oracle's online Archive Archiving has become a huge deal for organizations large and small as rules and regulations dictate how easily information needs to be available for compliance and legal purposes. So it's no surprise that enterprise content management vendors are incorporating these requirements into their solution offerings. Oracle, being no exception, has developed the Oracle Online Archive that uses their database as a storage repository for all types of content, including email, files, etc. Seems like they have been down this road before though. Does a "single solution for all content types" work in the real world?

Universal Online Archive

We told you a bit about this new Universal Online Archive a few weeks ago. Oracle calls it a "new class" of solution that focuses on managing historical information that isn't changing but needs to be accessible for a variety of reasons including compliance, e-discovery, imaging and business continuity. In addition, because the information still needs to be accessible, it does still have a lifecycle that needs to be carefully managed by some kind of policy manager.

Oracle File System

This isn't the first time Oracle has attempted to create a single solution for all content. Back in 2005 they released their new Enterprise Content Management (ECM) technology, Oracle(R) Files 10g. This solution also involved the Oracle database in addition to their Application Server. The offering combined file management and sharing with policy-based document management. Oracle claimed Oracle Files 10g "facilitated regulatory compliance with advanced records management functionality."

Not the Only Archiving Game in Town

With archiving requirements being so high profile, the number of vendors currently selling their solutions includes the likes of Tower Software and HP, IBM and EMC Documentum. In fact, EMC Documentum just announced their plans for their combined archiving and records management offering which is the next generation of their EmailXtender technology. Their solution is also a "one solution fits all content" offering. According to Alan Pelz-Sharpe of CMS Watch, Documentum is defining moving itself into a market that will compete directly with Oracle.

Does One Solution Fit All Content

According to an AIIM survey, many organizations don't believe that email archiving is really happening in a way that helps them retrieve the information they need from email quickly, if at all. This could be the stumbling block for ECM vendors offering up single archive solution offerings. Is it really possible to have one solution that meets the needs of all content types? It almost seems like several integrated solutions may be the better option and may allow clients to better plan their archiving solutions. ECM vendors, like Oracle and EMC, however, seem to see this single product as the future for content management and archiving. Time will tell if they are biting off more than they can handle and we once again see them back at the drawing board for solution offerings.