In a move that could be considered surprising for a company known for its nebulous product delivery dates, Oracle's chairman and CEO Larry Ellison this week outlined launch dates for several promised products, including the company's long-awaited Internet File System (IFS).
At a financial analyst event being held at Oracle's corporate headquarters in California, Ellison continued to promote the idea that best of breed is bad and commented that the company is working hard toward providing the most complete solutions possible, thus driving complexity out of computing.
"Our underlying strategy can be described in three words: completeness, thus simplicity," Ellison said. "It's a sign of the immaturity of the computer industry that we don't sell systems, we just sell parts."
That approach, Ellison said, leads to a system in which customers are treated like hobbyists and are left to do more work than should ever be asked of them. Oracle's proposal is to get away from that best-of-breed mentality and to embrace complete solutions such as the one the company is striving to provide.
Oracle's efforts to fill out that solution will include the delivery later this month of IFS, a database feature that the company promised more than a year ago. The purpose of IFS is to provide a centralised repository for data and various file formats, which could then be accessed via a series of connectors.
Another database feature that Oracle has alluded to in the past but has yet to deliver is iCache, which will allow companies to run many versions of Oracle's 8i database on inexpensive PC servers, a capability that Ellison said could greatly enhance the speed and reliability of websites running on 8i. First brought to light at Oracle's Open World show in Los Angeles last November, iCache will be included in the database beginning next month, according to Ellison.
Finally, the company announced that it is shipping its Oracle 8i appliance on hardware platforms from Hewlett-Packard and Siemens. Future versions of the 8i appliance will ship on Compaq hardware, expected in May, and on Dell, which should have an appliance available in June.
One notable absence in that support is Oracle's constant platform partner Sun Microsystems. Although portions of that company's operating system are included in the alliance, Oracle currently has no plans to deploy a solution based on Sun's hardware platform.