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Oracle favours Open Source for Raw Iron

And Oracle and Intel server strategies seem to be on convergent paths

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Oracle's kernel strategy for its Raw Iron database project is starting to take shape, and it seems it has acquired a distinct Open Source look to it. Although the company is due to announce official support for Raw Iron from Sun tomorrow, in addition to the Solaris kernel it has shortlisted FreeBSD, NetBSD and the Linux kernel.

US reports suggest that Oracle is also considering HP-UX and Apple's System X, but the word from Oracle in the UK last week was that the company was sticking to four for the moment, so these two are probably on a reserve list, to be used whenever HP or Apple need schmoozing.

Raw Iron is Oracle's latest attempt to pry manufacturers and customers away from Microsoft, and so far looks like being more successful than previous efforts. It was announced at Comdex (Earlier story), and is an initiative intended to allow Oracle 8i to run directly on top of a small kernel, so effectively operating as a screamingly fast dedicated database in a box. On announcing it Larry Ellison said he was in discussion with PC manufacturers including Dell and Compaq. Obviously in order to turn these he needs Intel operating software kernels, and at the moment the Open Source ones look like the hot ticket here.

The more traditional embedded systems which are forming part of Intel's embedded server appliance strategy may also be candidates, but according to a bunch of Oracle users The Register met on a train from Birmingham last Wednesday, the current four are the only ones Oracle's talking about.

Intel itself already has a server appliance using a 486 and VXWorks on the market (Launch story), and last week rolled out a fan club of supporters for its projected Server Appliance Design Guide. These include Bull, Dell, Hewlett-Packard, Lucent, Nortel, Novell, Oracle and SCO. So there's obvious some potential for overlap with Raw Iron, and look how MS-free the list is too. Intel's guidelines won't be finished until the middle of next year though, whereas Ellison's intention is to have the first Raw Iron systems out in Q1. ®

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