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Oracle Closes in on XQuery for 10g

SAN JOSE, Calif. -- Oracle's future upgrades to its grid software suite are now expected to include better collaboration with XML-based Query data, company execs said Wednesday.

Known as XQuery, the markup language is capable of labeling the information content of several data sources including structured and semi-structured documents, relational databases and object repositories.

The Redwood Shores, Calif.-based company is planning to release its first upgrade to its Oracle 10g Database software this June, but said native support for XQuery is almost a shoe-in for release number two. No release date has been set for the second release.

"Right now [XQuery's] still in the standards bodies but we expect it relatively soon," Andrew Mendelsohn, Oracle senior vice president of database server technologies, told internetnews.com. "This opens up a huge new market for us. About 15 to 20 percent of content is in a database. The rest is in file servers in binary formats."

Oracle has been faced with reinventing its offerings to make it not only relevant to its customers but also keeping up with the technology trends. For example, Mendelsohn said the key things in 10g that are quite novel to the platform include capturing the SQL transactions and third-party procedure calls and sending the information through the network to Oracle, which then puts them into a workload repository.

"For each unit of work that gets sent to the database, we know how many I/Os are done and we capture each one," Mendelsohn said. "This was a real problem for third-party tool vendors to solve."

Using XQuery is expected to give Oracle's 10g platform an edge over rival products like Microsoft SQL Server 2005 (code-named Yukon) and IBM's next-generation database (code-named Stinger).

Earlier in the day, Mendelsohn made his best pitch to system administrators and data center operators attending this week's CluterWorld conference here. Oracle has been marketing its 10g Database Server, Application Server and Enterprise Manager to a wide variety of enterprises. To address the growing market of small-to-medium sized businesses and departments, Oracle struck a deal earlier this week that allows the 10g software to come pre-bundled on some Dell boxes.

"The strategy for us is making the database servers and app servers as self-managing as possible," Mendelsohn said. "If that is not the case, then our Management Console lets managers cross servers in a grid."

As part of its upcoming patch for Oracle 10g, the company revealed its Automatic Storage Management (ASM) system for 10g, which Oracle says eliminates need for conventional file system and volume manager. The company has also said it has inserted a fully automated disk backup platform into the software stack. In that way, Mendelsohn warned customers would be better able tap into the systems performance diagnostics and tuning

The idea is similar to rewinding a VCR, Mendelsohn said because "Now a database administrator can show the last transactions in the last hour but only the top ten because if there is a problem - it would be there."