Oracle Chairman and CEO Larry Ellison positioned his company's newest database product as the ultimate e-mail server during his keynote speech Monday night at Comdex and claimed that Oracle 9i is "unbreakable."
Emphasizing the importance of e-mail for enterprise customers, Ellison said Oracle's database is fault-tolerant and that any application running on Oracle is therefore unbreakable.
"The new version of the Oracle database is completely fault-tolerant," Ellison said. "If the server fails, if the software fails, if the site fails, your application keeps running. It will not go down. You can't break it."
Ellison also said hackers and cybercriminals can't break into the database because of its enhanced security and stability. He said he was warned not to call Oracle 9i unbreakable because it would attract hackers eager to break into Oracle databases, but despite increased attacks recently, all attempts have failed so far, Ellison said.
"I'm not inviting hackers, but so far, with more than 1,000 attacks a day, we're still running," Ellison said. "Our very first customer was the CIA. Our second customer was the National Security Agency."
Oracle 9i also runs faster in clusters than competing products from Microsoft and IBM, Ellison said. He added that using Oracle 9i will also save customers money. Despite the higher cost of Oracle's database compared to Microsoft Exchange Server, Ellison said one server running 9i is the equivalent of 10 or more Exchange servers. Oracle cited one customer, Landis ICT Group, that is in the process of replacing 44 Exchange Servers with one Oracle 9i database system.
"One [Exchange Server] is cheap," Ellison said. "Yeah, one is cheap, but you just need 50 of them and you need a lot of people to keep those 50 running."
In a press conference before the keynote address, Oracle announced an e-mail migration service that will move Microsoft Outlook users from Exchange Server to Oracle 9i. Ellison said condensing e-mail to one database instead of multiple servers offered better speed and scalability to support at least 10,000 concurrent users per database. The 9i database also offers better security, allowing customers to eliminate viruses by a query command that deletes infected mail in one database system, instead of having to search through multiple independent servers for infected mail, Ellison said.
"What we're proposing is you keep your Microsoft Outlook, we'll make it unbreakable," Ellison said. "And unbreakable means you can't break it and you can't break in."
In promoting his database product, Oracle's CEO couldn't resist working in some criticism of the recent antitrust settlement between Microsoft and the U.S. Department of Justice. Ellison admitted that he uses Microsoft Outlook, but poked fun at Microsoft's bundling of software applications on Windows.
"There's nothing wrong with Outlook," he said. "It comes free with my computer. If it doesn't bother the Justice Department, it doesn't bother me. Microsoft is actually bundling lunch with computers now. Windows now costs $4,000 a year but it includes a sandwich every day. They have to move into new areas and innovate."
In a pre-keynote press conference, Ellison commented on the Microsoft settlement and actually congratulated his archrival.
"I'm congratulating them because they did a fantastic job," he said. "Complete victory for Microsoft, defeat for the government. It's a little bit like a bank robber being caught on video and the police saying, 'Oh, what the hell.' I give Microsoft credit for keeping a straight face."