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Oracle Opens Content Management to The Masses

Oracle provided a glimpse Wednesday of the next iteration of its software for helping customers and partners corral the increase of Office documents, PDF files, spreadsheets and other unstructured files.

Oracle President Chuck Phillips and company executives introduced Oracle Content Database and Oracle Records Database at a Web cast event from Oracle headquarters.

Phillips said the enterprise content management market has evolved from 10-15 years ago when a lot of small vendors tried to solve the content management problem with proprietary point solutions that were often tricky to implement.

Fast-forward to the present: Customers want content management software based on open standards to help them meet the requirements of Sarbanes-Oxley, HIPAA and other compliance mandates at a time when their data glut is growing.

Businesses need reliable solutions in this space to help meet regulatory compliance mandates at a time when the wealth of unstructured data is growing, Phillips said.

Newer content management components also tend to retrieve data faster, bringing certain competitive advantages to the table in businesses driven by information.

"That's what we're basically bringing to market after several years of working on this," Phillips said. "This is what we believe to be the first end-to-end solution for capturing, classifying, retaining and returning content based on policies."

Phillips said Content Database and Records Database, which integrate with Microsoft Windows desktop and Web user interfaces for ease of use, provide a one-stop fix for managing diverse content and metadata in a one database.

Such software can be used to manage and protect and retrieve anything from the most trivial Word documents to the most sensitive confidential files.

Both pieces of software are based on open standards, allowing users to customize content management functionality across the entire organization.

Analysts said that because the products are based on Oracle Database 10g server, they mark a departure from the proprietary file formats other content management specialists' repositories are based on.

Forrester Research analyst Connie Moore said the fact that Oracle now has a content repository based on a widely deployed relational database instead of a content repository based on a proprietary file system is "actually quite big."

"Eventually content management companies like FileNet and Interwoven and EMC and Vignette, etc., will have to stop selling their own proprietary file systems and use a content repository from a RDBMS vendor," Moore said in an e-mail.

Moore said customers would eventually buy their content repositories directly from RDBMS vendors and choose any content management application they want to use.

"That means the content management vendors will be left with very little value add, which is why they are 1. trying to get better at business process management; 2. developing content-centric business apps; and 3. adding new capabilities like e-discovery for litigation," Moore added.

IDC analyst Melissa Webster agreed, adding: "Database options carry more weight with DBAs and the other Oracle database professionals inside large enterprises. Oracle will be much better positioned to compete for content management spend."

Oracle Content Database and Oracle Records Database will be available within two months.

Pricing will be announced at or before availability.

Oracle expects Content Database and Records Database to contest the ECM portfolios of IBM, EMC, Interwoven and others in a market IDC expects to top $10.2 billion in spending by 2010.

However, Oracle does partner with EMC. Oracle's content management partners also include HP, NetApp, Sun, Symantec.

In related Oracle news, the company Wednesday rolled out its Enterprise Single Sign-On Suite to provide authentication and single sign-on for mainframe, client/server and Web applications.

The software, the fruit of Oracle's Oblix acquisition and homegrown technologies, lets customers access various business applications across Oracle and non-Oracle networks with one password.

Oracle said in a statement this utility will help financial services, healthcare and telecommunications organizations enforce security policies and strong authentication to help meet compliance rules such as Homeland Security Presidential Directive 12, which focuses on the melding of physical and logical security.