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Oracle Releases 10g App Server

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Oracle officials announced Tuesday the availability of what they claim is the first middleware application server for grid computing.

Application Server 10g was first unveiled at
in September, when the Redwood Shores, Calif., company promised that the software would hit the market by year’s end, along with the Oracle Database 10g.
New distributed computing features abound in the upgrade billed as the first-ever application server for grid computing.

Oracle, and other enterprise software companies, have championed the concept of grid computing.

The technology operates under the principle that applications on the network run more efficiently if computing resources are spread throughout the corporate network, rather than sent to one mainframe or server. The setup allows for faster number-crunching as applications use computing power from idle machines.

The technology’s also come under fire from some analysts, who say relying on a network grid can lead to cascading failures throughout a monolithic network, similar to the summer’s historic power outage.

There’s no denying the lure of distributed computing however, especially as more resource-hungry enterprise applications like Web services begin to appear.

Oracle developers have spent a lot of time on the 10g iteration, testing the app server for six months before releasing it to the public. They’ve beefed up its 9i App Server with enhanced integration between applications, business-to-business apps, in-house business processes and Web services integration.

“It’s our complete integration platform,” said Oracle’s Vijay Tella. “We have the new ability to integrate at the business process level, specifically in process automation and trading partner management.”

10g also comes with more standards-based technology, such as Web Services Interoperability, which provide tools to ensure Web services are integrated securely when they are deployed.

How does Oracle’s 10g App Server compare to the competition? According to Tella, its product is much more sophisticated than what you’d get from free downloads JBoss Application Server and Sun’s own freely-distributed application server. In addition to the application server itself, Oracle’s 10g App Server sports business intelligence, centralized grid management, as well as security and authentication management.

“Sun and JBoss really cover the core J2EE application server, which is the deployment platform on which all the applications run,” he said. “When we talk about an application server platform, in our view, that’s the complete middleware platform. It’s not just what people refer to as the J2EE application server. We have very sophisticated development tools that are not available in what JBoss offers. In fact, users develop applications using our JDeveloper to run on JBoss.”

Despite the free downloads from the two organizations, Oracle considers its main competitors to be products offered by IBM and BEA Systems).

Oracle has broken its 10g application server into three editions, each providing more functionality than the others. Java edition runs for $5,000 per processor (which is what JBoss and Sun offer), Standard for $10,000 per processor and Enterprise at $20,000 per processor.

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