OracleWorld shows off 9i, Linux

It's OracleWorld time, and attendees at the annual technology conference will hear from happy customers running 9i on Linux, and see the company's improved Collaboration Suite. Larry is on a yacht in New Zealand, but the show will go on. Oracle will hammer home the message that Oracle pros can save a lot of money later by spending some now.

The seventh annual OracleWorld technology event kicks off Monday at San Francisco's Moscone Center with a keynote address by CFO Jeff Henley, a choice Oracle is hoping sends a message that the company understands corporate finances are a top priority for this year's 23,000 conference attendees.

Much of the OracleWorld sessions will be dedicated to methods that Oracle says its customers can use to save IT money and time, particularly with new 9i solutions, say conference planners. OracleWorld attendees can expect to hear plenty from happy clients, especially those running 9i on Linux, as Oracle continues to push Linux as an alternative to Microsoft's Windows.

While trying to keep some product announcements under wraps so it can make a big splash at the show, Oracle has made public in recent days its plans to showcase revamped versions of its collaboration, database and application server software.

"At the top of their list is going to be their very hot Collaboration Suite, as well as Oracle9i on Linux," said Rich Niemiec, CEO of TUSC. Niemiec will deliver the International Oracle Users Group State of the Union address for early arrivals on Sunday.

Niemiec is appearing with Matthew Szulik, CEO of Red Hat Inc. "He'll provide another level of Linux visibility, which will certainly heat up the Oracle9i/Linux discussions," Niemiec said.

Online object definition and new 9i features will be the focus of a talk given by San Francisco-based Oracle expert Roger Schrag, founder and CEO of the consulting firm Database Specialists Inc.

"Oracle has been giving their databases more and more availability, and this feature is part of that effort," Schrag said. Using online object definition allows DBAs to perform complex maintenance work without interrupting use, said Schrag, a repeat guest lecturer at OracleWorld.

While travel budgets are tight, and OracleWorld does provide plenty of distractions in the way of special events, Schrag is among those who says DBAs who attend OracleWorld can bring home information more important than the names of the bands headlining the event (Journey and Cheap Trick).

"A technical person, a DBA, can learn a lot at OracleWorld," Schrag said.

Veteran OracleWorld visitors can recall earlier years, when Oracle CEO Larry Ellison would kick off the event, talking technology for hours. This year, Ellison, whose appearance will be broadcast via satellite from New Zealand, where he is competing in the Louis Vuitton Cup sailing race, doesn't appear on the conference agenda until Thursday, the final day of the show.

Despite the economic pain felt throughout the IT industry this year, Oracle says this year's attendance numbers are solid, running about the same as they have in past years.

Keynote speakers include Carly Fiorina, chairman and CEO of Hewlett-Packard Co.; Michael Ruettgers, executive chairman of EMC Corp.; and Michael Dell, chairman and CEO at Dell Computer Corp.

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