Oracle Ogles SMBs at Show in Paris

By Clint Boulton | Posted October 23, 2003

Oracle took the time at its show in San Francisco to unveil the highly-touted "10g" grid computing approach to storing and serving files.

This week the Redwood Shores, Calif.-based software maker upped the ante on that strategy, announcing new database software perks and packages at its Oracle World Paris 2003 event, along with training and deployment options for midmarket vendors, including small and medium size businesses (SMBs) and departments in large enterprises.

While the event is one way for Oracle to build additional interest in its next-generation software, it will also, like the September event in San Francisco, feature a number of keynote speakers.

Bob Shimp, Oracle vice president of technology marketing, said on a conference call that Oracle will offer SMBs and departments of 1,000 people or less to purchase Standard Edition One, a one-processor, entry-level version of its Oracle 9i database, for $5,995 per processor or $195 per user with a minimum of five users. This, Shimp said, brings the entry price to the sub-$1,000 level.

In addition, technical staff can quickly get up to speed with Oracle Database 10g 2-Day Quickstart, a course that covers basic database administration, performance and tuning, and key security concepts. Database 10g may be installed with a single CD in 17 minutes, down from a few hours.

Shimp said Oracle wishes to make it clear to customers that 10G does not only cater to large businesses, but also to the midmarket. Compared to database rivals IBM and Microsoft, Oracle has always been the highest price vendor, which led to the perception that it doesn't cater to smaller businesses.

Shimp said Oracle's new Standard One Edition, available now in 9i and slated to roll out for 10G by year's end, should assuage such concerns and help Oracle better compete with IBM and Microsoft.

"SMB has been a significant part of business for our installed base, although we haven't traditionally made a lot of noise about what we've done in that area," Simp said. "We've been very strong in the Windows and Linux space and SMB is a significant part of our business strategy. We are aggressively expanding into embedded license market place.... We welcome competition from Microsoft and IBM in that space."

Shimp said Oracle's native support for XML data types, in which the new Microsoft Office 2003 can render Word documents as XML that may be stored in Oracle 10G, is a feature that competitors don't offer.

Oracle believes its 10g database's new self-management and automatic storage management features will help make the new software the standard database for SMBs and departments. The self-management capabilities are designed to eliminate repetitive tasks normally done by hand, as well as identify the source of problems and alert database administrators to the appropriate course of action.

Another feature, Automatic Storage Management (ASM), will automatically manage data files and storage subsystems, and distribute storage workload to find the best possible system performance, eliminating the need for third-party file and volume management software. Database 10g is also configured for automatic back-up and recovery, which will help SMBs avoid losing data.

Shimp clarified that these features are the fruit of the company's research division, which has been working feverishly to add management features to Oracle products, which were previously declared to be too complex to use.

This, Shimp said, is actually dubbed a form of artificial intelligence. Oracle calls it Automatic Database Diagnostic Monitor (ADDM), and it is a self-diagnostic engine built right into the database kernel. ADDM automatically monitors the state of the database at short, regular intervals (30 minutes by default), to provide database performance diagnostics. Shimp claimed ADDM is superior to manual management.

Such features have become necessary due to the increased inclusion of management functionality in the software stacks and platforms of vendors such as IBM and Sun Microsystems.

Oracle Database 10g is scheduled to be available by the end of the calendar year on HP-UX, Linux, Mac OS, Windows and Solaris platforms.

Seeking an even deeper penetration into the lower ends of the enterprise market, Oracle has also pledged to make it lucrative to embed Oracle Database 10g and Oracle Application Server 10g in partner solutions for the mid-market. This means independent software vendors (ISVs) and device manufacturers will be able to more easily embed Oracle software into an application, lower operational costs.

The company is also offering members of its PartnerNetwork its Embedded License Option for Database 10g and Application Server 10g. "Embedded" licensing means the product installs silently without the user aware that the database is being quequed up for use, Shimp said.

The Embedded Licensing Resource Kit contains tools, utilities and step-by-step documentation, making it easier for ISVs to integrate the installation and configuration of Oracle products into their applications.

OracleWorld Paris 2003 speakers for the next three days include: Oracle executive vice presidents Sergio Giacoletto and Charles Phillips; Shane V. Robison, executive vice president and chief technology and strategy officer, HP; Larry Ellison, chairman and chief executive officer, Oracle; Charles Rozwat, executive vice president of server technologies, Oracle; Dr. Adrian von Hammerstein, president and chief executive officer, Fujitsu Siemens Computers; Dan Warmenhoven, chief executive officer, Network Appliance; Ken Jacobs, vice president of product strategy, Oracle; Dr. Walid Moneimne, vice president enterprise, Dell EMEA; and Erez Ofer, executive vice president, technology strategy, EMC.

Adapted from internetnews.com.

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