Oracle Moves Toward ‘Universal’ Archive

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Oracle is moving beyond its database roots with a more comprehensive archiving solution aimed at customers concerned about compliance issues and the need to search through a growing variety of data types. Oracle’s Universal Online Archive and E-mail Archive Service are set for release later this year.

Both Archive products are components of Oracle’s Fusion Middleware and already available on Oracle’s price lists, although company officials were coy about an official release. The debut was timed for Collaborate 2008 in Denver this week, a major gathering of three independent Oracle user groups.

“As we’ve been talking to customers in the content management space, for a variety of reasons including compliance and search, a lot of them are looking to Oracle to really scale these systems to meet new demands,” said Andy MacMillan, an Oracle executive for the company’s content management line.

MacMillan described the E-mail Archive Service as a single repository companies can use to archive data from a range of sources, from Lotus Notes and Microsoft Exchange and Sharepoint to non-Oracle Enterprise Content Management Systems (CMS).

These latest content management solutions build on Oracle’s current content management solutions, although MacMillan said it’s also an opportunity to win new business. “We take into account a wide vary of customer data types, not just Oracle,” he said.

IDC analyst Vivian Gopico-Tero said Oracle is addressing enterprises’ need to better deal with growing mounds of information and to streamline operations.

“Universal Online Archives is a strategic sell since it requires companies to consider their preferred architecture for managing content (beyond e-mail) in the back end,” Gopico-Tero said in an e-mail.

“In light of current calls for more stringent regulations and expectations of rising audits and actions from the plaintiff bar … we do not anticipate a slowdown in compliance spending. … We anticipate Oracle to benefit from this trend.”

And it’s a trend Oracle’s been positioning for against well-established competitors. Last fall, Oracle rolled out Universal Records Management 10g Release 3, a platform that includes enhanced retention and management features for e-mail and other files stored in corporate data centers.

Gopico-Tero said Oracle faces competition from traditional CMS players as well as storage and management giants like EMC and IBM, which are developing better ways to consolidate the management of multiple forms of content.

In the near term, she said the new offerings will probably have the greatest appeal to existing Oracle Fusion Middleware customers, particularly those it gained from Stellent, which don’t have a messaging archive application or are looking to consolidate multiple message archives into a single platform.

Universal Online Archive is expected to sell for $20 per named user plus or $75,000 per CPU. E-mail Archive Service is slated to sell for $50 per named user plus or $40,000 per CPU.

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