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Oracle Shatters Barrier but IBM Begs to Differ

By Clint Boulton (Send Email)
Posted Sep 25, 2000


Oracle Corp.''s announcement Monday that it had become the first firm to shatter the 31-bit address constraints barrier for IBM Corp.''s flagship mainframe operating system, OS/390, has left folks at the rival giant scratching their heads.

This is understandable considering that IBM announced more than a year ago that it had broken the barrier with its DB2 Universal Database Server for OS/390, version 6.0. Oracle Corp.'s announcement Monday that it had become the first firm to shatter the 31-bit address constraints barrier for IBM Corp.'s flagship mainframe operating system, OS/390, has left folks at the rival giant scratching their heads.

Specifically, IBM Senior Program Manager Jeff Jones said he found this extremely odd upon hearing a rumor about just that last week. Jones, who swears IBM shattered the address constraints barrier in June 1999, said he thought Oracle might just be firing off a defensive salvo.

"This seems to be a response to our announcement that we planned to invest $200 million to market software that would lower the cost of running big databases," Jones told InternetNews.com. "I can''t imagine that they are getting more out of OS/390 than we are."

But Oracle''s Vice President of the Enterprise Platforms Division Dave Dargo said this not the case whatsoever.

"I can see how they [IBM] would think that we are responding, but we aren''t making an announcement about what we''re going to do -- we''ve gone and done it," Dargo said. "We are very confident that we have gone beyond what IBM''s DB2 has done."

Dargo stressed the play is not aimed specifically at DB2, or at IBM''s more than $1 billion investment in database software to remain ahead of the competition. He pointed out that while IBM''s marketing strategy is spread out over the next four or five years, Oracle has spent a similar amount of time in developing its latest dependent interface.

What exactly has Oracle done? After four years of testing in laboratories, the firm has waged an attack on IBM''s substantially larger database mainframe grasp. This, depending on what studies one looks at, is somewhere between 75 percent and 95 percent. Oracle thinks all of that can change with its new Operating System Dependent Interface (OSDI) with multiaddress space capability -- it is faster and can manage more data than IBM''s DB2.

Oracle''s Dargo said he tested Oracle for the OS/390 at IBM''s labs, where he said it crushed the 31-bit addressing constraints by using multiple address spaces. This testing demonstrated more than 31,000 active database threads running against a single instance of Oracle on OS/390. This scalability improvement is approximately 15 times IBM''s previous benchmarks, which Dargo said he personally tested and found to be 2,000 threads.

What this means is that firms need not rely on IBM anymore for their database mainframes; the OS has been removed from the equation, according to Vernon Turner, vice president, Global Enterprise Server Solutions, IDC.

"By taking the operating system out of the equation, Oracle can capture new workloads from the mainframe and integrate with older systems," Turner said. "The opportunity and the timing of the opportunity couldn''t be better."

Now enterprises using the OS/390 can run thousands of Oracle''s programs on IBM''s hardware.

Oracle8i enables customers to deploy systems requiring larger pools of active database threads than previously possible. This is accomplished without requiring the customer to create complex OS/390 data sharing environments -- all of which will save customers time and money.

The new Oracle database technology is scheduled to ship in 30 days. Specific pricing and ordering information is available on the Oracle online store.

Related Stories:
IBM Raises the Bar for Clustering
Oracle Releases Enterprise-Level App Server


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