Oracle has postponed shipment of Oracle 8i until the end of
February so it can perform final tests and complete the integration of
software and development tools with the Internet-centric database.
Oracle originally hoped to release the
highly touted database by the end of 1998, but a two-month delay allows the
company to make sure everything works together, said Jeremy Burton,
Oracle's vice president of server marketing.
"It's like with any kind of software. You shoot for a date, and it's been a
two-year plus development for Oracle. We thought we could hit our date, but
the big thing here is we're getting all our planets aligned," he said.
The database code has been completed and frozen, but Burton said Oracle
developers need to ensure the Oracle Application Server, Oracle
Applications, and the company's new Java development tool called JDeveloper
2.0 work well with Oracle 8i. The company is still testing WebDB, a new
tool built into the database to enable software to run entirely within a
Web browser, he said.
Oracle hopes to capitalize on the Internet frenzy with 8i, with chief
executive Larry Ellison calling it the only technology a business needs to
deploy applications that are accessible through the Internet. Oracle 8i
includes several new technologies, including a built-in Java Virtual
Machine to run Java application code and an "Internet File System" to store
and manage Web pages, word processing files, spreadsheets, and multimedia
Analysts say Oracle is smart to delay a product that isn't ready, even if
it might make the company look bad for missing its original release date.
"It's good they're trying to have no major problems before they send it
out. It's an important sign of discipline in the software industry," said
analyst Frank Gillett, of Forrester
Research, in Cambridge, Massachusetts. "Too much software ships and
customers have to apply bug fixes later. Just look at the revs of Microsoft
NT and the service packs that go out."
Gillett said Oracle learned a good lesson from Sybase, whose release of its System 10
database several years ago disappointed its customers. "They put out System
10 and said, 'here's the greatest version,' and customers had problems with
it," he said. "Sybase only succeeded in winning back their trust a year or
Analyst Merv Adrian, of Giga Information
Group, in Cambridge, Massachusetts, agrees, saying users should not be
concerned with the two-month delay.
"It's to be expected for a major release that has as many substantial
fundamental technology changes as Oracle 8i," he said. "When you start
adding support for fundamental [Internet] protocols, these kind of changes
are not trivial."