Hardware

Hub spoke at Oracle's OpenWorld

Oracle President Charles Phillips talks data hubs and PeopleSoft during his conference keynote.

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By Dawn Kawamoto
CNET News.com

SAN FRANCISCO—Oracle unveiled on Monday plans to roll out additional data hubs designed to work with products from a variety of application vendors, including PeopleSoft—the target of Oracle's hostile takeover bid.

Data hubs and the takeover battle were two issues Oracle President Charles Phillips addressed during a keynote speech and press conference at Oracle's OpenWorld conference here.

"Our customer data hub is shipping already, and we're previewing other specialized data hubs that we expect to release shortly," Phillips said. "Our customer data hub is one of the hottest products we have. CIOs' eyes light up when they find out we have a customer data hub."

Oracle's customer data hub is designed to let incompatible applications communicate with one another and create a "system of record" for the customer information—ranging from orders to service history to contracts.

Oracle is also preparing to release a product data hub, a citizen data hub that will cater to government clients, a financial consolidation data hub and a financial services accounting hub.

"The data hub speaks to all the feeder systems like SAP, PeopleSoft, Siebel, legacy systems and outside data sources," Phillips said. "If you can put all the information in one place, that's good. But often people have disparate physical systems."

No ship date has been set for the additional data hubs, and Phillips would offer no clues beyond his use of the word "shortly."

Oracle customers, investors and industry players are also awaiting the outcome of a federal court decision in Delaware. That court is considering whether to lift PeopleSoft's antitakeover measure, otherwise known as a poison pill.

"We go before Judge Strine on Dec. 13, so we'll go from there," Phillips said when asked about Oracle's next step in its takeover bid—especially in light of its rival's stock price trading at virtually the same price as Oracle's offer of $24 a share.

Phillips said Oracle is focused on the outcome of the Delaware Chancery Court's decision and does not want to "predispose" its next 10 steps.

Oracle, however, has recently taken the step of forming a PeopleSoft CIO advisory council, Phillips said. That council focuses on addressing concerns of PeopleSoft customers, which have witnessed a protracted 18-month takeover battle.

Phillips also touted the advances Oracle has made with the grid computing initiative it introduced last year at OpenWorld.

Grid computing allows a company to pool the idle time of hundreds of its servers and databases and dynamically adjust and allocate that processing power to whichever system needs it the most at a particular time.

When Oracle rolled out its 10G grid computing product line, the company said it would make data centers less costly to run. Competitors like IBM and Microsoft, however, had beaten Oracle to the punch with their own respective grid computing efforts.

Nonetheless, Phillips said, "what differentiates Oracle and its competitors is Oracle can run its applications on multiple machines or blade servers, leaving the applications unchanged."

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