10g RAC

By Lisa Vaas  |  Posted 2004-03-15 Print this article Print

: Sitting pretty"> With that hesitancy having played out to some degree, and with RAC easier to implement than ever, 10g is looking at a much more open reception. As of November, some two years into RACs release, Oracle had more than 1,000 RAC customers. Of those, estimates put the number of live, production-level implementations at between 500 and 600. Now, thats already better than what Oracle achieved in five years with OPS, so its easy to see why analysts are pointing to 10g and its version of RAC as the fuel behind Oracles future growth. Editors Note: According to Oracle, in September Oracle actually had 2,600+ Oracle RAC customers. But lets put those numbers in perspective and not get carried away by Oracles grid hype. In a statement on Thursdays earnings report, Ellison pointed to the companys earnings growth as having been fueled by the database business, which grew 16 percent, with sales of RAC technology soaring 86 percent. Dont swallow those numbers whole. While 10g is on track to have a much healthier and quicker adoption rate than predecessor 9i, Oracles numbers on RAC are a little fishy. For example, Ellison said that Oracle now has some 3,500 RAC customers.
The math doesnt exactly compute. While number of customers doesnt necessarily correlate to amount of revenues, it would seem that an increase to 3,500 live customers from 500 to 600 would entail far more revenue. The question begs of itself: Of that 3,500 customer base, how many are live and in production? Remember, Oracle recently declared that it would be giving RAC away. Can we assume, of that 3,500 figure for RAC customers, that few are actually paying customers?
None of this is meant to imply that Oracles grid message isnt a good one. But, as is typical of any vendors message, it does seem that the recent news on RAC sales is confusing at best, if not misleading. Advice from me and industry experts Ive spoken with on the subject: Oracle 10g is hot, but take the grid message with a grain of salt. Editors Note: When initially contacted to verify the facts presented in this editorial, Oracle declined to give details on RAC customers. However, after this story initially ran, an Oracle spokesman did contact me to correct the numbers on RAC customers that I had gleaned from an analyst firm. As it turns out, in September Oracle had 2,600+ Oracle RAC customers. That makes the increase to 3,500 RAC customers far less fishy. However, it would still be nice to know how many of those customers are paying customers—a figure that Oracle releases to financial analysts but not to the press. For example, Oracle CFO Jeff Henley in the fall gave a presentation to financial analysts in which he cited 2,000 RAC customers, 400 of which were live. I apologize for the inaccurate customer number, but I stand by my initial contention that, given the low in-production rate, grids getting its share of hype. Have you tinkered with RAC? Tell me how you like it, at lisa_vaas@comcast.net. eWEEK.com Database Center Editor Lisa Vaas has written about enterprise applications since 1997. Check out eWEEK.coms Database Center at http://database.eweek.com for the latest database news, views and analysis. Be sure to add our eWEEK.com database news feed to your RSS newsreader or My Yahoo page:  

Lisa Vaas is News Editor/Operations for eWEEK.com and also serves as editor of the Database topic center. Since 1995, she has also been a Webcast news show anchorperson and a reporter covering the IT industry. She has focused on customer relationship management technology, IT salaries and careers, effects of the H1-B visa on the technology workforce, wireless technology, security, and, most recently, databases and the technologies that touch upon them. Her articles have appeared in eWEEK's print edition, on eWEEK.com, and in the startup IT magazine PC Connection. Prior to becoming a journalist, Vaas experienced an array of eye-opening careers, including driving a cab in Boston, photographing cranky babies in shopping malls, selling cameras, typography and computer training. She stopped a hair short of finishing an M.A. in English at the University of Massachusetts in Boston. She earned a B.S. in Communications from Emerson College. She runs two open-mic reading series in Boston and currently keeps bees in her home in Mashpee, Mass.

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