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The New Giants of Storage

5:00 PM -- The next storage wave will have more to do with databases than disk arrays.

This is inevitable: The way things are going, it's clear that without programs to sift, sort, and report, most organizations will reach a point where storage becomes as much a liability as a lifeline. And the world's best-known sifter-and-sorter software is a database.

Oracle knows this. With its Oracle Content Database and Records Database packages, announced this week, the vendor has made official what it's been doing for months -- namely, working with a range of suppliers, including storage vendors, to create document management systems that handle unstructured data (email, Word files, presentations, and the like), as well as structured database records. (See Oracle Intros Content Mgt Wares and Oracle Partners Proliferate.)

In technological terms, this isn't big news. Oracle already imported unstructured data into its 10g database via its Collaboration Suite of tools. What's new, according to Oracle spokesman Greg Lunsford, is the formal packaging, along with a series of specific functions. These include: new compliance and risk management support; the ability to link Oracle's BPEL Process Manager with content management functions; and extensions to make the database a Service Oriented Architecture (SOA) capable of delivering "user-tailored content management functionality across organizations," according to Lunsford.

EMC and Network Appliance contributed quotes of support to Oracle's announcement, even though the linkages will be reference sales, not actual product integrations. (Can you say coopetition?)

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