Thursday, July 31, 2008

OWB turns five this year

By all accounts, the first release of OWB was underwhelming. That’s a characterization even Oracle officials are comfortable with. Oracle prides itself on its tradition of technology innovation—was actually second to market with integrated ETL: Microsoft kicked off the trend when it incorporated both ETL and OLAP features into its SQL Server 7.0 database, which shipped in 1998. Prior to delivering the first version of OWB in 2000, Oracle OEM-ed a series of data-mart suites powered by ETL technology from the former Sagent.

“Early releases of the product, to be honest, probably weren’t what a lot of customers were hoping for,” says Paul Narth, a senior group manager with Oracle who heads up the OWB 10g R2 (“Paris”) product effort.
“So they might have had exposure to it in the beginning, and many of them might have written it off. We’re finding that with recent releases, [customers] have started to come around. If they were exposed to it in the early days but haven’t checked it out since then, they owe it to themselves to give it another look.”

OWB’s biggest selling point—aside from its unparalleled performance on the Oracle 10g database, of course—is probably its price:
1. OWB ships with Oracle’s Developer Suite, which retails for a flat $5,000 per named developer.

2. A version of OWB is also bundled with Oracle Business Intelligence, a flavor of the Oracle Application Server that’s optimized for BI.

3. Oracle doesn’t layer any processor or user-licensing restrictions on top of this flat fee, Narth claims—although there is an extra charge for connectivity into non-

4.Oracle data sources, which include IBM DB2 UDB (as well as DB2 on the mainframe), Microsoft SQL Server, Sybase, Oracle’s ERP stack, PeopleSoft’s ERP stack, and—of course—SAP.

5. Has connectivity into non-Oracle data sources, Narth claims, OWB is a much more affordable option than the best-of-breed ETL tools.

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