Oracle's 'Beehive' Approach to Market Share

Open server leverages existing infrastructure, including Microsoft's Active Directory.

SAN FRANCISCO -- Oracle's got a new stinger to use against Microsoft's (NASDAQ: MSFT) market share with Exchange Server and SharePoint products, thanks to its BEA acquisition.

It's called Oracle Beehive, which Oracle's president Charles Phillips described as a collaboration server that runs on Windows, Linux and Unix and supports third party applications.

Beehive was the brainchild of BEA, which Oracle (NASDAQ: ORCL) purchased in January of this year for $8.5 billion.

Oracle Beehive has "all the functions for communications -- chat, e-mail, voice mail, and co-ordination of calendars and other collaboration tools," said Chuck Rozwat, Oracle's executive vice president, product development.

"E-mails and calendars and other communication and collaboration applications use their own databases, security mechanisms and have their own way of identifying users, and Beehive integrates all these together," Rozwat said during a keynote at the OracleWorld conference here today.

"You have centralized user identification, policy management, security management across all products, and it's all on one server," he told a packed hall of conference attendees.

During remarks, Rozwat and Phillips clearly indicated Oracle Beehive is aimed at Microsoft Exchange Server and SharePoint Server. "You can share events and calendars with Microsoft Exchange, so you can move to Beehive in incremental steps," Rozwat said. Oracle uses Beehive in-house, and "instead of having hundreds of SharePoint Servers, we use a handful of Beehive servers," Phillips said.

Like Microsoft Exchange Server 2007, Beehive has a unified messaging feature. It also offers a Workspace feature into which all files and folders relevant to a user or a team, ranging from e-mails to internet messaging to voice mails, can be stored. Rozwat said Beehive works with any client, "Outlook, Apple, (NASDAQ: AAPL) Mozilla, and different open source calendars," and has an open development platform so users can use industry standard development tools to build applications.

Users can share documents, e-mails, instant messages and calendars, and system administration is easy. The True Delete feature lets administrators delete all documents in a workspace, even those stored on a user's hard drive.

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