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October 6, 1999

Oracle Raw Iron Makes London Debut

By CBR Staff Writer

The first two Oracle Raw Iron ‘operating systemless appliances’ will enter service at the London head quarters of Eurostar UK Ltd tomorrow. Oracle claims they are likely to be swiftly followed by other implementations across Europe and the US when the Intel-based Hewlett-Packard machines are officially offered under limited availability status at the end of this month. General availability of the machines, which Oracle claims optimize performance of Oracle 8i databases while cutting administration costs by 40%, will start in December.

Eurostar, which operates passenger rail services between the UK and continental Europe via the Channel Tunnel, has been piloting Oracle8i Appliance platforms for six months, and according to technical manager, Simon Harrison, in that time the company has experienced no unscheduled downtime. The Oracle8i Appliance Enterprise Edition, said Harrison, appears to offer a highly flexible platform for our Oracle applications and the company said it is considering adopting product as a universal platform for the company’s planned enterprisewide customer relationship management, and customer transaction systems.

The Eurostar endorsement for an idea many first believed was merely wishful thinking on behalf of Oracle chief Larry Ellison, suggests that there very well maybe a future for systems without operating systems, and in particularly without Microsoft operating systems.

The Intel Xeon-based machines supplied by Hewlett-Packed would normally be expected to ship bundled with Microsoft Windows NT. In this case the boxes are shipped pre-configured with the oracle application running natively against the hardware, and requiring only a simple Java-based interface to be administered local, or remotely via the internet. Harrison said the appliances dispensed with the need for OS programming skills, or even any Oracle expertise. He envisages future boxes being plugged in wherever they are needed with scant concern for support or management issues.

Oracle claims that Eurostar is only one of some 25 companies that have participated in a global, six month beta-test program, and the first to publicly declare its intention to go live with the new technology.

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