Oracle Corp. quietly began shipping Oracle Database 10g and Oracle JDeveloper 10g for the Mac OS X Server in late December, an Oracle spokesperson confirmed. Whether anybody cares is another matter, analysts said.
Oracle and Apple Computer Inc. executives first began hyping the Mac platform release a year ago, when Apple first announced its Xserve G5, with Oracle Vice President of Platform Technologies Mark Milani saying at the time that the new Xserve G5, coupled with Oracle Database 10g, would deliver a "compelling, cost-effective, scalable and reliable database solution." After that, Oracle and Apple hit the highway in June in an international series of road shows to plug Oracle on Mac OS X.
Oracle is no stranger to the Macintosh platform: Oracle9i has run on Mac OS X for some time. But the current pairing represents a concerted effort on Apples behalf to get its servers into the data center.
On Tuesday, Apple unveiled a new version of the Xserve line of rack-mountable servers and announced the availability of its Xsan storage area network file system, in advance of next weeks Macworld conference in San Francisco.
Whether Oracle and Apple are seeing any traction in the data center is another matter. Oracle officials couldnt immediately state the current number of downloads, but analysts said the Oracle-Apple pairing is receiving a lukewarm reception at best.
"I havent run into a single data center thats running a Macintosh server," said Charlie Garry, senior program director for database research at Meta Group, in Simsbury, Conn.
Noel Yuhanna, an analyst at Forrester Research, said that customers do care about running Oracle on Mac—"to some extent."
"Its just an addition to the various platforms that Oracle supports," said Yuhanna, in Santa Clara, Calif. "There are a few customers looking at databases on Mac environments, but this is just a message that states that Oracle is trying to maintain their heterogeneous play. Oracle wants to grab each and every market share available on whatever platform its available on. Thats the key message. Other than that, theres no big market on Mac, but it helps customers, providing this heterogeneous environment. [Particularly] for smaller environments."
The Mac platform is also important to Oracle in light of its recently announced Resilient Low-Cost Storage Initiative. That initiative encompasses Oracle hooking up with storage vendors including Apple, Dell Inc., EMC Corp., Engenio Information Technologies Inc., Hewlett-Packard Co., MPC Computers LLC and Network Appliance Inc.
The initiative aims to show customers how they can tie together the cheap storage boxes that are now entering the market in a manner akin to tying together database servers, a la Oracles grid technology. Oracle itself is internally storing the Collaboration Suite database it uses in development on three Apple Xserve Raid boxes, each holding 3.5TB.
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