Oracle cuts software deal with Compaq

The company plans to license technology from Compaq Computer that will help the software company improve key features in its upcoming next-generation database.

Oracle plans to license technology from Compaq Computer that will help the software company improve key features in its upcoming next-generation database.

Oracle will tap Compaq's "clustering" software in a deal that includes a three-year, $45 million joint marketing and selling agreement between the two companies, said Jackie Cahle, Compaq's vice president of marketing for Unix systems. Clustering technology allows businesses to connect a number of high-end computers together to run a very large database. The technology also allows hardware to share work or step in when one or many computers in a network fail.

Compaq, through the acquisition of Digital Equipment and Tandem Computing, is recognized as a pioneer in clustering. Because clustering is complicated technology, competitors such as Sun Microsystems are still working on their own versions of clustering technology.

Oracle plans to incorporate Compaq's software as part of its forthcoming Oracle 9i database, software that collects and stores corporate or Web information. According to Juan Jones, Oracle's vice president of systems platforms, Compaq's technology should help Oracle fulfill its promise to make its next generation products faster, better performing and easier to manage.

Oracle, which holds a commanding lead over rivals Microsoft, IBM, Sybase and Informix in the database market, plans to release Oracle 9i during the first half of this year. It is the company's first major update to its flagship product since it unveiled Oracle 8i nearly two years ago.

The first release of the 9i database will feature Oracle's own clustering software. Oracle's previous clustering technology--Oracle Parallel Server--allowed businesses to add many high-end computers but was not able to seamlessly cluster networked computers without software changes.

Oracle executives last fall touted new clustering software--Oracle 9i Real Application Clusters--that solved the cluster question by allowing managers to add additional hardware without having to make major software changes or get involved in reformatting data stored on the servers in question.

Oracle plans to incorporate Compaq's TruCluster clustering software with its Real Application Clusters software by year's end, Jones said.

Oracle will release a new version of its clustering software for Compaq's Tru64 Unix operating system by the end of the year. Then the database giant will release new versions that support other versions of Unix, including Sun's Solaris and HP-UX, by the second or third quarter of 2002, Jones said.'s Stephen Shankland contributed to this report.

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