Oracle: Were Still Focused on Database Development

By Lisa Vaas  |  Posted 2003-07-28

Despite the distraction of its high-profile bid for PeopleSoft Inc., which would bolster Oracle Corp.s enterprise applications business, Oracle officials said the company will continue to enhance its flagship database.

"We dont think [the PeopleSoft takeover will impact] the database business in any negative way," said Oracle Executive Vice President Chuck Phillips. "Nobodys been taken off the database development team."

The Oracle E-Business Suite of ERP (enterprise resource planning) applications is uniquely tied to the Oracle database because that is the only database on which the software runs. ERP competitors PeopleSoft and SAP AG support databases from IBM and Microsoft Corp., in addition to Oracle.

Some Oracle database users and experts fear they could be affected indirectly by a dilution of Oracles focus on database technology research and development if the Redwood Shores, Calif., company acquires PeopleSoft, of Pleasanton, Calif.

"Theres no question in my mind that this will be a huge distraction for Oracle," said Paul Tinnirello, executive vice president and CIO at an insurance-industry company in Oldwick, N.J., which he asked to remain unnamed. "As an Oracle customer ... Im concerned that this investment will detract from the resources to keep the database working and to pursue the R&D dollars for databases to have the capability they need going forward."

Oracle database users want new features that would help ERP and other applications. The future database needs of Tinnirellos organization, for example, include more capabilities for mobile environments, such as more powerful and more compact databases that have the same functionality as current Oracle databases but dont require as much overhead.

The rise of the application server as a middle tier in the enterprise IT stack has made a greater number of concurrent database sessions possible, but that has put pressure on database scalability and security. According to Carl Olofson, an analyst at International Data Corp., in Framingham, Mass., this pressure could be lessened were Oracle to rid the equation of a moving part—PeopleSofts application server.

"Before, it was PeopleSoft as a separate company," Olofson said. "As the PeopleSoft application evolves, it may make different demands on the database that Oracle has to respond to. If its no longer a separate entity, they control both sides of that dialogue and can manage it more easily."

Amen, said Oracles Phillips. "The two are highly dependent on one another," he said. "You can optimize the stack with more components under your control. Theyre logically related."

Others think nothing can distract Oracle from database development. "I dont see how [the PeopleSoft takeover] could be that much of a distraction," said Kelly Cox, an Oracle database administrator who runs a consultancy in Alexandria, Va.

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