At OpenWorld, the Database Is Still Important

Though much of the talk at the show focuses on Oracle's software strategy, Database 11g is not to be ignored.

SAN FRANCISCO—While Oracle executives collectively have spent much of this years OpenWorld conference talking about Fusion Middleware and Applications, their Database 11g still looms large over the show.

During the conference, there have been several announcements around 11g, from a partnership with Cisco Systems to develop an acceleration protocol to increase scalability for Oracle RAC (Real Application Clusters) 11g to a preview of ANTs Softwares database application migration technology, which the company has dubbed Compatibility Server.

Oracle officials declined to provide details about how fast customers have been adopting 11g. When the software was unveiled at a media event in July, a survey of members of the Independent Oracle Users Group reported 35 percent were planning to upgrade to 11g within a year, a number considered high by many analysts, regardless of the product or company. For their part, Oracle officials at the time downplayed speculation about how fast the upgrades would take place.

However, officials did announce at the show enhancements to its Advanced Customer Services Upgrade Management Service, which provides a portfolio of upgrade management tools and services that help Oracle customers upgrade to the latest products.

Oracle has long held a grip on the database market, controlling an estimated 47.1 percent of the relational database management system market in 2006, according to research by Gartner. Still, both Microsoft and IBM, though behind in overall market share, have sought to work their way up the ladder. IBM launched its DB2 9.5 data server in October, shortly after 11g arrived for Windows. Oracle released 11g for Linux in August.

Without addressing Oracles competitors directly, Andy Mendelsohn, Oracles senior vice president of server technologies, used his time during his keynote and at least one breakout session to extol the virtues of 11g, citing several of its capabilities such as Real Application Testing and native support for RFID (radio-frequency identification), medical imaging and 3-D spatial data as key features designed to help companies deal with change and get better business insight into their data.


Thousands of unprotected databases litter the Internet. Click here to read more.

"When 10g came out, I said that was the most innovative release we ever shipped, and I didnt think wed ever be able to top that," he said during his keynote Nov. 12. "But 11g again has a whole set of really exciting new innovations you can only get from Oracle. Nobody else has even thought about doing most of these technologies."

Despite the spread of open-source software in the data center—a recent survey of 226 members of the Independent Oracle Users Group found more than a third of those had deployed an open-source database in production—Mendelsohn said during a roundtable discussion with the media Nov. 13 that open-source databases are not really a threat to penetrate the enterprise market.

Oracle added open source to its embedded database product line in 2006 when it acquired Sleepycat Softwares Berkeley DB.

"What weve seen over the last few years, … things have somewhat quieted down," Mendelsohn said. "I think [open source is] more of a threat at the lower end of the market."


Check out eWEEK.coms for the latest database news, reviews and analysis.