Oracle Pushes Data Hubs For Mixed Environments

Speaking in front of a crowd of 25,000 attendees, Oracle President Charles Phillips cited the Redwood Shores, Calif.-based vendor's pre-packaged data marts, along with the expected second release this week of the Oracle 10g database, as two integral pieces of Oracle's product strategy for both partners and customers.

Oracle announced and shipped its first Customer Data Hub this past January. Now at this week's giant customer confab, which for the first time combines Oracle applications and technology into one conference, Oracle will preview variations on that software for managing data related to products, government citizens, finances and operational data within large financial services companies.

Phillips repeatedly talked up data hubs as an additional revenue opportunity for partners.

"The Customer Data Hub is one of the hottest products we have," Phillips told a group of analysts and journalists after the keynote. "Now we are previewing additional hubs for different hubs, with specialized data types. Some people want it for products, others want it for people."

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Oracle did not announce availability or pricing for its upcoming Product Data Hub, Citizen Data Hub, Financial Consolidation Hub or Financial Services Accounting Data Hub. The product-focused hub gives companies a single, global catalog of product information gleaned from a variety of disparate systems. With the Citizen Data Hub, government agencies can create and manage a single repository of all citizen-related data. The hub for financial consolidation offers a single repository for all financial data rolled up from a company's various departments and subsidiaries. Finally, the Financial Services Accounting Hub helps large financial organizations deal with the wealth of complex data needed to comply with a range of regulatory issues, such as Basel II and Sarbanes-Oxley.

Phillips said all of these four data hubs are fairly far along in development. He would not provide a timeframe for when they would be released, however. Neither would Oracle provide more details on the second release of the Oracle 10G database.

Despite Oracle's emphasis on these new offerings, it was unclear how these touted Data Hubs differ from existing data marts, which aggregate up-to-date information pertinent for given applications. Asked exactly what the difference between Oracle's hub and these other offerings is, one large integrator who asked not to be named said: "Marketing."

In many ways, Oracle's line of data hubs compete against IBM's WebSphere Product Center, which IBM released in July after its March acquisition of Trigo Technologies. The WebSphere product can manage data for both people as well as products, as well as manage workflow and business processes. It does not handle financial data, however.