Oracle is enhancing its database and application software architecture to assist IT personnel in running ever larger systems with less effort.
Database staff using the Oracle Enterprise Manager product will be able to aggregate multiple databases and other Oracle-based systems in a single browser-based view, said Andrew Mendelsohn, senior vice-president, database and application server technologies, at Oracle.
"It's our goal to make the database self-managing and make it invisible," he said. That includes not just databases, but any Oracle-related aspect of the datacentre, such as the response times for transactions on a web page.
Currently, administrators are generally limited to managing the health of a single system at one time. To make configuration more automatic, Oracle plans to enhance its product range so Enterprise Manager can automatically take feeds from multiple database and application server products and centralise the information for presentation to administrators.
For instance, database managers could, from a single view, get information about all systems that are close to running out of storage space instead of manually running queries on individual databases, as they do now.
Eventually, the application will be able to store statistical performance information and make recommendations for best practice configuration, said Mendelsohn.
Oracle is also automating the process for users to access its online Metalink support site to download patches. When logging on, IT staff will automatically receive all the patches they need for each of their systems, depending on operating systems and other factors.
Mendelsohn said users will start to see these features with the next release of the Oracle Application Server this summer.
A couple of users said they are considering deploying the technology when it becomes available.
William Maguire, chief information officer at storage supplier Legato Systems, said the improvements could help his staff keep their database systems online and cut the total cost of ownership by letting him do more with fewer people. "It might increase the window of availability to the user and increase the productivity of the user," he said.
Legato is running Oracle8i to support its Oracle E-Business Suite 11i applications, and an Oracle9i database which it uses for analytical operations.
Oracle is ahead of competitors IBM and Microsoft in enabling the management of its database products, said Rich Niemiec, president of the International Oracle Users Group and chief executive officer of Oracle support and service provider TUSC.
TUSC is managing 700 Oracle databases remotely and Niemiec said the improvements planned by Oracle are something that could help his support staff. He added that he also likes the changes Oracle has made to its browser interface to make it pure HTML, enabling users to access Enterprise Manager without requiring any particular client.