Oracle to Emphasize E-Business Availability
- By Scott Bekker
Oracle Corp. next week will unveil a push to associate its
name with e-business high availability by launching new services, introducing
some products and repositioning other products. Several of the initiatives
focus on Windows NT.
“High availability used to be all about high-end customers
who had a few critical business processes,” says Robert Shimp, Oracle’s senior
director of product marketing for the Internet platform. Now the parts of the
enterprise and even small business that handle online transactions have an even
greater need for application and database availability, and Oracle wants to
provide that availability, Shimp says.
The Oracle (www.oracle.com)
announcements will include Oracle E-Business Continuity, a program of
consulting, services, and partnerships to assist in e-business
Oracle will also announce a new high-availability
configuration called Oracle Parallel Fail Safe to allow for recovery of failed
Web sites in as little as 30 seconds. That solution is currently available only
for Hewlett-Packard’s Unix platform, although Oracle will make it available for
Windows NT or Windows 2000 later this year, Shimp says.
Aiming to push high availability into the middle tier, or
application tier, of Windows NT e-commerce environments, Oracle is extending
its Oracle Fail Safe product to Oracle Application Server.
Previously a component only of the Oracle8i database server,
Oracle Fail Safe works on top of Microsoft Wolfpack 2-node clusters. It allows a
standby server to recognize when an active server goes offline, start up, and
take over the services the failed server was providing.
Oracle expects customers to use the technology in
application server farms where a master application server provides load
balancing to a number of slave application servers. Customers would install
Oracle Fail Safe on a duplicate master server.
A new version of Oracle Fail Safe, 3.0, provides better
management capabilities than previous versions through integration with Oracle
On Windows NT, the major database vendor is trying to muscle
its way into a greater share of the availability sales and mindshare that
Microsoft obtains with SQL Server 7.0 and Wolfpack.
“Oracle is the only vendor out there that really has good
solutions for [availability] in the Windows NT space,” Shimp claims.
Oracle is repositioning some of its current products for
those goals. For example, Oracle Parallel Server is generally thought of as a
scalability product because it allows database servers to be ganged together to
work on a single image of a database. Oracle will begin to emphasize the
availability implications of having four or six database servers working on a
single image of the database – when one server goes down, the database is still
The company also bundles a standby database feature with
Oracle8i that allows users to have a second, separate instance of the database
at a remote location. The production database regularly replicates its data to
the standby database, and in case of disaster, the standby database can stand
in, Shimp says. “That is an area that is just now taking off,” according to
Shimp. “We’re seeing customers beginning to adopt that strategy.”
As part of the availability push, Oracle will also emphasize
some of the database server management and maintenance tasks database
administrators can do with an Oracle database online that they must take a SQL
Server database down for. Those include indexing tables, repartitioning, and
rebuilding logs. -- Scott Bekker
Scott Bekker is editor in chief of Redmond Channel Partner magazine.