Depending on which industry analyst or database executive eWeek Labs asks, we hear estimates that between 70 percent and 95 percent of the worlds data is stored only in unstructured formats such as word processing documents, HTML files and e-mail. This information is found outside of the cozy, well-managed confines of a database server and is hard to access, search and use—as well as to locate in the first place.
Database companies are keen on driving this number down, but Oracle Corp.s IFS (Internet File System), the key enhancement to its Oracle8i Release 3 database, has more of a chance than anything weve seen in years to turn rhetoric into reality.
IFS 1.1 has two HTTP protocols, its own built-in HTTP file browser interface for browser users, and WebDAV (Distributed Authoring and Versioning) for WebDAV-enabled applications. For example, we were able to save and load Microsoft Corp. Word 2000 files using WebDAV into IFS.
For file sharing, IFS supports Windows native file-sharing protocol SMB and FTP.
On the mail side, IFS contains a SMTP server and an Internet Messaging Access Protocol server.
This grand unification strategy really pays off: Every one of these protocols manipulates data in the same storage pool and uses the same authentication scheme and access control lists.
In addition, all data is searched using the same interface and consistent metadata such as the author of the information and the date the information was last modified. We were able to upload files using SMB, download them using HTTP, and search for content in both e-mail and documents in the same search.