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Oracle Answers IBM With New Search Software

Oracle today unveiled Secure Enterprise Search 10g, a new standalone product designed to help enterprise customers find specific information without compromising corporate security.

The software, which costs $30,000 per server CPU, lets users search databases, applications, files, content repositories, HTTP servers, e-mails and portals.

The product's browser-based user interfaces allow users to do traditional keyword searches that provide results in a format similar to conventional Web searches. This helps minimize training and support costs associated with learning a special enterprise search system.

The caveat is that users can't just look at any information; they can only look at information they are authorized to see. The idea is to protect important assets at a time when compliance rules call for constrained data access in corporations.

Secure Enterprise Search 10g permits such protected search with sophisticated algorithms and a high level of security, said Sandeepan Banerjee, director of product management for objects and extensibility at Oracle.

To do this, Banerjee said that when the search tool accesses private or shared content, it gathers access control information. The product keeps this information along with the search index and tucks them away in an Oracle database.

"We have done a lot of work to use the privileged context to improve the relevance of search results," Banerjee said. "Typically, users want an excellent experience where they can see all the information that they've found doing Internet searches, but with Web security and the specific business context."

The executive said the product, created from technology Oracle has been slow roasting over the last 15 years, demonstrates the company's strength in information management.

Secure Enterprise Search 10g also already has a customer, University of Tokyo, which is using the software to create its portal site.

Oracle CEO Larry Ellison is expected to discuss this relationship at Oracle OpenWorld Tokyo today.

Oracle will need products like the new Secure Enterprise Search 10g, Database 10g and then some to combat IBM in the information management arena.

Some analysts believe that IBM leads the space, thanks to the glut of acquisitions it's made over the last few years.

Two weeks ago, IBM showed the fruits of its enterprise search efforts, with the Content Discovery Server.

This piece of high-powered search software employs technology from the vendor's 2005 purchase of iPhrase to help workers in commerce, contact centers, self service and case resolution find the right information.

As a prelude to that announcement, IBM also unveiled a new, $1 billion investment in information management for the next three years.