Is Oracle Missing a Great Opportunity?

October 23, 2002
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I like to think I am open minded about technology. I have used a variety of database engines in the last seventeen years; xBase, Access, SQL Server, Sybase, Oracle, and DB2 to name a few. I like the direction Oracle 9i is taking and hope that Microsoft’s SQL Server takes some of the same direction. But I think Oracle is missing a great opportunity.

Both Microsoft and Oracle have produced equally incomplete ADO.NET Managed Providers for Oracle. I think it is time that Oracle step up to the plate and truly complete their implementation. After reviewing their Managed Provider’s Documentation for Beta 2, I am perplexed that the following support is missing:

  • Direct support for retrieving and submitting XML documents/fragments to
    Oracle as native .NET XML types (XmlReader/XmlWriter).
  • Direct support for Oracle’s complex types (e.g. Table, Row and Arrays).
  • Oracle’s DataReader implies support for multiple Result Sets, but unless I
    missed a product announcement, Oracle’s database engine does not support this.

To be blunt, the Microsoft/Oracle feud is petty and adolescent. I do not quite understand what Larry Ellison has to gain by not embracing .NET and Java. He is running a database company isn’t he? It is not a business mistake to try and take back some of the market share from SQL Server using Microsoft’s own .NET technology? By creating and releasing (at least a Beta at this point) an inferior Managed Provider, isn’t Oracle just creating another barrier for companies to purchase more Oracle licenses? It just doesn’t make and sense to me.