Tech Industry

Ellison touts Oracle service's "threat" to Windows

Oracle chief executive Larry Ellison announces plans to launch a Web service that will store and manage data for businesses and consumers, taking aim at Windows.

REDWOOD SHORES, Calif.--Oracle chief executive Larry Ellison today announced plans to launch a Web service that will store and manage data for businesses and consumers.

Businesses can use the online service to store all their corporate data, including Web pages, human resources records and email, so the information isn't strewn across thousands of hard drives on various computers, Ellison said. Consumers can use the service to deposit personal data, from music files to pictures, he added.

"If you want to back up your data, if you want a copy of your data that you can search, share and maintain multiple versions, we will have a public site that offers this," he said.

The new Web service, free for some levels of disk storage space, will launch in several months, Ellison said during Oracle's iDevelop users conference here today at company headquarters.

The announcement came as Ellison touted the company's new Internet File System, software that stores and manages 150 types of content, including audio, video, email and Microsoft Word and Excel documents.

The new technology is a key piece in Oracle's Internet-focused 8i database Software-as well as part of the company's goal to make the Windows operating system unnecessary. As reported earlier, the database is packed with features the company says are the only technology businesses need to run programs accessible via the Internet.

Oracle is positioning the Internet File System as a replacement to the Windows File System built into Microsoft's operating system. The product essentially moves data storage from a PC's hard drive to back-end servers on a network.

"I think it's an enormous threat. It dramatically decreases the value of Windows," Ellison said.

The new Internet service is just the latest Web offering from the database giant. The company previously launched Business Online, a service that rents Oracle's software to businesses. The firm is one of many technology companies jumping into theapplication service provider (ASP) market, an emerging industry that lets businesses rent software.

During his speech, Ellison said a file system built into a database will offer better and faster search capabilities than standard operating systems, the ability to find content with any device that has a Web browser, better security from virus attacks and protection from computer crashes.

If a laptop is stolen, the person's information is lost forever if the data isn't backed up, he said. "We think companies will save a fortune by maintaining a searchable, manageable archive (of data) on our servers."

Companies, he said, "have to decide where to keep data. Will they use big IFS (Internet File System) servers or 175,000 desktops? You get yourself into lots of trouble if you start fragmenting information. It's like having thousands of file cabinets in different cities."

Ellison added that the Internet File System, which was supposed to ship last September, was delayed for seven months because it took longer for the company to perfect a Windows user interface for those businesses that prefer the Windows look and feel.

Oracle's new file system is free to Oracle 8i customers. The company, which shipped the file system for the Solaris operating system last month, began shipping a Windows version today.