Oracle Trims Low-End Prices

Entry-level 10g is cut by $1K per processor.

With its long-awaited Oracle 10g database out the door, Oracle Corp. is altering its entry-level pricing, processor support and clustering option in an effort to make the new technology appeal to small and midtier customers.

The Redwood Shores, Calif., software company last week announced availability of 10g versions for Linux, 64-bit Solaris and HP-UX. A Windows version of 10g should be ready in a few weeks, Oracle officials said.

Oracle said it was reducing the price of its DBMS for entry-level users so that Oracle Database 10g Standard Edition One is being offered at $4,995 per processor. Earlier versions of Standard Edition One cost $5,995 per processor. The 10g database is available with Named User Plus licensing at $149 per user with a minimum five-year commitment, down from $195.

In addition, the maximum capacity of Standard Edition One was boosted from one to two processors, Oracle officials said.

The new Standard Edition One pricing gives Oracle a chance to undercut penetration into its enterprise customer base by Microsoft Corp.s SQL Server database, said analyst Carl Olofson of IDC.

"Businesses that are putting an IT system together from scratch are just not ready to write out new checks," said Olofson, in Framingham, Mass. "Up until now, Microsoft has been able to get in on the bottom beneath Oracle and cut off that growth pattern for them."

On the technology front, Oracle is offering a Real Application Clusters option with Oracle Database 10g Standard Edition at no additional charge. It will support a maximum of four processors in a cluster.

Marcel Davidson, head of data management at Prolexys Pharmaceuticals Inc., in Salt Lake City, has kicked the tires of Oracle Database 10g Enterprise Edition. Davidson was happy to find it less difficult to coerce the new databases Optimizer to tweak queries or perform SQL tuning. He raved about new Regular Expression features in Oracle 10g that allow him to pass logic to the database for analysis. In addition, he was impressed with the life sciences-specific Basic Local Alignment Search Tool features that enable him to perform DNA and protein sequence analysis.

However, Oracles zeal to expand the feature set of its enterprise database could leave users struggling to deal with the sheer complexity of 10g, Davidson said.

"The problem is [that] the end user like myself gets swallowed up in a sea of features. I dont even know what to look for," said Davidson. "Oracle needs to help us find our way through all these features, to [cater] the solution to our needs."