Oracle Rounds Out, Simplifies Net Offerings

REDWOOD SHORES, CALIF. (06/28/2000) - Oracle Corp. on Wednesday launched a handful of new software products aimed at simplifying its product line-up and rounding out its offerings for companies building Web sites and Internet-based applications.

The products include Internet Application Server 8i, a redesign of Oracle's existing application server, which adds middleware features designed to improve the performance of Web sites and other applications built on Oracle's databases. Central to the Internet Application Server, dubbed iAS, is an integrated caching feature that stores and serves up frequently accessed data to users, Oracle officials said.

Oracle also launched its Internet Developer Suite, which pulls together a variety of existing Oracle tools into a single package, and adds new features that allow developers to take advantage of additional features in iAS, officials said. The company also announced Oracle 8i release 3, an upgrade to its flagship database product.

Taken together, the products simplify Oracle's offerings by eliminating virtually half of the products listed on its price list, the company said.

Those products will be included as standard features of the new products announced Wednesday, and as part of the company's existing enterprise applications suite, officials said.

"This is a significant simplification for customers in how they build and deploy Internet-based applications," said Gary Bloom, an Oracle executive vice president, in a press conference at the company's headquarters here.

The products also complete a five-year effort at Oracle to provide a complete set of applications and tools that allow businesses to standardize on Oracle products in their Internet software stack, officials said. The vendor was at pains to criticize the "best-of-breed" approach to software infrastructure development, in which companies assemble components from a variety of firms.

The main message Wednesday from the company was that Oracle can provide the complete Internet software stack, from the database through the applications and tools to the server to dish them all up.

Oracle was also quick to run down its rivals. The database maker named its Internet software platform Oracle.NOW -- a jab at Microsoft Corp.'s Web initiative launched last week -- Microsoft. NET. Elements of the Microsoft initiative won't be available for two years or more, while Oracle's products are available now, according to Oracle Chairman and Chief Executive Officer Larry Ellison.

"We don't think the marketplace can wait for technology for the Internet for two more years, we think they need the technology today," Ellison said. He dubbed Microsoft's initiative "Microsoft .NOT."

Oracle also announced that Compaq Computer Corp. will make Oracle's Internet software available as an option across its full range of servers, including its Intel Corp.-based ProLiant servers, its Alpha servers running Compaq's TruUnix 64 or Open VMS operating systems, and its high-end Himalaya servers.

Oracle Internet Application Server is available immediately in three versions.

A standard edition is priced at US$5 per power unit, while an enterprise edition is priced at $30 per power unit. A wireless edition, for building Web sites and applications that can be accessed by mobile phones and portable devices, is priced at $150 per power unit and $95 per named user, Oracle said.

The Oracle Internet Developer Suite bundles five existing development tools together, and is priced at $4,995. The five tools bought separately would previously have cost a total of $14,000, Oracle said.

Oracle, in Redwood Shores, California, can be reached at +1-650-506-7000 or via the Internet at http://www.oracle.com/.

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