Oracle Touts Windows-Less Server Strategy

LAS VEGAS -- Oracle Corp. has nailed down the concept of the "server appliance." Now all it has to do is finalize partnerships with hardware vendors, develop the underlying microkernel technology and deliver the goods.

At Comdex here this week, the database developer is talking up its new server appliance strategy, key to which is the contention that many customers don't need a bloated operating system -- i.e., Windows NT -- to run business applications. Oracle CEO Larry Ellison will tout the strategy during his keynote speech tonight.

The company is talking with several vendors, including Compaq Computer Corp., Dell Computer Corp., Hewlett-Packard Co., Novell Inc. and Sun Microsystems Inc., about developing server appliances that run a microkernel -- a piece of code much smaller than full-blown NT or Unix operating systems -- and the Oracle8i database.

Oracle maintains that for running basic business applications such as ERP or human resources software, customers don't need transaction processing, message queuing and many of the other features that Microsoft is building into its operating system.

"The operating system's primary function is to manage hardware -- that's what it should be left to do," said Jeremy Burton, vice president of Internet platform markets for the Redwood Shores, Calif., developer. "You don't need 32 million lines of code on every user's desk."

The goal is to determine "what services the database needs to run, take everything else out [of the operating system] and package it in a one-button install," said Burton. Oracle and its partners would tailor existing operating systems -- potentially NetWare, Linux or another Unix derivative -- to run as a microkernel.

Oracle has yet to finalize partnerships with any vendors, so its goal to release server appliance products early next year may seem aggressive. But Burton maintains executing on the strategy should not be difficult.

"Our relationships are already far down the road," he said. "With the network computer, we had a long lead time. But this is significantly different."

Oracle can be reached at

Source: Pc Week Online


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