Oracle serves up upgrades and partnerships

Oracle Corp. announced the second release of its Oracle9i database and partnership with Red Hat Inc. to further promote the Linux platform and even drew Dell Computer Corp. into the fold.

To go along with the second release of the 9i, Oracle also announced that the 9i Application Server and J Developer tool are now shipping.

Oracle yesterday detailed its plans to optimize its database and clustering software for Red Hat’s Linux Advanced Server.

“Within the next couple of months we expect to see Linux overtake Windows as the most popular operating system to download 9i,” said Mark Jarvis, chief marketing operating for Oracle via a conference call.

He pointed out that Oracle has been onboard with Linux since 1999, as the first company to deliver a relational database on the Linux platform. IDC U.S. numbers suggest that the current US$50 million Linux market will grow by at least 10 times by 2006. “We see Linux gaining enormous popularity out there, both with the developers and within the enterprise,” he said.

Dell entered the fold by virtue that it has certified its PowerEdge servers to run Oracle9i database Release 2 and Red Hat Linux Advanced Server operating system. In the upcoming months, Dell will also offer certified configurations of its hardware for Oracle9i Real Application Clusters.

Dell has also agreed to resell Oracle software licenses with its hardware products; until now customers had to go to Oracle to receive a license key that would activate their database.

The renewed effort by Oracle to offer its database software on Intel-based servers running Linux could spell trouble for Sun Microsystems Inc., which builds powerful Unix servers that are widely used to run Oracle software. As Linux is considered a close cousin of Unix, customers who don’t need the power of a Sun server could turn to Linux as a less expensive alternative and one that has a familiar feel for system administrators, said Mark Shainman, senior research analyst for the Meta Group in Cambridge, Mass.

Continuing on the competition front, IBM Corp., has also become a major player in the Linux market. The company has been supporting clusters of Linux servers with its DB2 database software license since December 2000, the company said in a statement.

But while the clustering aspect has been highly touted by Oracle, the shift now is that Oracle and Linux are now apart of the same circle and could move Oracle into a new market.

“This doesn’t present so much a problem for Microsoft as it does a solution for Oracle. It’s a step forward in addressing some of the issues at the lower end of the marketplace that they’ve had,” said Warren Shiau, software analyst for IDC in Toronto.

With Microsoft and IBM and either end posing as competition, Shiau said that long-term, the move would allow Oracle to enter the SMB market, an area that they have traditionally had difficulty entering.

Oracle can be reached at IDC Canada is at

– With files from IDG.

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