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Content management, grid to highlight Oracle conference

After combining its applications and database conferences, Oracle executives are bracing for more than 20,000 users to flock to San Francisco next week for the Oracle OpenWorld user conference.

Oracle Corp. will enter the enterprise content management market next week when it unveils details of its ECM project, code-named Tsunami, at its annual OpenWorld user conference in San Francisco.

The filing cabinet is our biggest competitor and we plan to tackle it head-on.
Robert ShimpVice President of Technology Marketing, Oracle Corp.

The software maker plans to create an ECM division, which will solve problems relating to the storage of unstructured data and integrate the information with Oracle applications. Oracle is entering the ECM market to bolster its Collaboration Suite and take on Microsoft in its data management business, said Robert Shimp, vice president of technology marketing at Oracle.

"This ability to manage unstructured content with a database is the key to the enterprise, and we see tremendous growth here," Shimp said. "The filing cabinet is our biggest competitor and we plan to tackle it head-on."

More than 20,000 users are expected to flock to San Francisco next week for Oracle's annual user event, a four-day conference highlighting Oracle's products and partners.

This time Oracle is expecting to more than double the number of users at its annual conference by combining its AppsWorld show with its OpenWorld database conference. The combined event will showcase both Oracle's E-Business Suite and 10g database products.

For the second year in a row, grid computing will be Oracle's central theme, according to Shimp. Early adopters of Oracle's 10g DBMS will be highlighted at the conference, he said.

Oracle announced an expansion of its Enterprise Grid Alliance this week, adding its 25th member to the group, which is working on grid computing standards.

"If Oracle can put together a wide enough group to develop standards, then it's a helpful initiative to bring forward some results in terms of standards," said Mike Schiff, vice president of data warehousing and business intelligence at Sterling, Va.-based Current Analysis. "Otherwise, it could be just a group of partners and customers to help with its marketing campaign."

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Oracle's Enterprise Grid Alliance expands

Oracle president addresses image

Microsoft and IBM are not members of the new alliance, because the two are intent on becoming one-stop shops for infrastructure buyers, according to Schiff. Many of the alliance members will be on hand at the user conference, including the alliance's first user, UBS Investment Bank.

In addition to grid technology, Oracle will demonstrate its Customer Data Hub product, which was announced in January. The product allows customers who can't afford to migrate all their applications to Oracle 11i to retain legacy applications and benefit from a single data model.

The Customer Data Hub uses Web services to talk to incompatible applications and create a single recording system for customer data, such as customer orders and service history.

Oracle also plans to tout its new service-oriented architecture and integration platform, Shimp said. Oracle stepped up its battle with SAP AG in June when it acquired business process software vendor Collaxa Inc.

Collaxa's software is the basis for Oracle's BPEL (business process execution language) Process Manager. BPEL is a standard to help businesses integrate data from Web services.

Oracle's BPEL product integrates with its Application Server 10g, Shimp said.

"The SOA is the next generation of application design and we're seeing customers beginning to explore how they can run those SOAs on grid to gain a lot more flexibility," Shimp said.

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