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Ellison: Oracle to team with Compaq on Net device

IDG.net
Larry Ellison
Oracle Chairman and CEO Larry Ellison, speaking in his Comdex keynote address, said his company and Compaq are collaborating on a Net appliance  

LAS VEGAS, Nevada (IDG) -- Oracle Corp. and Compaq Computer Corp. are collaborating on a Net appliance that is due to appear next month through distribution partners, Larry Ellison, Oracle chairman and chief executive officer announced here Monday at his keynote address and during an earlier press conference.

The Net appliance will be based on Oracle 9i Application Server and Compaq's ProLiant DL360 ultra-thin two-way server. The idea behind the device is that it will arrive on customers' doorsteps with its hardware and software preconfigured, pretested and preinstalled, according to Ellison.

At the moment, the appliance is aimed at "very small customers," but over time the device should be able to be used in large operations such as Oracle itself, Ellison said. He expects Oracle will start running the appliances within its own organization within the next few months, with the company fully embracing the devices in "a year or so," he added.

The appliance uses what Ellison dubbed an "anonymous operating system," though he did reveal it incorporates pieces of Sun Microsystems Inc.'s Solaris Unix operating and a version of the Linux open-source operating system. Ellison kept jabbing at Oracle's bitter rival Microsoft Corp., claiming that not even IBM Corp.'s MVS legacy operating system has as many lines of code as Microsoft's Windows 2000.

 
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Ellison continued his age-old mantra of how the PC industry is the only one that permits such a degree of uniqueness that no system setup is the same as any other, making it difficult to support the devices.

Part of the problem with the current industry model is that "We sell you components like in a kit. We treat you like you are hobbyists," he said.

He claimed that every vendor, with one notable exception, is moving all their software away from the PC to the server. "The PC has morphed into a network appliance plus (Microsoft) Office," Ellison said. "The only thing keeping the PC alive is games." He explained the only reason why he continues to use a PC is to enable him to open Microsoft Word attachments he receives via e-mail.

Sun and Hewlett-Packard Co. are likely to shortly make similar Net appliances with Oracle, according to Ellison.

Ellison largely parroted the news conference in his keynote speech, repeating verbatim comments made to reporters just before he spoke Monday night to a larger audience.

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One difference was the addition of Compaq Computer Corp.'s CEO Mike Capellas, who joined Ellison on stage to sing praises to the appliance model. A Compaq server frame holding 30 Oracle Application Servers was a part of the stage set.

Ellison opened the keynote to audience questions, and the first was regarding a recent tale that the high-spirit CEO had crashed his jet fighter into the Oracle headquarters parking lot and died. He said he is now "feeling much better."

Ellison also said Oracle Corp. will make a "huge announcement" Tuesday in the B2B (business-to-business) exchange market.

"A new giant will be born," Ellison said in a press conference prior to his keynote address, but he declined to provide any further details on the announcement.




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