Oracle Unveils Feature-Filled 9i Release

Oracle's latest release of its Oracle9i Application Server includes advanced clustering, caching and availability enhancements among some 250 new features in the upgrade.

SAN FRANCISCO—Oracle Corp. on Tuesday rolled out the latest release of its Oracle9i Application Server, which includes advanced clustering, caching and availability enhancements among some 250 new features in the upgrade.

Oracle9i Release 2 also includes support for the latest J2EE standard—Java 2 Enterprise Edition 1.3—enterprise-level Web services and integration, unified messaging, and new portal and wireless features, said Thomas Kurian, vice president of development for Oracle9i Application Server.

Release 2 was unveiled during Oracle OpenWorld here.

Oracle announced the first version of its 9i Application Server in June, which included J2EE (Java 2 Enterprise Edition) support. The company says it saw a 96 percent year-over-year revenue growth in its application server business. In the first quarter of 2002 alone, Oracle attracted more than 2,500 customers, bringing the total to more than 8,300, while 85 partners pledged support for Oracle9iAS, according to the company.

Oracle officials said they expect to take market share away from leaders IBM, with its WebSphere application server, and BEA Systems Inc.s WebLogic product as users learn of 9is capabilities.

Oracle9i Application Server Release 2 introduces advanced clustering and caching features that take advantage of low-cost hardware. New features include cluster caches, dynamic reconfiguration, hardware-independent J2EE cluster islands, rolling upgrades, hot deployment and the Fast Start Fault Recovery Architecture that supports transparent application failover across the application server and database tiers.

The product features security technology, including the Java 2 Security Standard, JAAS (Java Authentication and Authorization Service), and supports single sign-on and centralized user provisioning across all Oracle9iAS components, as well as third-party and custom applications.

In addition, Oracle officials said that by unifying the J2EE programming model with emerging Web services standards such as SOAP (Simple Object Access Protocol), WSDL (Web Services Description Language), and UDDI (Universal Description, Discovery and Integration), Oracle9iAS Release 2 makes it easy for companies to use Java to build and deploy Web services.

Release 2 also supports more complex Web services, delivered through standards such as RosettaNet and ebXML, Kurian said.

"The most important product messages are that we believe building Internet applications is becoming more and more complex and you can do it faster with Oracle than with other competitive products," Kurian said.

He said Oracle offers "ease of development, reliability of deployment and lower cost of ownership."

A free Developer Edition of Release 2 is available for immediate download from Oracle Technology Network. The Oracle application servers will be available in standard and enterprise editions in the first quarter of 2002 and are priced at $10,000 per processor and $20,000 per processor, respectively.

Oracle9iAS Personalization and Oracle9iAS Wireless are available as options to Oracle9i Application Server Enterprise Edition and are each priced at $10,000 per processor.

Sanjay Sarathy, director of product marketing for iPlanet application services, called Oracles announcement nothing more than the companys attempt to catch up to the market leaders in application services.

With its announcement of new features in Oracle9iAS Release 2, "Oracle is really, in the app server market, just gotten to a position where customers can look at them from an enterprise perspective," Sarathy said, noting the addition of clustering and caching. "These are things weve had for two years, and its nothing revolutionary in the application server market.

"I would say its playing catch-up," he added.

In addition to announcing a new version of its application server due next year, Oracle on Tuesday announced enhancements to its current version of Oracle9i Application Server, including new support from partners

Oracle9iAS now is fully interoperable with Macromedia Dreamweaver UltraDev 4. The combined solution enables teams of Web designers and Java developers to develop and deploy dynamic Java Server Page (JSP) applications using Macromedia Dreamweaver UltraDev 4 and popular integrated development environments (IDEs) such as Oracle9i JDeveloper, Borland Software Corp.s JBuilder and WebGain Inc.s VisualCafé on Oracle9iAS.

Meanwhile, Compuware Corp. announced extended support for the Oracle9i application server in two of its products, Compuware OptimalJ and Compuware DevPartner Java Edition.

Compuware OptimalJ helps speed up application development for J2EE applications by freeing developers from having to write repetitive code strings over and over, said Jim Rae, director of North American sales support for Compuwares client server products. The Compuware DevPartner Java Edition product helps developers build better Java applications by resolving runtime performance memory utilization problems.

170 Systems Inc., a content management, document management, imaging and workflow solutions company, announced enhanced integration with Oracle9iAS through four new business solutions: Internet Receivables, Internet Expenses, Human Resources and Property Asset Management.

And TogetherSoft Corp. announced that its Together Control Center, which enables organizations to migrate their J2EE applications from one application server to another, supports migration to Oracle9iAS.

Todd Olson, vice president of Together Products, said TogetherSoft can handle the underlying deployment details "so the developer can focus on the business logic of the application instead of the application server specifics."