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Oracle updates data tools

Oracle updates its data query tools and desktop database in an effort to establish its brand name as a staple on corporate servers and desktops.

Oracle (ORCL) today updated its data query tools and desktop database in an effort to establish its brand name as a staple on corporate servers and desktops.

Oracle disclosed plans to update its Discoverer data query tool and said it has shipped a new version of its Oracle Lite desktop database server.

With Discoverer, the company is gunning to become a leading provider of data query and analysis tools, now becoming nearly ubiquitous among corporate IS users. Oracle said it plans to ship later this year its Oracle Discoverer, an expanded version of an existing tool for querying data stored in corporate databases.

Discoverer is easier to use than its predecessor, Discoverer/2000, according to Steve Illingworth, senior product marketing manager at Oracle. The new version of the tool offers easier access to databases from Oracle's competitors, including Informix Software, Microsoft, and Sybase, in addition to Oracle's database server.

With the update, Oracle plans to take on query tool market leaders Business Objects and Cognos, Illingworth added.

Discoverer ships in an end-user version, priced at $995 per user, and in an administrator's package, priced from $1,995. The end-user version allows users to examine data in multidimensional views and pivot tables, much like Microsoft's Excel spreadsheet. It also includes charting and reporting tools. The administrator's version allows system administrators to define which data users can access, and to set time limits for query duration.

The tool runs on Windows 95 and NT. Illingworth said the company is building a Web version of the tool for future release, along with Windows 3.1 and Motif versions.

Oracle Lite 2.3 adds bidirectional replication capabilities to the company's desktop database aimed at mobile and networked "thin client" users. The database includes symmetric replication technology, borrowed from Oracle's Universal Server database, to allow it to host any application written for an Oracle database server.

The database now supports two-way data replication with Oracle's enterprise servers and Unix systems, and with Oracle Workgroup Server on Windows NT and Unix.

Oracle Lite 2.3, now shipping, runs on Windows 95, NT, Windows 3.1, Macintosh, and Power Mac systems. It is priced at $195 per user. Oracle said it is developing versions of the database for Network Computers and PDAs (personal digital assistants).