoming 9i database with the announcement that it will meld three once-separate server programs for data warehouse and business intelligence applications into a strategic data storehouse.
The change eliminates the need for users to deploy and maintain separate products and reduces the labor needed to make the applications work together. This extension of Oracle's flagship database is part of Oracle's plan to make 9i the linchpin of corporate e-commerce sites.
Relational database vendors usually offer separate server products for online analytical processing (OLAP), which can run complex "what-ifs" and similar queries against lots of data. Other products handle data mining, which uses algorithms to sift though data packed into huge data warehouses, searching for patterns or predicting trends. Similarly, building data warehouses, which collect data from inventory, billing and other production-relational databases, requires separate servers to move, convert and load the data. Until now, this was also Oracle's approach.
Oracle engineers have dismantled three acquired products, Express, Darwin and Pure Integrate and rebuilt their elements inside the database so they use the underlying Oracle 9i data manager. Oracle Express was the multidimensional database for OLAP queries, Darwin was the data mining server and Pure Integrate was used for data warehouse extraction, loading and transformation (ELT). In 9i, these become OLAP, data mining and ELT services. The database will run on many Unix and Windows NT/2000 servers, and IBM S/390 mainframes.
Some Oracle extensions to SQL, which is used to access relational data, lets existing SQL applications and tools easily access the new features, says Jagdish Mirani, an Oracle marketing executive.
Oracle says a new release, 3i, of Oracle Warehouse Builder (OWB) will be included with 9i. OWB is a tool set for setting up a data warehouse and, especially, for managing metadata.
Also new are a set of Enterprise Java Beans, dubbed Oracle BI Beans, that use a new Java API created for business intelligence queries. Pricing for BI Beans will be released next spring.
That's also the target date for the release of Oracle 9i, and the accompanying release of OWB. Final packaging and pricing have not yet been set.