January 19, 2001, 5:38 PM — SAN FRANCISCO -- The next release of Oracle's flagship database is "magic," Oracle boss Larry Ellison told a packed crowd of customers.
Ellison formally unveiled the 9i release, notable not only for its new clustering technology and array of self-tuning features, but for being tightly linked with the new release of the company's Oracle Internet Application Server (IAS).
The term '9i' includes both of these products, he told customers on the second day of the company's annual user conference. Both the database and the application server have been radically redesigned to meet the performance, reliability, and growth of software that will be sold as an Internet service, instead of as a CD-ROM installed on a corporate network.
Perhaps referring to the poor reputation and low acceptance of previous versions of IAS, Ellison said "It's inconceivable to me that any of our customers will not have both products. If you don't have our application server now, you will."
Ellison said Oracle was offering a million-dollar bet to customers. By using the new 9i Internet Application Server and the existing Oracle 8i database, commercial Web sites now using Microsoft or IBM software triple performance or Oracle will pay the site owner $1 million. Oracle itself used the same software to boost the performance of its online Oraclestore by 50 times, he said.
He also warned developers and DBAs that the 9i releases were the first step in eliminating large areas of choice that they now have in configuring Oracle software products. Today, each user creates what is in effect a unique Oracle configuration that is difficult and costly to support and maintain. "This is a fundamental flaw in the way [all] software is sold," he said. "We want our customers to run the identical software configuration."
Oracle is changing this model in two ways. One is by adding more automatic tuning features into the database itself, so the database can configure and maintain itself. Secondly, Oracle is working with hardware and operating system vendors to create ready-to-run packages of Oracle software, with specific brands of computers and disk arrays. These configurations will be tested and certified and guaranteed to deliver particular performance levels.
He told attendees he wanted to use the term "Oracle Magic" as the name of the new database release, which he said is due for general release in March 2001. "But they told me, 'no, we couldn't do that. People might get the wrong idea,'" he said.