Dell targets SMBs with Oracle bundle

In a move aimed at small and midsize businesses, Dell Inc. Tuesday said it will sell Oracle Corp.’s Standard Edition One database software preinstalled on two-processor PowerEdge servers.

The announcement comes a year after the two companies announced a partnership to push clusters of low-cost, standards-based systems running Oracle software. At that time, Dell CEO Michael Dell said that his company had already sold 22,000 servers running Oracle database software. During a conference call Tuesday, Dell said that number has grown to 30,000.

Under the deal announced Tuesday, Dell will sell PowerEdge 2650 and PowerEdge 2600 servers that have been tested and configured to support the Oracle software. Dell will act as the single point of contact for support for both the hardware and software installation. The combined hardware and software platforms, with Red Hat Enterprise Linux, are available for order now starting at about US$4,000.

Dell will factory-install Oracle Standard Edition One with Red Hat Linux and Windows on the PowerEdge 2600 and 2650 servers, Dell says.

The idea is to provide small and midsize customers — and branch offices of larger businesses — with an easy-to-deploy database that can grow as business needs grow, the companies said.

“You can start with a single computer, and as you need more capacity, it really is an on-demand system, so the system scales out rather than scales up,” Larry Ellison, Oracle’s CEO, said during Tuesday’s conference call. “You just plug another server into your computing grid as you need more performance and you need more scale.”

Oracle software can run on pretty much any hardware platform, but the agreement on Tuesday is exclusive to Dell, the CEOs said.

“We have been pushing grid technology very hard, not only in our small- and medium-size customers, but even with our large customers. We’re encouraging them to use groups or grids of small machines to take on their largest computing tasks,” Ellison said. “I can’t think of a better partner than Dell, who focuses on small machines and turning those small machines into grids.”

Underlining its focus on clustering smaller systems, Dell last summer shelved its eight-processor line of servers.

“As far as other partners, clearly Oracle runs on all different operating systems and all different computers, but when we’re talking about prepackaging the software with the hardware, making it easy to use, easy to buy, easy to install, easy to get support, Dell is our perfect partner,” Ellison added.

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