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June 25, 1997updated 05 Sep 2016 12:32pm


By CBR Staff Writer

Why would a database vendor spend the past couple of years running around getting so excited about little black boxes called Network Computers, when surely it should be out there trying to sell more databases to more people? Well in case any of us missed the point, Oracle Corp chief executive Larry Ellison yesterday described his shiny new Oracle8 technology as the ‘database for network computing’, and suggested that everything should be held in a database – Oracle8, of course – and not a file system. In a network computer world, it’ll be far more efficient to use and store electronic mail messages, word processing documents, spreadsheets, video, audio graphics and more when they’re stored in an Oracle8 database rather than a simple file system. At a $2.4m event staged at Radio City Music Hall in New York, Ellison himself installed his Network Computer Inc subsidiary’s ‘Network in a Box’ configuration of a network computers server and up to five NC’s complete with NCI software, which he says school teachers could set up in 30 minutes and get five children hooked up to the Internet for a mere $6,000 plus $500 to $600 per additional user (CI No 3,142). He also ran queries against a 3Tb database to demonstrate Oracle8’s data warehousing capabilities (CI No 3,168) and proved the NC’s compatibility with Microsoft Corp’s Windows software by running Word to disprove Bill Gates’ view that NC means Not Compatible, before accidentally’ knocking the Windows personal computer on the floor and seeing it go up in a symbolic cloud of smoke. Of course The Network-In-A- Box includes one Intel-based NC server from NEC or other vendor, NCI’s NC Server software for managing NCs, two NC desktops from Accton or Funai – the only currently shipping Oracle NC designs which include 16Mb RAM, a network interface card, Ethernet or a 33.6Kbps modem – plus two Schlumberger credit card smart cards that store up to 8Kb data and enable a user to access the network from any of the networked clients and a four-port network hub and cabling.

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