Oracle Launches Database 11g

And the company is touting new strength in its distribution channel as a key driver of its dive into the small and mid-size data space as it rolls the product out.

In a launch event at the Equitable Auditorium in New York City, Oracle executives touted Oracle 11g's new functions including automatic SQL tuning, partition advisors and application testing as important new advances in their flagship product.

"There is nothing like the introduction of a new Oracle database product," said Oracle President Charles Phillips. "There is something special about this product. It's foundational."

Oracle is also pitching 11g as the only database designed for grid computing, and scalable from server blades to large clustered systems. The launch comes at a time when Oracle continues to maintain market share of about 47 percent in the database space, bringing it $7.2 billion in revenue.

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"We're not only gaining market share, but bringing new technology to market in those areas where we say this is about the future of database management," Phillips said. Oracle's growth in cluster deployments is about 28 percent, he said.

During the launch, Phillips pointed to the company's fairly new and enhanced relationships with distributors and other channel forces including Ingram Micro, CDW, Tech Data, Avnet and Dell.

"We have a lot of partners who have been watching what we've done every year," Phillips said. "These distributors have stepped up and come to us. These are distributors who we didn't do a lot of business with us several years ago. They are stepping up and taking a lot of business to the low end of the market. We are very happy to work with these new partners."

He said Oracle, which has traditionally maintained a long roster of Fortune 500 companies in its customer ranks, now counts 190,000 small and mid-sized businesses as using its database software. Oracle lists 15,000 partners, including 350 who previewed 11g.

The company has been embarking on a strategy to provide some versions of its product lineup - - including small and mid-sized business-tailored Oracle Standard Edition (SE) and Oracle Standard Edition One (SE One) - - to the channel through distributors.

In a press conference after the launch event, Phillips said 11g would sell through the channel under the same model, and noted that 11g Enterprise edition would be available to the channel, but that many solution providers would still find SE and SE One a better fit in SMB engagements.

Phillips said 11g was tailored to grapple with existing market needs including new data types, like inclusion of RFID tags and digital medical images; better real-time data and real-time access; increasing security and compliance needs.

With advanced partitioning and compression capabilities, 11g is aimed at allowing a network to better compress data on a disc, and more efficient management of older and legacy data that can be placed on less-expensive systems for occasional queries. Oracle will now provide for online upgrades and patches for 11g, a function it had not previously provided for database systems. That will allow for system enhancements without taking a database down.

"It took us a couple of years but we've figured it out. It's a breakthrough. No one else does that," Phillips said.