Oracle To Acquire TimesTen

After buying Retek, Oblix and PeopleSoft, Oracle on Thursday said it plans to acquire TimesTen, a realtime database specialist.

Terms of the agreement, expected to close by the end of next month, weren't disclosed. Executives from both companies painted the deal as highly complementary. Oracle tends to run large back-end databases, while TimesTen runs in the middle tier for realtime handling of subsets of that data, according to Jim Groff, CEO of Mountain View, Calif.-based TimesTen.

TimesTen's customers include telecommunications carriers, financial services companies and defense firms--all of which use applications "where milliseconds matter," Groff told press and industry analysts on a conference call Thursday morning.

Oracle and TimesTen have significant customer overlap, Groff said. For example, a company may use Oracle at the back end to manage and maintain all customer data, a tiny subset of which--billing and service information--gets pulled forward to TimesTen when a customer calls into a call center, he said.

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Andy Mendelsohn, senior vice president of database server technologies at Oracle, said the Redwood Shores, Calif.-based company's size will give TimesTen more exposure to large integrators and VARs.

"Amdocs, the large telecom billing vendor, is a major VAR partner of both Oracle and TimesTen. When you run that solution, it runs atop a combination. But access to major system integrators is a challenge for a private company," Mendelsohn said. "This gives it credibility that causes major integrators to pay attention."

TimesTen's realtime caching and in-memory systems often compete with homegrown solutions built by IT staff as well as embedded database players, Groff noted.

VARs said the deal furthers Oracle's goal to build up its Fusion middleware infrastructure. "It's interesting because even as Oracle is clearly driving down into the lower-end markets, it's continuing to position itself against IBM in these big, big accounts," said Ron Zapar, CEO of Re-Quest, an Oracle integrator in Chicago. The telecom implementations run "tons and tons of processing transactions," he added.