Oracle executives yesterday formally launched a full-scale assault on Microsoft's dominance of the computer industry by redefining Oracle's core product.
"With the release of Oracle 8i, our product is not just a database, it's an Internet operating system," said Mark Jarvis, Oracle's vice president of marketing.
At the core of that claim is a move by Oracle to include an Internet File System (iFS) with the core Oracle database that essentially eliminates the need to rely on the file systems found in offerings such as Windows NT from Microsoft or NetWare from Novell.
File systems have traditionally been separated from databases because of performance limitations created by bundling the database and the file system. But according to Oracle executives, two new developments will allow them to deliver a file system in the database that equals or surpasses the performance of file systems found in operating systems.
The first development is the writing of iFS in Java that sits in the core database engine. This approach allows Oracle to leverage server-side Java technology in the development of its new file system.
Secondly, the raw processing horsepower available in the latest generation of microprocessors will allow the company to deliver an integrated file system that is more than capable of meeting the demands of most applications, according to Oracle Chairman Larry Ellison.
It remains to be seen what reaction Oracle's latest initiative will have in the market, the company said, noting that it is beta testing Oracle 8i with over 200 customers, with an expected ship date set before the end of this year.