Oracle plans to launch version 8.1 of its database, to be renamed Oracle 8i for Internet, on 14 September in New York.
The offering, which is due to ship at the end of the year, will also include a range of enhancements formerly only found in specialised multidimensional databases - such as indexing - to optimise it for the data warehousing market.
Ken Jacobs, Oracle?s vice president of data server marketing, said: ?The era of the niche database is past. Our aim is to integrate more functionality into the database - it?s a logical place to integrate such technology as data management and 8i will also be integrated with directory services. We want to continue broadening the product offering. Data warehousing is a fast growing business, so we?re putting significant effort into that and the Web is a brand new market.?
As a result, the upgrade will support a range of Internet protocols including IIOP, HTTP and XML, but will also provide the ability to execute and manipulate Java code. It will include support for a range of multimedia data types and come with high availability features to improve uptime for mission critical applications and make it easier to take the database down.
According to Jacobs, XML will enable data to be moved more easily between heterogeneous databases, providing users with more data portability.
However, Oracle 8i will also include a Java Virtual Machine to run Java byte code and incorporate Visigenics object request broker (Orb) to enable users to integrate their enterprise applications with newly developed packages more easily.
Later releases are expected to run Oracle?s own internally developed Orb, but Jacobs said the database supplier did not want to delay the release of Oracle 8i by waiting for its own Orb to be optimised for it.
The product is currently being beta tested by 300 users, 65 per cent of which are customers and the rest ISVs. The mainframe port of Oracle 8 has taken longer than expected, however, and is unlikely to appear for another three to six months.
* Version 2.0 of Appbuilder for Java will be synchronised for release with Oracle 8i. The offering includes the compiler and debugging technology that Oracle licensed from Inprise (formerly known as Borland), and support for Enterprise Java Beans.
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