Oracle9i promises better integration

After the 8i, Oracle is back with more features in the recently-launched 9i, promising "better integration, increased productivity and reduced costs".

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By  Vijaya George Published  September 18, 2001

Oracle’s highlight at this GITEX will be the 9i application server (AS) and database, which is being touted by the IT giant as the “complete, integrated” e-business solution, which will negate the complexities that ordinarily arise from integrating various software applications.

“80% of IT budgets are spent on infrastructure,” says Mohammed Alojaimi, Product Manager, Oracle9i server technology. “People spend a lot of money trying to integrate all their components. IBM today – their revenue comes from services. For every dollar that customers spent on their software, they spent $40 trying to integrate them.”

Oracle promises a solution that gives “better integration, increased productivity and reduced costs.” Customers have two choices when planning their computing needs. They could buy their components from different vendors and integrate them on their own, or they could buy a totally integrated product straight out of the box. Oracle recommends the latter and 9i is the proffered solution.

With the kind of features that 9i offers, Oracle seems to have introduced a premium product into the market. How successful it will be, however, is still to be seen. Its real application cluster (RAC) capabilities will allow businesses to run a single database on a group of servers clustered together, theoretically reducing costs and improving reliability and scalability.

The Oracle9i application server (AS) features full J2EE support, built-in enterprise portal software, high-speed caching, content management, business intelligence, rapid application development, and application and business integration. Like the database, it also claims to save on infrastructure costs by using the lightweight J2EE engine to extend caching capabilities which, in turn, allows companies to scale with software rather than hardware.

Oracle promises to increase employee productivity by introducing the “Internet Desktop”, which will provide one window from which every employee can access any application or data. “Giving a unified access base means having an integrated product,” says Alojaimi. To that effect, the 9i will create a central repository for the client.

Additionally, in an environment, where “one minute of system downtime can cost an organisaton anything between $2,500 and $10,000” (quoting the Standish group, 2001), Oracle9i comes with a standby feature. Where sectors such as banking spend as many millions of dollars on standby operations as normal ones, Oracle’s new product creates a standby automatically, thereby, eliminating extra costs. Switching to the standby is said to be done by issuing a single command.

While Oracle admits that it has a long way to go before the 9i features can be fine tuned to perfection, what is currently being offered still stands as a formidable competitor to IBM’s DB2 offering.

In the Middle East region, some companies have already begun using Oracle 9i. Kuwait's Gulf Insurance Company has developed a full Java-based insurance system with an n-tier environment based on Oracle9i and is impressed so far. More of Oracle’s development and implementation partners will be at GITEX to highlight their own Oracle-based solutions.

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