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Oracle Tackles Unstructured Data With New Content-Management System

Upgrades to the vendor's application server and collaboration software also debut at Oracle OpenWorld.

Oracle revealed Wednesday an ambitious content-management system to help its customers branch out into managing unstructured data, such as E-mail, Microsoft Word and Excel spreadsheet documents, and instant messaging and voice-mail messages.

Oracle Files 10g is built on top of an Oracle database and application server combination that will store and retrieve documents in a variety of file formats. The general-purpose content-management system is designed to help companies meet new regulations, such as the Sarbanes-Oxley Act, by building extensive management functionality into document storage.

Users of Oracle Files 10g will be able to set security policies on who can access, check out, and modify documents. It will offer a versioning system so that earlier versions of documents can be found, and technology to create an audit trail of document changes. The system will allow document approvals and other events to generate a workflow for specific documents, says Greg Doherty, Oracle's VP for Collaboration Suite.

The content-management system is designed to work as either a standalone system, working as a service to applications, or as part of the Oracle Collaboration Suite, a set of collaboration tools that make real-time information available between two or more parties.

Oracle Files 10g and an upgrade to Oracle's 2-year-old collaboration software, Oracle Collaboration Suite 10g, will be generally available in early 2005. No pricing for Files 10g was disclosed at its Oracle OpenWorld launch in San Francisco.

The upgraded Collaboration Suite will use instant messaging and other collaboration technologies to tie Oracle database users closer together and allow them to share information, detect who's available online, and chat via either text or voice within a secure environment, Doherty says.

In addition, Oracle plans to build grid-computing controls into the second release of its Oracle 10g Application Server early next year. It will provide distributed configuration-management and workload-balancing capabilities for use across a grid system's multiple servers. It will also offer more built-in capabilities for building Web services, says Thomas Kurian, senior VP of Oracle server technologies.

Application Server 10g will support the Business Process Execution Language for building business processes as Web services. It will support such standards as Web Services-Reliability and Web Services-Security from the Organization for Structured Information Standards, an Internet standards body. WS-Reliability is a means for guaranteeing receipt of Simple Object Access Protocol messages over the Internet, allowing one party to know that another has received information and may not repudiate acceptance of the message. WS-Security sets specifications for making sure that Soap messages haven't been tampered with and come from an identifiable sender.

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