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January 20, 1994


By CBR Staff Writer

And so the Major Event that Oracle Systems Corp chief executive Larry Ellison promised in September came to pass yesterday the launch of its Media Server. The 1,000 people bundled into a conference centre in London were treated to descriptions of how video on demand will change the world. However little new was revealed about the technology (CI Nos 2,245, 2,289, 2,295) other than the assertion that it is possible to build a system to support 1m users, for the cost of UKP50 a user a year. That cost includes the estimated cost of a set-top decoder box – not something that Oracle will build. Using MPEG compression, a 90-minute film takes up about 1.5Gb of disk storage. Mike Harrison, Oracle’s UK managing director, summed up the nebulous nature of the product by describing Media Server as a group of products that we have historically worked on and are now extrapolating into the information age – but more important it is a strategy. The software, then, is closely related to Oracle7, with the previously described parallel query and other specialised modules. The company said that it was likely that there will be six or seven European trials under way by the end of the year. Traditionally, the Media Server has been closely associated with nCube Corp hardware, but Oracle says that it is working with all the other massively parallel processor manufacturers and an ICL Plc engineer said afterwards that work was well advanced to get the system running on its Gold Rush Sparc RISC-based server. Harrison says that initially at least most revenue will come from the sale of software, but adds that he sees great possibilities on the systems integration side. Oracle says that 20 trials of the Media Server are now under way or committed.

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