Oracle gave its first public demonstration yesterday of the Oracle8i Appliance and announced a partnership with Dell to manufacture future server appliances.
The news was delivered by Larry Ellison, Oracle's chief executive officer, in a speech at the NationsBanc Montgomery Securities 16th Annual Technology Conference in San Francisco.
The Oracle8i Appliance, previously codenamed Raw Iron, is a thin server that combines the kernel of Sun Microsystems' Solaris operating system with the Oracle8i database and an Intel four-way processor. The product, offered as an integrated hardware-and-software platform, is designed to be used to access the Internet and intranet applications and databases.
The Oracle8i appliances are also designed to lower set-up and maintenance costs for users, to be simple to use and to be fast, Ellison said. During a performance test at the demonstration here, the Oracle8i Appliance boot-up was 2.9 times faster than Windows NT.
A shift away from distributed computing toward centralised applications and databases is the way of the future, Ellison said. There is going to be a whole new generation of companies that will build databases, tools and applications that run on the Internet and corporate intranets, he said.
Dell has signed an agreement with Oracle to become the second supplier of the Oracle8i appliance, Ellison announced, adding that "Compaq will be signed up pretty soon as well."
Dell sees a good market for the Oracle8i Appliance with current Oracle and Dell users as well as for new users interested in Web hosting, said Jerele Neeld, a Dell spokesman. The Oracle8i Appliance will begin shipping with Dell's Power Edge 6300 and Power Edge 6350 systems in late April or early May, Neeld said.
Last week, Oracle announced that Hewlett-Packard would be the first to build the company's server appliances.