New Dell-Oracle Bundles For SMBs

Dell will offer the Oracle 10g Standard Edition One database on some of its servers for as little as $4,000, Dell Chairman Michael Dell said in a conference call hosted with Oracle CEO Larry Ellison on April 6.

Oracle 10g Standard Edition One is limited for use on single machines with one or two processors. A Dell-Oracle bundle is available now with Red Hat Enterprise Linux starting at $4,108, and the PowerEdge 2600 and 2650 servers are expected to be available with the database and Red Hat Linux or Windows Server 2003 later this year.

The companies already have joint marketing programs in place, but some in the channel doubt whether the support will be enough to open new doors.

"When someone wants to [implement] an Oracle database at our client, it's something they're just not ordering over the telephone," said Steve Israel, executive vice president of New York-based solution provider AMC. "They need the support, they need the depth of the reseller channel to support something like that."

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Other observers predict an uphill battle against Microsoft in the SMB space.

"The VAR channels that are established in SMBs are very closely associated and tied to applications, and that's where Microsoft dominates," said Mark Shainman, senior analyst at Meta Group. "When organizations buy specific accounting applications, what they find more often than not is that the VAR or the ISV will have that application plus the database. Microsoft's strong established VAR channel in SMB gives it a huge advantage."

On the flip side, delays to Microsoft's next-generation SQL Server database may give Oracle a chance to entrench its 10g database and Real Application Clustering (RAC) in accounts and even make a run at Microsoft's installed base.

Earlier this year Oracle announced a bundle of RAC clustering on its midlevel 10g Standard Edition Database. RAC is otherwise sold as a $20,000-per-CPU option for the pricier Enterprise Edition of the database.

While Ellison mentioned the word "exclusive" during the call, Dell sells and will continue to sell Microsoft software,including Small Business Server, one version of which includes SQL Server,on its machines.

"It's about customer choice and providing value," Dell said. "[Oracle 10g Standard Edition One] will be priced very competitively and will have great brand appeal with large portions of the market."