Geekspeak: January 7, 2002

By John Taschek  |  Posted 2002-01-07 Print this article Print

Oracle banking on cache with 9i application server.

Oracle is banking that release 2 of its 9i application server will erode the market share of its competitors.

Oracle previously touted support of standards and performance as 9iAS main advantage over competitive offerings from BEA and IBM. Now, Oracle is focusing on caching. There are two new features in Release 2: clustering of the cache using low-cost hardware and support for dynamic caching, by far the most interesting feature.

In traditional Web site architectures (which Oracle calls legacy), the cache was placed at the Web server, at the proxy server or somewhere in a content delivery network. By their nature, these were usually static caches, which was useful because most Web content was, in fact, static.

New architectures require the ability to cache generated and personalized data. To do this, Oracles Web Cache enables administrators to embed users session IDs in every URL and cache them, a function that is exclusive to 9iAS, Oracle officials said.

In addition, Oracle continually parses baseline static versions of the page, caching them normally while picking out the personalized strings. If a personalized string can be cached, it will be. If not, the rest of the page will be cached in any case.

Most of these advanced caching features are part of a technology called Edge Side Includes (see Oracle is a major endorser of the technology. Other vendors endorsing it include BEA and IBM, indicating that theyll support it soon but probably at an additional cost, since both companies typically sell their wares a la carte.

As the director of eWEEK Labs, John manages a staff that tests and analyzes a wide range of corporate technology products. He has been instrumental in expanding eWEEK Labs' analyses into actual user environments, and has continually engineered the Labs for accurate portrayal of true enterprise infrastructures. John also writes eWEEK's 'Wide Angle' column, which challenges readers interested in enterprise products and strategies to reconsider old assumptions and think about existing IT problems in new ways. Prior to his tenure at eWEEK, which started in 1994, Taschek headed up the performance testing lab at PC/Computing magazine (now called Smart Business). Taschek got his start in IT in Washington D.C., holding various technical positions at the National Alliance of Business and the Department of Housing and Urban Development. There, he and his colleagues assisted the government office with integrating the Windows desktop operating system with HUD's legacy mainframe and mid-range servers.

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