RE: Oracle's Internet File System

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From: Meltsner, Kenneth (
Date: Thu Dec 28 2000 - 20:18:51 PST

The fine print on iFS is interesting as well -- the best the previous version could do was to deliver content at about half the rate of NFS (IIRC) on a comparable machine. I don't know whether they've fixed this in the current version. Storing the metadata and the content in a database apparently caused the slowness, although Oracle felt the drop in performance was acceptable given the added functionality.

The alternative is patented by IBM -- put hooks in a traditional OS so that the file system is kept in sync with the RDBMS. Usual OS-speed for simple file service + fancy games with metadata queries for other applications.

In general, populating directories based on queries and providing a file's metadata from a real RDBMS is an especially cool idea, especially if you don't simply recreate the usual static hierarchy of directories. It makes the file service part of systems like the Streams from MirrorWorlds/Yale trivial. The Placeless Documents folks (probably at FoRK # = 1 or 2 so they can correct me if I'm wrong) did neat things with this idea at Xerox PARC as well.

Ken Meltsner

-----Original Message-----
From: Adam Rifkin []
Sent: Thursday, December 28, 2000 9:46 PM
Subject: Oracle's Internet File System

Oracle wrote about its Internet File System:
> ...the first major innovation to the file system in 20 years...

Are they for real?

> As a lightweight communications layer, WebDAV provides a stronger
> avenue for traffic across the Internet than Microsoft Windows.

Is it fair to compare WebDAV to Microsoft Windows?

> TIBCO's industry-leading XML Authority(TM) will fully support Oracle
> Internet File System schemas.

Extensibility was a schema-editing tool. Isn't it rude to refer to such
a tool as "industry-leading" in a press release?

> Oracle Ships Update to Its Internet File System
> Updated: Tuesday, December 19, 2000 08:02 AM ET
> Features Partnerships With Symantec, ValiCert and TIBCO;
> Adds to XML, Java and WebDAV Support
> REDWOOD SHORES, Calif. -- ( )
> Oracle Corp., the largest provider of software for e-business, today
> announced the immediate availability of the latest release of Oracle(R)
> Internet File System, delivering advanced security, enhanced XML
> features and greater protocol support. The latest version provides a
> multi-level security model that ensures the security, safety and
> integrity of documents within the file system, and allows developers to
> more easily write and deploy Internet-based applications in Java and XML.
> Oracle Internet File System, which began shipping in May 2000 as the
> first major innovation to the file system in 20 years, is an extensible
> file system for managing and accessing content, regardless of location
> or format, via the Internet. The latest version provides businesses with
> superior security, to help ensure that only authorized database users
> can access raw content stored in the database. By making access control
> a function of the repository rather than the protocol or application,
> Oracle Internet File System enables access to be evaluated and enforced
> in a consistent manner and prevents users from circumventing security
> via alternative methods. Oracle is also partnering with companies,
> including Symantec, to provide a broad range of additional Internet
> security features. Symantec is integrating its upcoming CarrierScan
> Server 2.0 anti-virus software into Oracle Internet File System.
> "As a leader in Internet security technology, it is logical that
> Symantec partner with Oracle to deliver comprehensive protection for
> Oracle Internet File System," said Dana Siebert, executive vice
> president, Symantec Corporation. "Direct integration of our anti-virus
> solution with Oracle Internet File System provides a higher level of
> performance and ease of implementation not usually found in ad hoc
> solutions."
> The update of Oracle Internet File System also offers developers the
> flexibility to extend the file system for e-business applications using
> the Java-based application programming interface (API), as well as the
> standard Internet languages Java, eXtensible Markup Language (XML) and
> Hyper Text Markup Language (HTML). Taking advantage of built-in content
> management features such as searching, versioning, check-in/check-out
> and event notification, developers no longer need to write or maintain
> their own code for these functions, allowing them to focus on
> higher-level application features. Oracle Internet File System also
> allows developers to write Internet-based applications in standard
> languages including Java and XML, so applications can be written for the
> Web, which also provides a significant step in easier collaborative
> computing.
> Additionally, the latest version of Oracle Internet File System supports
> Web Distributed Authoring and Versioning (WebDAV), which allows users to
> collaboratively edit and manage files across the Internet. As a
> lightweight communications layer, WebDAV provides a stronger avenue for
> traffic across the Internet than Microsoft Windows. WebDAV clients
> connect directly to Oracle Internet File System, where users can drag
> and drop content, edit content in place, and publish it directly from
> the database. The new technology helps companies like ValiCert (Nasdaq:
> VLCT, news, msgs), a premier provider of trust solutions for online
> business transactions, to create repositories, such as ValiCert Document
> Authority, that enable businesses to share, store, digitally sign and
> exchange electronic documents over the Internet-thus significantly
> reducing paper-based processes from business transactions.
> "When designing the ValiCert Document Authority, Oracle Internet File
> System provided us with the industrial-strength document management
> infrastructure necessary to support a legal-grade environment," said
> Sathvik Krishnamurthy, vice president of marketing and business
> development, ValiCert. "With the strength and scalability of Oracle
> Internet File System, ValiCert Document Authority has a strong
> foundation for adding our transaction and security capability."
> Furthering its commitment to XML, Oracle joined forces with TIBCO
> Software Inc. (Nasdaq: TIBX, news, msgs) a leading provider of real-time
> e-business infrastructure software. TIBCO's industry-leading XML
> Authority(TM) will fully support Oracle Internet File System
> schemas. Organizations can create and deploy new classes of objects
> within Oracle Internet File System through an intuitive and graphical
> user interface, allowing customers to locally view, edit, validate,
> convert, and deploy Oracle Internet File System schemas. With XML
> Authority, these schemas can be managed and exchanged across any
> platform, dramatically improving productivity.
> "TIBCO is committed to working with leading providers of XML-based
> technologies that enable the convergence of the data and document
> worlds," said Reid Conrad, vice president TIBCO Software. "XML Authority
> creates the means to bridge the two worlds via XML schemas, which
> customers of Oracle and Oracle Internet File System can utilize for
> enterprise-class data and document stores."
> The latest version of Oracle Internet File System is available now,
> free-of-charge, as part of Oracle8i, Release 3 on all major UNIX,
> Windows and Linux hardware platforms. Oracle Internet File System
> supports Microsoft Windows '95, Microsoft Windows '97 and Microsoft 2000
> client machines and enables other clients to connect through HTTP,
> WebDAV and FTP protocols. Oracle Internet File System has full National
> Language Support and complies with the American Disabilities Act.
> About Oracle
> Oracle provides the software that powers the Internet. For more
> information about Oracle, please call 650-506-7000.


"You have asked me how I feel about whiskey -- if, when you say whiskey, you mean the oil of conversation, the philosophic wine, the stuff that is consumed when good fellows get together, that puts a song in their hearts and laughter on their lips and a warm glow of contentment in their eyes; if you mean Christmas cheer; if you mean the stimulating drink that puts the spring in the old gentleman's step on a frosty morning, if you mean the drink that enables a man to magnify his joy, and his happiness and to forget, if only for a little while, life's great tragedies and heartbreaks and sorrows, if you mean that drink -- then certainly I am in favor of it."

-- Noah S. "Soggy" Sweat, Jr., to the Mississippi House, April 4, 1952,

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