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Oracle Tests Drives 10G

Oracle Monday unveiled two major upgrades to its databases and applications server, and unveiled new enterprise management software to back up their push for more automated systems.

The new products are being embraced by many in the industry, inclduing HP, Sun Microsystems, Veritas, Topspin and many others, all of whom are pledging their loyalty to Oracle's improved products.

Many of those firms have also introduced utility or on-demand product strategies and roadmaps, so it makes sense Oracle would produce infrastructure software that supports such services.

Leading the trio of new offerings is Oracle 10G Database, which picks up where 9i left off. However, according to Richard Sarwal, vice president for server manageability and performance, in addition to the usual speed bumps in availability, scalability and performance, the new database offers unprecedented degrees of manageability in three key areas.

These areas -- storage management, memory management and performance management -- are all facets Sarwal acknowledged Oracle has weathered the most criticism about in the past.

Analysts and users have complained that Oracle's database products were more difficult to use than competing products such IBM DB2 and Microsoft SQL. Not anymore, Sarwal told internetnews.com in a recent interview. 10G addresses these capabilities in real-time.

"One of the perceptions from the market is that although we have a highly scalable database, we lag a little in manageability," Sarwal said. "We aim to remove the perception that it costs a little more to run Oracle."

The key, he said, was to take the onus of maintaining the dense software from the database administrators (DBAs), giving them time and freedom to work on other projects. In previous iterations of Oracle, users had to specify various pools of memory for use, but Sarwal said Oracle will take that burden off of DBAs hands.

"They don't have to fiddle with knobs and dials," Sarwal said. Oracle 10G applies the same approach to storage management, where DBAs can give Oracle 10G a set of disks to be mirrored and sized for volume automatically and in real-time. 10G also performs input/output tuning.

In the performance management area, Oracle 10G has performance diagramming and SQL management tuning built directly into the server, where it collects and manages statistical information. For this, diagnostics are a huge factor, something Sarwal said DB2 and SQL do not offer in as detailed a manner. The automatic database diagnostic manager intuits problems as they arise, and automatically makes sure areas of discord are addressed.

What this does, Sarwal explained, is drill down into database control to sort through hundreds of thousands of lines of SQL statements to treat data skews and incorrect correlations to make sure data is presented properly. This comes in handy in packaged applications from PeopleSoft, SAP or Siebel, Sarwal said.

AS for test results, Sarwal said Oracle plans to release benchmark figures over the next few months that will prove that 10G is "twice as easy to manage in time and steps than 9i."

Oracle's additional offerings Monday include the 10G Application Server and new enterprise management software.

Like the revamped database, the 10G Application Server makes management of applications running in a grid computing environment much easier. The software boasts enhanced integration and Web services capabilities to help customers deal with changes in their business envrionment on the fly.

New workload management perks in the software are policy-based, which letsIT workersto shift computing resources as needed.

The new integration capabilities allow companies to use one product to address application-to-application, business-to-business and Web services integration. This means companies can draw from one single well of information in dashboard-like fashion.

Lastly, with a nod to the importance of Web services going forward, 10G application server provides a more straightforward approach to developing and managing both Web services and composite applications.

Lastly, Oracle Enterprise Manager 10g was introduced to manage Oracle grids. System administrators can enforce policies, manage service levels, and rebalance computing resources and applications as business requirements change. It comes preconfigured and ready to use.

Part of this suite, Oracle Grid Control helps customers monitor and manage grid infrastructures, from databases and applications to storage, within one console.

Oracle 10G products will roll out to the public by year's end.