Oracle announced last week that they
are debuting a new "flagship" database OracleWorld Paris:
Oh boy, here we go again. Don?t you
just love Oracle's habit of changing names with each new release? Oracle
is confusing enough without the constant name changes! I have enough
trouble remembering to call Oracle networking products SQL*Net with an
Oracle7 client, Net8 with Oracle8 clients, and Oracle*Net with Oracleclients.
Now, I don?t like this announcement,
but I understand it. As I see it, Oracle has no choice but to re-name
their database after their name change for Oracle Apps, where some
marketing genius decided to re-name Oracle Applications to Oracle11i
What were they thinking? Every week, I
get at least two e-mails from Oracle neophytes who want to know how to
upgrade their database from Oracleto Oracle11i.
So, how important is the name of the
Oracle database, really?
It?s All in the Name
This is not the first time that Oracle
has tried to re-name their database offerings. Many of you may remember
back to 1996 when Oracle bundled the Oracle7.3 database with the ConText
cartridge and called it the Oracle Universal Server (OUS). To many
industry analysts, this re-naming appeared to be an attempt to compete
with IBM, who had just launched their Universal Database (UDB) offering.
As we know, the OUS name was not very
well-received. Pronounced "Owwwz", it sounded like a bad imitation of
Fonzie from the "Happy Days" television sitcom. Eventually, Oracle
changed the name of OUS to the equally catchy Oracle8, back in 1997. In
case you think I?m making this up, here is Steve Roti?s article on
Oracle Universal Server
from OReview magazine back in 1996.
The next re-naming happened when the
successor to Oracle 8.1.7 was developed. Instead of calling it Oracle
8.2, Oracle added the letter "i" to the end of Oracle8, so they could
market Oracle8i as an "Internet" database. Excuse me, just what the heck
is an "Internet" database, anyway? Silly me, I thought that the Internet
was the network between the databases.
Interestingly, Oracle was not the first
database vendor to add a letter to the end of their name in hopes of
changing its? market persona. Back in the Pleistocene Era of database
management (about 1987), Cullinet Software (makers of the IDMS database)
was concerned about competition from the nascent relational databases.
Rather than re-write IDMS as a relational database (IDMS is a CODASYL
Network database), Cullinet added SQL functionality and changed the name
to IDMS/R, in hopes that the Data Processing community would think of
IDMS as a relational database.
Even though I worry that Oracle might
choose a really dumb name for Oracle10x, I?m even more worried that
Oracle may choose multiple names for Oracle10x. If you think that this
is too crazy, just look at Oracle?s history of multiple names:
Stored Outlines Optimizer Plan Stability
Virtual Private Databases Row
Oracle label security
Oracle Internet Directory LDAP
Personally, I think Oracle Corporation
should have a contest to get the new name for Oracle10x, just like the
San Diego Zoo does when they need a name for a baby elephant.
Think about the possibilities. Oracle could run a huge media blitz
titled "Name that Binary Executable" and give out valuable prizes to the
winner. Gosh, Larry Ellison could even participate; he could donate
last-years yacht and throw-in one of those spiffy Oracle T-shirts.
But I doubt that Oracle would sponsor a
naming contest. Oracle is a giant Corporation, and they probably have
experts with MBAs in Software Naming Psychology to choose the new name.
These experts will likely conduct extensive market surveys, carefully
analyze the subliminal appeal of a new name, and choose the "best" new
name for the Oracle database, just like they did back in 1996.
With Oracle?s history of creative
naming, it is anybody's guess what Oracle10x might be called.
Personally, I think that Oracle was on
the right track in 1996 with Oracle Universal Server name, but failed
because OUS could not be easily pronounced as an acronym. Mish-mosh
names like OracleAS are way too smushed-up and cryptic, and I think
that Oracle will get more creative. What Oracle needs is an acronym that
can be easily pronounced, and also includes descriptive words about the
Oracle10x technology. The descriptive words for an acronym-based name
are likely to include "relational", "Internet", "database", "warehouse",
"engine" or "application". Hence, here are some guesses:
- Oracle?s Giant Relational Engine -
- Relational Oracle Internet Database
System - ROIDS
- Warehouse Oracle Retrieval Engine -
- Oracle Dynamic Database - ODD
- A name to compete with Microsoft-
- Oracle Application Framework -
However, I know that there is another
school-of-thought about software naming. Many Oracle professionals think
that it is way-cool to have numbers inside the name, like Windows-97,
Lotus-123 and Catch-22. My guess is that the Oracle Marketing MBAs may
try names with subliminal meanings to increase the appeal of Oracle.
Here are my numerical name guesses:
- Make the name have sex appeal:
- Introduce Oracle with a time-payment
- Appeal to the satanic cult market:
Sadly, I?m not a highly-trained
Marketing MBA, so I doubt that my guesses will be correct.