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Oracle has chosen Sun and its Solaris operating system as the platform for its initial excursion into the ASP (Application Service Provider) arena. The notion of an ASP, a version of an ISP which provides access to applications across the Internet, is seen as a Next Big Thing for the Web, and Oracle is pushing it hard via its Business OnLine application hosting environment. Oracle envisages the approach as being used by businesses to give secure access to corporate information and applications such as Oracle Financials and Applications, without the business necessarily having extensive internal IT resources or its own global network. The company also sees it as providing a route for a sort of Web-based outsourcing - Websourcing, where some of the company functions such as payroll or human resources could be outsourced to Web-based operations. There's a peculiar paradox associated with Websourcing "human" resources, isn't there? According to the terms of the latest deal, Sun will provide Oracle with the systems and services to move its applications to a new delivery model, and will provide core systems and services as the ASP market grows. The Oracle Business OnLine pilot will be hosted in an Oracle data centre in the San Francisco Bay Area, and will include a complete suite of Sun servers, storage and software for Business OnLine's deployment. Oracle intends to be using it to try out the provision of "applications for financials, manufacturing, distribution and human resources on a subscription basis." Subscribers will simply connect to the Internet in their usual way, and collect their appraisal, pay rise or downsizing via their browser. Well, we think that's what they mean. ® Click for more stories

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