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12/9/2003
05:22 PM
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Oracle Ships Application Server 10g

New version is designed for grid computing using low-cost Intel servers.

Oracle will make available on Wednesday its Application Server 10g, a version of the software designed for grid computing.

Details of the server software, which manages and serves up multiple applications to remote users on a grid of low-cost Intel servers, were unveiled at the OracleWorld user conference in September. Like past versions, 10g also will run on a large Intel or Unix server, says V.J. Tella, Oracle's chief strategy officer.

Mike McDermott, chief operations officer at Cisco Inc., a company that provides consulting services for Oracle technologies, says the grid feature is important. "Seventy-five percent of our customers in the past year have been asking to run Oracle on dual-processor servers running Red Hat Linux," McDermott says, adding that that's a shift away from running Oracle Application Server on large Unix servers. Cost savings is the driving factor, McDermott says.

Oracle has been trying to expand its customer base for Application Server by lowering prices, optimizing for grid computing, and adding features. Robert Shimp, Oracle's VP of technology marketing, says the company has seen success with those efforts and now boasts 16,000 licenses for the software, which he says "is the best metric" of that success.

Research firms IDC's figures have consistently shown IBM's WebSphere and BEA Systems Inc.'s WebLogic vying for the lead in the application-server market, based on revenue from sales. Last year, Oracle began offering Application Server free as part of a bundle to independent software vendors, who then provide it to their customers as part of a larger system. The practice complicates accurate counts in the application-server marketplace, analysts say.

Oracle Application Server 10g Enterprise edition sells for $20,000 per processor and includes a portal-building application and a content-management software development kit. The Standard edition also includes the portal application and is priced at $10,000 per processor. The software is available for as little as $5,000 per processor in its plain Java edition, which doesn't include the Oracle Portal and other applications.

In addition to grid computing, Application Server 10g supports a new standard, the Web Services Interoperability Organization's recently released Basic Profile 1.1. Following the standard enables developers to easily implement Application Server 10g as a Web service and work with other application servers following the same standard, Shimp says.

IBM and BEA lead the application-server market with a 27.5% market share each, according to the most recent figures from IDC. Oracle is third witth 17%.

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