RealTime IT News

Oracle Airs New Product Strategy For 9i Server

Vying to better its position in the growing Web application server market, Oracle Corp., will today announce its new product strategy for its Oracle 9i Application Server (Oracle9iAS) and will also address its long-range plans for the Web Services market.

The announcement comes a week after both Microsoft Corp. and Sun Microsystems discussed their visions for the market, which has fast become the latest hotbed of competition among the software giants.

The emergence of this fledgling market resulted from the birth of Web applications, and evolved when providers began to architect applications on top of a Web applications server platform. These applications were historically built on top of an operating systems platform, and later on top of the database management system.

Dominating this market today is BEA Systems Inc., a six year-old San Jose, Calif.-based firm which is projected to have a 40-percent market share with its WebLogic platform. IBM, the firm's biggest competitor runs a close second with its WebSphere platform, which could account for 30 percent of the market.

However, no one is certain which firm will lead the market over the next year. Giga Research says IBM's share will double to 34 percent this year compared with 36 percent for BEA, and Gartner Dataquest puts IBM's share at 31 percent, trailing BEA at 41 percent.

BEA has disputed IBM's figures as overstated. But numbers aside, the battle between the two firms has awakened competitors including Oracle, Sun and Microsoft, which have all been making their own plays in the Web application server space.

Oracle, which launched its 9iAS Web application server last year, has a reported 11 percent share in the market, according to a META Group survey. Oracle claims 9iAS accounts for five percent of license revenues but the number of users of 9iAS is not yet known.

Investment research firm Goldman Sachs argues that Oracle will become a more serious competitor in this space, which could add to its revenue sources. The firm believes the Web application server market is fast growing and could be as large as the database market has become over time.

However, while Oracle seeks new business for its platform, only last week, Oracle9iAS came under attack when reports from CERT Coordination Center Software Engineering Institute Carnegie Mellon University (CERT/CC) exposed a remotely exploitable buffer overflow in the Oracle9iAS Web Cache, which allows intruders to execute arbitrary code or disrupt the normal operation of Web Cache.

An Oracle spokesperson said the firm has since released a patch for the vulnerability and does not know of anyone adversely affected by its existence.

While the bug may be a small hitch for Oracle, Goldman Sachs believes the firm's progress in the market is strategically important, and predicts that competition among the major players will only intensify.