Last month I wrote about the forthcoming turf wars over the OLAP/data warehouse market, but really they're only skirmishes in the major database war between Microsoft and Oracle. Clearly, Microsoft can expect to capture enormous market share with SQL Server 7.0. Not only does SQL Server 7.0 represent an extremely significant upgrade, it's also the first version of SQL Server that can run on a Win 9x system--something that Oracle has been able to do for years (although one doesn't hear of many people using it). Oracle8i, of course, will offer another incremental step towards Oracle's vision of a Java-enabled object/relational database. And both vendors are offering new versions of their incompatible repositories as well. Microsoft's playbook seems to be to flood the market and ship Microsoft Repository 2.0 with SQL Server 7.0, all versions of Windows NT BackOffice and the new Visual Studio 6.0 (VS6) Enterprise Edition. Oracle isn't likely to give its repository away, but will undoubtedly include Oracle Repository 7.0 as part of Oracle Designer 2.1 (formerly Oracle Designer/2000).

As an aside, Oracle developers should take advantage of Oracle's spiffed up Oracle Developer Program (ODT) at http://technet.oracle.com. It's not as extensive as Microsoft's on-line and subscription MSDN (Microsoft Developer Network, http://msdn.microsoft.com/ developer), and Oracle doesn't offer free on-line access to its equivalent of the incredible Microsoft Knowledge Base (http://support.microsoft.com), but it's getting better. I think Oracle's Conversion/Migration guides are particularly useful. When I checked in August, for example, you could download conversion guides for any of the following: HP ALLBASE/SQL, IBM AS/400, Pervasive Software (formerly Btrieve), c-tree plus, Centura (formerly Gupta), DataFlex, IBM DB2, Informix, Ingres, InterBase, Microsoft Access, Microsoft FoxPro, Microsoft SQL Server, M (formerly MUMPS), ODBC (including Clipper and Paradox), Oracle Rdb, Progress, Raima, Sybase, Unify, Watcom, XDB and ZIM.

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