Oracle Database Upgrade Could Provide A Boost To Channel Sales


"People are trying to get the most out of what they own," said Lori Fazeli, regional sales manager with Cloud Creek Systems, a solution provider and Oracle reseller based in Agoura Hills, Calif. And that need to keep costs down is what's driving many sales today, she said.

Oracle Database 11g Release 2 began shipping Sept. 1. And while the new software is packed with whiz-bang features, such as the 10x performance improvement in query performance for data warehouses, many -- if not most -- of the new capabilities are designed to help control IT costs through server consolidation, reduced data storage requirements, and improved database administrator productivity.

"The time savings and the people savings are phenomenal," said Gartner analyst Donald Feinberg, of the potential payoff to users of the new database.

Customers are particularly interested in such cost-saving capabilities as the product's "grid plug and play" feature that reduces the cost of installing and configuring server nodes, said Rich Niemiec, president of Rolta TUSC, a subsidiary of Rolta International and an Oracle channel partner. He also predicted that tools such as the automated storage management file system snapshots that help database administrators work more efficiently will drive sales.

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The new release is an important one for Oracle. The vendor's pattern for the last 10 years or so has been to develop two releases of each generation of the Oracle database. Somewhere between 15 percent and 20 percent of Oracle database customers generally adopt the first release while the majority hold off and adopt the second release, said Andrew Mendelsohn, senior vice president of Oracle server technologies, in a phone conference.

While some Oracle database owners have upgraded to Oracle Database 11g Release 1, which debuted in 2007, most are currently using the older Oracle database 10g Release 2, Mendelsohn said. "So it's important for us to get this release out," he said.

"If they had decided to call this [Oracle Database] '12g,' I wouldn't have been surprised," said Feinberg, noting the number of improvements in the software. He said a number of Oracle customers are still using Oracle Database 9i, an even earlier generation of the product, and he predicts many of them will skip 10g altogether and upgrade to 11g Release 2.

"There's significant pent-up demand," said Niemiec. While a lot of businesses have cut back on their IT spending, Niemiec said many of his customers are taking a close look at the new database and making plans to buy and implement it. "There's been a significant increase in demand for presentations we give about 11g in the U.S. and Europe," he added.

Cloud Creek's Fazeli said that product sales have been slow during the recession, but demand for the company's professional services has remained steady. But the company's sales pipeline for the first and second quarters of 2010 is looking better, she added.