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Oracle database emphasizes Net

The company plans a September 14 soiree to roll out Oracle 8i (the "i" stands for Internet), the new name for the next version of its flagship database.

Not that it will surprise anyone, but Oracle says it has seen the future of business computing, and it's on the Internet.

The company plans a September 14 soiree in New York to roll out Oracle 8i (the "i" stands for Internet), the new name for the next version of its flagship database.

"Larry [Ellison, Oracle's chief executive] decided that since the Internet has become so important, he wanted to emphasize that angle in the product name," an Oracle representative said.

Oracle is also riding a trend among its corporate customers and systems integration partners toward Internet-linked applications and away from classic client-server configurations.

Oracle will deliver the new Oracle 8i marketing pitch to several hundred development partners at the September 14 event.

The company's database has had something of an identity crisis in recent months. What Oracle is now calling Oracle 8i has also been called Oracle 8.1 and was code-named Emerald in the past.

The database update from Oracle also adds features to better host applications, messaging technology, a Java virtual machine, additional Common Object Request Broker Architecture (CORBA) interfaces, better support for parallel hardware architectures, and overall better reliability, according to the company.

Oracle 8i is slated to ship by the end of the year. No pricing has been announced.

An Oracle representative also said Oracle 8i will include "additional features to make Internet database applications a reality."

Presumably, those features will include tight linkage to the company's Application Server middleware. Oracle will tomorrow detail Application Server 4.0, a reworked release of the company's middle-tier server.

Application Server 4.0 will include rudimentary support for Sun Microsystems' Enterprise JavaBeans specification, for building business systems from Java components, and load balancing for distributed applications. More robust Enterprise JavaBeans support will be offered in future releases.

The server essentially controls the application logic and middleware for business applications that are accessible via a Web browser.