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Oracle 10g Hits The Streets

The Oracle 10g database for Linux and Unix is now ready for download from the web, a few weeks ahead of the Windows version.
The Oracle 10g database has hit the Web at last, at least for Unix and Linux. The Windows version of the database will follow within weeks, Oracle executives said Tuesday.

The company hopes this database release will better penetrate small businesses as well as the enterprises where Oracle is already strong.

With the newly repriced Standard Edition One version coming in at $4,995 per processor, the company said it is better positioned to target smaller companies. It maintained that pricing will put Oracle on a price parity with Microsoft SQL Server. The alternative named-user price for that version was also cut from $195 per named user to $149 for a minimum of five users.

"It's clear we have a multipronged approach to enter the lower end of the market, which we feel we weren't penetrating before and, clearly, taking this step we believe is going to drive additional market share for those environments that we were not previously able to penetrate because of price point," Jacqueline Woods, vice president of Global Practices, Global Pricing and Licensing Strategy, told reporters in a conference call Tuesday morning. For more on Oracle's midmarket push, see story.

The company has worked to add better and easier-to-use management and diagnostic tools to enable VARs and integrators to manage customers remotely.

Besides the Oracle Standard Edition One price cuts, the company is now offering two-node Real Application Clustering for free with its Standard Edition database, which retains its list price of $15,000 per CPU. CRN broke the news of Oracle's price/packaging moves last week. (See related story.)

In other moves, the company has added a new Configuration Manager pack to its Enterprise Manager lineup. That pack, like the existing diagnostic, tuning and change management packs for Oracle 9i, will list for $3,000 each per CPU. For a limited time, buyers who get all four can do so for $10,000, Woods said.

Robert Shimp, vice president of technology marketing at the Redwood Shores, Calif.-based company, said Oracle developers worked hard to ensure that the database is easy for integrators to get up and running so they can focus on their value-add. "We're providing more support capabilities, the ability to download patches, [and done things] so they can automatically and remotely manage customers. There's a lot of appealing things for integrators and VARs," he noted.

The Grid Control and Database Control capabilities Oracle has touted at various gatherings for the past year are included in the enterprise edition of Oracle 10g. That product also retains its $40,000 per-CPU list price,

Database rivals Microsoft and IBM both said Oracle's ease of use and management message mimics their own. An IBM Software spokeswoman said it was interesting to see that Oracle is following the company's lead in manageability and focus on the midmarket.

While Oracle may have made great strides offering a more usable database for the masses, it faces challenges convincing channel players that it can be a good partner, several VARs and integrators said.

The company, with a historical direct-sales focus, has had a rocky time convincing partners to work with it. Oracle executives disputed that notion. "I think you'll see that [perception] is changing, it's clearly changed. ... We're working with systems integrators and partners to sell more product," said Woods.

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