Oracle and Informix focus on Windows NT as strategic platform

During the past several weeks database vendors Oracle Corp. and Informix Software Inc. have emphasized the significance of the Microsoft Windows NT platform to their long-term corporate strategies.

Although both vendors have delivered products for the Windows NT platform for awhile they have focused primarily on the Unix platform which accounts for much of their business.

But that is changing particularly in the federal market with the explosive growth of Windows NT. In response both companies are investing more time and money in making Windows NT a viable enterprise platform for their database software.

Earlier this month Oracle announced the availability of its Very Large Memory (VLM) technology for Windows NT running on Oracle Enterprise Server 7.3.3 (and next month Oracle8) and Digital Equipment Corp.'s 64-bit AlphaServers.

That development doubles the memory capacity of Windows NT from 2G of data to almost 8G which can have a tremendous impact on application performance said Patrick Enright the Windows NT business development manager for Oracle NT solutions.

Users get much faster response time on a query if the server can pull information out of memory rather than having to go to hard disk storage where performance is limited by the relatively slow mechanics of computer hardware. In Unix where VLM has been available for several years many Oracle users essentially cache their entire database in memory which translates into outstanding performance Enright said.

Windows NT users by contrast have had to string multiple systems together to get the equivalent scenario he said. "What you were doing with four [Windows NT] systems you can now do with one " Enright said.

Informix goes Wintel

Informix meanwhile recently outlined its own Enterprise Windows NT strategy including plans to deliver its full suite of database software and tools to the Wintel servers - Windows NT running on Intel Corp. processors.The strategy builds on a recently announced relationship with Intel to work jointly on technologies products and specifications for the Wintel arena.

Informix wants to be positioned to take advantage of "Merced " Intel's forthcoming 64-bit chip architecture. "That co-development is really important for us for the NT strategy " said Jesse Worthington chief technologist at Informix Federal.

Merced will improve overall performance of Informix's OnLine Dynamic Server OnLine Workgroup Server and OnLine Workstation products. Additionally Merced will embed Intel's MMX technology which the company developed to boost graphics processing - an important feature for users running Informix's Universal Server designed to manage image text and other information beyond traditional data.

Not only will Informix deliver the same products to Unix and Windows NT platforms but it will do so on the same schedule according to the company. "Historically we have been a Unix company " Worthington said. "We have now adopted two platforms: NT and Unix. NT is now an equal platform."

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