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Oracle, Compaq to Offer Internet Appliance

LAS VEGAS -- On Monday, Oracle Corp. announced a partnership with Compaq Computer Corp. to collaborate on several Internet appliances, in a move away from “individual” computer configurations and toward a more uniform offering of servers.

The first fruits of this union will be an appliance based on the Oracle9i Application Server running on the Compaq ProLiant DL360 2-way server.

Oracle Chairman and CEO Larry Ellison said at a press conference that “the new model of computing is the appliance,” that he defined as preconfigured, pretested, preloaded hardware and software.

Ellison said the idea of each computer having its own unique configuration has been bad for the industry, leading to extensive troubleshooting and reliability problems. “We wanted to have server appliances pre-configured so we could test them, we could tune them.” The way to add configurability to a server appliance, he added, is not to. Just “add a new server. Don’t touch the old (appliance).”

He made the point that assembly-line uniformity is “the way the rest of the world works, except for the computer industry.”

The appliance will use what Ellison termed an “anonymous” operating system. “The user never sees the operating system,” he continued, minimizing the OS’ importance to the appliance. The new appliance will not run on Windows 2000, Ellison confirmed.

Oracle will still offer its software separately, but Ellison didn’t see why anyone would want it that way. “We’re not forcing you to buy the appliance. You can still buy the software. You can choose to give up choice, or you can choose to keep choice.”

Forthcoming are similar appliances on both Sun and Hewlett-Packard boxes, Ellison said. He called Compaq “a great launch partner. Compaq has very good engineering and a very strong service organization.” The appliances should be ready to ship in December, Oracle said in a press release. No date was given for availability of the Sun or HP appliances. -- Keith Ward,

About the Author

Scott Bekker is editor in chief of Redmond Channel Partner magazine.

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