RealTime IT News

Microsoft Wants Oracle Databases in the .Net Fold

Hoping to weave its evolving Web services platform with Oracle's traditional database strength, Microsoft Tuesday announced a database integration technology that allows developers to integrate .Net applications with Oracle databases.

The .Net Framework Data Provider for Oracle lets users of Microsoft's ADO.Net technology to access backend Oracle databases, as well as retrieve data from multiple sources, in a programming model Microsoft touts is similar to its SQL Server Managed Provider.

"Our customers have all kinds of data stored in Oracle back-ends, and they need a way to access this data in the .Net world," Tom Button, a vice president in Microsoft's platforms division, said in a statement.

In the face of withering competition from IBM, Oracle was dethroned as the undisputed king of the $8.8 billion overall database market in 2001, when Big Blue's market share topped Oracle's for the first time. Still, in the market relational database management systems, Oracle retained a strong lead, capturing a hair less than 40 percent of the $2.8 billion market, according to research released by Gartner Dataquest in May.

According to Microsoft, the .Net Framework Data Provider can replace a non-managed OLE DB provider, giving developers more robust scalability and performance gains of up to 200 percent. Since it uses a similar programming model as the SQL Server Managed Provider, Microsoft said the learning curve for developers would not be steep, allowing them to use their Oracle skills to build applications on other databases. The technology is available on the Microsoft Developer Network.

In other Microsoft Web services news, Lionbridge Technologies, a Waltham, Mass., content-management company, allied with Microsoft's .Net Enterprise Server division. Lionbridge will develop technology and services for Microsoft's content-management server, allowing customers with global sites to "localize" parts of their content-management system.

Earlier this month, Microsoft unveiled its Content Management Server 2002, which it hopes will steal some market share in the cutthroat content management space from longtime incumbents like Interwoven and Vignette. IDC has forecast the document and content management business will grow at a 44 percent clip over the next few years, reaching $24.4 billion in 2006.

Microsoft and Lionbridge have developed a number of joint projects, including a deal last month for Lionbridge to translate some Microsoft Great Plains business applications into foreign languages.