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Oracle Highlights Content Management in 9i

Oracle Corp. this week formally signalled its intentions to wade into what it calls "content management."

Oracle's first step into the area was to highlight a number of features in the recent Oracle9i database release that can be used to create centralized document and content repositories in an enterprise.

"It's a lot about managing the content and getting it into the central repository in Oracle9i, or at least being able to find it on the intranet," says Oracle director of database marketing George Demarest. "Instead of having files scattered around the enterprise in dozens of NT or Novell servers, we believe there is real value to be gained by centralizing."

If Oracle's definition of content management doesn't sound like the standard one coming from companies such as Broadvision, Vignette, ePrise, and, recently, Microsoft, that's because Oracle does define it more broadly than dedicated Web content management.

"We are talking about the higher level services of content management, Web services or knowledge management," Demarest says. As such, Demarest identifies IBM's offerings as the main competition. Elements of Oracle's collaborative content management technology included in Oracle9i include smart files, support for native XML data types, and a feature called Ultra Search.

The smart files feature automatically extracts metadata about a file as it stores it to provide more information than an ordinary file system would. Administrators or users can extend the metadata to suit their own needs. Smart files are an extension of the Oracle Internet File System, which came out in an interim release of Oracle8i.

The Ultra Search includes a Web search interface coupled with crawling technology that can be turned on internal data sources across the enterprise or pointed out to the Web.

In addition to being able to search, query in SQL and index XML data types in their native formats, 9i is integrated with Oracle Portal and Oracle Application Server to enhance collaborative content management.

Oracle plans to eventually roll out an enterprise server called Oracle Files Online, built on top of the Internet File System for running collaborative content management services in an enterprise.

Initially, Oracle will offer Oracle Files Online as a hosted service.

Oracle released Oracle9i last month for Unix and Linux. The Windows NT/Windows 2000 version is supposed to ship within the next few months.

Related Articles:
Oracle Launches 9i Database
First Release of Microsoft Content Management Server Slated for Q3

About the Author

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

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