Oracle hails grid computing in mobile database upgrade

Oracle hails grid computing in mobile database upgrade

Oracle on Monday announced shipment of Oracle Database Lite 10g, an upgrade to its small-footprint database that the company says extends grid computing to the mobile workforce.

Built to run on laptops and PDAs, Oracle argues that the product fits into the company's grid computing scheme because of a new feature that enables users to update data and applications simultaneously when synchronizing with the back-end server. Previously, these were separate operations. The concept of grid applies to the database because grid involves distributing data to increase its availability, said Oracle's Jacob Christfort, CTO and vice president of mobile and wireless products at Oracle.

"The difference (from previous versions) is that the applications are all in the database just like data components, and that means as you synchronize your data, you also physically synchronize your application," Christfort said

Oracle's mobile database can work in a disconnected mode, getting updates when necessary.

Also new in the database is a feature called Mobile Manager, providing a Web-based console for application, system, security, and device management. A highlight of Mobile Manager is the ability for an administrator, from the server side of the equation, to check factors such as whether the mobile system is running out of space, Christfort said. An administrator can reduce data on the server side and that is automatically propagated to the device, he said.

Mobile Manager offers application life cycle management for development and deployment of mobile applications. Also included are facilities for advanced client device diagnostics, configuration, and lockdown. Centralized user provisioning and identity management are part of Mobile Manager as well.

Another feature of the database is support of Microsoft's ADO.Net, which is a set of interfaces for development of Microsoft-based applications. The database supports both Java and .Net tools.

An analyst noted Oracle considers the mobile database an extension of the larger, server database, also known as 10g. "This is extending the features and functions of 10g to that (mobile) environment," said analyst Carl Olofson, research director for information management and data integration software at IDC.

As far as Oracle's grid positioning of the product, Olofson said it is Oracle's prerogative on what to call the product. "Obviously there's nothing grid about a mobile computer. It's a discrete device, but from (Oracle's) perspective it's extending the grid environment," Olofson said.

Oracle with its small-footprint product is looking to compete with offerings such as IBM's DB2 Everyplace Database and Sybase's SQL Anywhere Studio. The seamless synchronization of data and applications provides Oracle with an advantage over rivals, according to Christfort.

Requiring an Oracle database on the back-end server, Oracle Database Lite 10g is priced at US$100 per named user license. The database runs on platforms including Linux, Windows CE, Palm OS, and Pocket PC.

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