Oracle compares evolution of app server, database
- By John K. Waters
Although analysts tend to rank Oracle Corp. fourth or fifth among app server
vendors, the database giant considers itself an innovator and a force in the
evolution of app server technology. In fact, Thomas Kurian, senior VP of
development in Oracle's app server group, sees parallels between the evolution
of the app server and the database.
''Twenty years ago, if you bought a relational database from Oracle or anybody
else, you bought a query engine,'' Kurian said. ''Then people wanted transactional
capabilities, then warehousing, partitioning, security and clustering. By
agglomerating additional facilities, the database has evolved into a more mature
The same kind of agglomerative evolution that morphed the relational database
has been transforming the app server, Kurian said. ''When apps first migrated
from desktops to the server, the killer idea was to put all the logic on a
server, so that you could access it from lots of different browser clients
Vendors of that first generation of app servers have focused on integrating a
growing list of disparate components, said VJ Tella, the chief strategy officer
in Oracle's app server group. In December, Oracle unveiled what it considers the
first of the second generation of app servers: Oracle Application Server
Application Server 10g comes with nearly 600 new features, including improved
integration capabilities, business process management and real-time BI. And the
company is billing it as the world's first ''grid-ready'' application server
designed specifically for enterprise grid computing.
Oracle's latest app server grew from the company's conviction that apps are
now being built on an Internet model. ''It's a fundamental change in the
computing model,'' Tella explained. ''When fundamental changes occur, a class of
infrastructure emerges that becomes a cornerstone.''
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John K. Waters is a freelance writer based in Silicon Valley. He can be reached