Oracle Rehabs Warehouse

SAN MATEO (03/03/2000) - Taking what company officials are calling a "giant leap" in providing the speed and agility necessary for deploying data warehousing applications in the age of the Internet, Oracle Corp. this week will begin shipping its Oracle Warehouse Builder.

Sporting a wizard-based approach to warehouse development and tight integration with Oracle's back-end database technology and front-end analytic tools, notably Discoverer and Express, Warehouse Builder functions to simplify the design, population, and change management of a company's data warehousing project by integrating meta data and automatically generating code.

For users, said Jagdish Mirani, senior director at the Oracle data warehousing program office, the importance of Warehouse Builder lies in its capability of placing the burden of integrating data on Oracle and its products, rather than handling that themselves.

One stumbling block Oracle may run into, however, is the lack of an existing meta data standard. That currently limits the data integration aspect of Warehouse Builder to Oracle's analytic tools and 8i database.

In the future, Mirani said, Oracle will provide integration with a wider variety of analytic tools once a standard is established and business intelligence vendors are able to integrate support for that standard into their offerings.

In the meantime, said Jason Haugland, a senior consultant at Synergy Consulting Services in Minneapolis, the product should greatly expedite the process of generating business intelligence through data warehousing projects for those organizations already dependent on Oracle software.

Currently working on a data warehousing/business intelligence application for Honeywell, Haugland noted that once he became familiar with the Warehouse Builder tools, he was able to quickly and easily carry out such tasks as adding dimensions to the Honeywell data warehouse.

Haugland added that he was able to turn around some tasks in as little as one day's time.

The resulting application is flexible enough to change with the evolving needs of the company, Haugland added.

Haugland also noted that it is a relatively simple process to develop an end-user layer for third-party business intelligence tools, which could help overcome some of the Oracle-centric concerns the solution could meet in its initial state.

That will be important for Oracle, as it is counting on the new offering to be the linchpin for its Intelligent WebHouse initiative.

"This really takes a giant leap in the implementation of our overall strategy for data warehousing and business intelligence, which is to provide a complete, end-to-end solution and have that solution be integrated," Oracle's Mirani said.

Oracle Corp., in Redwood Shores, Calif., is at www.oracle.com.

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