Oracle launches web-based app platform for e-business

Oracle has launched a suite of internet-based applications to take the headache out of integrating "incompatible" business applications in IT infrastructure, a press conference heard last week.

The new applications, Oracle 8i Cache, Oracle iAS Application Server and Internet Developer Suite, offer a whole "IT picture" to centralise an e-business's complex business data, announced Jerry Burton, senior vice president at Oracle.

Burton said the product set embodied "completeness and simplicity".

"There are too many incompatible pieces in the database, portal and web server infrastructure," he said.

He added that 80 per cent of IT expenditure went towards maintaining business applications and infrastructure, while 20 per cent of budget was used on core business competencies. "Dot-coms are more concerned with selling their product than building their IT infrastructure," Burton said.

Oracle 8i Cache allows the user to hold database information in "middle-tier" memory, and would typically be used to create sales forecasts, according Burton. "It allows users to run applications faster than ever," he claimed.

Oracle iAS Application Server is used to run an organisation's portal software, and provides access to database and business intelligence applications concurrently. "Application Server has the business tools. It will force consolidation between app server and business intelligence software vendors," he predicted.

The third leg of the e-business set, Internet Developer Suite, is a consolidated product of all Oracle web development tools.

The new application platform can be used with Oracle Portal, a tool designed for rapid assembly portal sites from a web browser. "The crux of the e-business is the portal -- the e-business desktop," Burton said.

Burton chose not to keep the product launch Oracle-centric. He derided the Microsoft.NET project for its expected two-year wait before launch. "This is too long," Burton said, dubbing the campaign "Microsoft.NOT".

"The new economy is not waiting for application platform technology," Burton warned. "They're voting with their feet. If you don't have your software now, you're not in the game."

Oracle's iAS Application Server Standard version retails for $A5 per power unit. The Enterprise edition is $70 per power unit, and the Wireless version is $150 per power unit.

Internet Developer Suite costs $499 per power unit. Oracle has implemented an economical pricing structure to allow companies to "pay as they go".

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