Oracle Ships Small-Business Database

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Hoping to grow its business by reaching into new markets, Oracle has launched a new edition of its database software priced for small and medium-size businesses.

Called Oracle Standard Edition One, the software is available now and designed for use on single-processor servers in smaller businesses and at the departmental level, says Jacqueline Woods, Oracle's vice president of global pricing and licensing strategy.

The package is priced at $195 per named user with a minimum of five users, or $5995 per processor for an unlimited number of users. That puts the entry point for the product at $975, Woods says.

Thinking Small

"Many of our customers indicated that they would like to see a product that was more for a smaller market, particularly when you have departments that tend to buy products independently of the general procurement process that occurs at the enterprise level," Woods says.

Many of the industry's big vendors have been targeting smaller businesses as spending from their traditional base of enterprise customers has slowed. IBM has released its Express line of products for smaller businesses, including a version of its DB2 database. That product shipped in June priced at $499 for the base server package plus $99 per user, and is available for one- and two-processor systems.

Such midmarket products typically offer ease-of-use and low-maintenance features designed to appeal to organizations with small information technology departments. That isn't the case with Oracle, according to Woods. Oracle's pitch is that the product provides the same features, security, and reliability as its higher-end products, but limited to a smaller machine.

This is "not a scaled-down version of the enterprise edition or the standard edition," Woods says. "You have essentially the same features and functions that are available on those other products. The limitation is that it's on a one-processor machine."

Product Options

Customers will be able to upgrade easily from Standard Edition One to higher-end versions of Oracle's database, according to Woods. The company hopes to grow its business by tapping into a fast-growing market for one-processor servers, Woods says.

"This provides us another entry point to reach other customers that we were not reaching before," she adds.

The entry price breaks new ground for Oracle. The standard edition of its database, for servers with up to four CPUs, is priced at $15,000 per CPU and $300 per named user. The enterprise edition costs $40,000 per CPU and $800 per named user.

Standard Edition One is built on the company's current Oracle9i database and is available now for all the platforms Oracle typically supports, Woods says. These include Windows, Linux, and Solaris. When Oracle 10g, the next big upgrade to its main database product, is released later this year, a 10g version of Standard Edition One will appear at the same time, Woods adds.

She says Oracle has no current plans to offer midmarket versions of any of its other products, although she didn't rule out that possibility for the future.

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