Oracle has licensed object request broker (Orb) technology from California start-up Visigenic, to be the sole distributed objects foundation of its Network Computing Architecture (NCA).
The tie-up involves three Visigenic products. Visibroker for Java and Visibroker for C++ both support the Internet Inter-Orb Protocol (IIOP), which in turn is based on the Object Management Group?s Corba standard for Orbs. The third product is Visibridge, which provides a link with the non-Corba world of Microsoft?s ActiveX.
The products will be resold separately by Oracle as well as being bundled into various NCA-enabled products, both tools and servers, with effect from the beginning of the next quarter. Pricing details will follow.
The decision to adopt the Visigenic technology as Oracle's NCA standard was taken after various other options on the market had been evaluated. The move puts an end to speculation that Oracle was preparing to take over Dublin-based Iona to secure the rights to its Orbix request broker.
While it was rumoured that Oracle had considered a full takeover of Iona, that option was not considered with Visigenic, claim both parties. Neither Fhah or McDonald could comment on precise financial details of the deal, but both said that Oracle had made "arrangements" to protect its long term commitment to the technology.
The Visigenic products were chosen for their robust Java support and adherence to IIOP, according to Oracle's senior vice president of servers, Praful Fhah. Oracle came out in favour of the IIOP protocol last autumn when it announced it would support Netscape?s Open Network Environment - of which IIOP is the central plank - in its tools and servers.
Although Oracle emphasised the interoperability aspects of the Visigenic technology, its use as a core NCA backbone commits users to a predetermined distributed objects option, if they wish to base their IT strategies on the emerging architecture. No alternative Orb solutions as part of NCA are planned, admitted Fhah.
But the deal is not exclusive for Visigenic, which is free to sign similar licensing deals with other suppliers, clearing the way for a possible tie-up with Novell, currently seeking a third party Orb solution. Bob McDonald, Visigenic's vice president of marketing, would not comment specifically on the Novell rumours, but said: "We are talking to an incredible number of players."
The Oracle bundling deal will be a welcome boost to Visigenic, which was set up in 1993 by Roger Sippl, founder of Oracle arch-rival Informix Software. Its most recent financial results show the company running at a loss of $18.3 million for the first nine months of its 1997 fiscal year, on revenues of $11.5 million.
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