Oracle's new price incentives are a good sign that the company is beginning to acknowledge the demand for lower database costs, but it has much further to go if it wants to lure SQL Server users, according to a recent report by Boston-based AMR Research.
Indeed, AMR Research summarized its findings this way: "Oracle lowers prices, but not far enough." The report was released Friday.
Last month, in an effort to be more competitive with SQL Server, Oracle reduced the price of its Standard Edition One database to $4,995 per processor, and the company extended the maximum server capacity to two processors. The price for the standard edition of Microsoft's SQL Server 2000 is also $4,995 per processor.
But customers should be wary of additional costs, the report states.
"The prospect of consolidating from less expensive databases onto Oracle should give customers pause," said J. Paul Kirby, a research director at AMR and co-author of the report. "Customers could still suffer high costs from ongoing technical support, future licenses and [the cost of] retraining or replacing database administrators."
Companies considering Standard Edition One over SQL Server Standard Edition should read the fine print, the AMR report said.
SQL Server Standard Edition can be used with four CPU servers, while Standard Edition One is limited to two. SQL Server also includes licenses for business intelligence software at no additional charge. Licenses to Oracle's business intelligence functionality must be purchased separately.
AMR says that Oracle should cut the price of its Enterprise Edition, the most widely used version of Oracle.
Oracle databases should also deliver more "needed" functionality for the money, packaging its databases with business intelligence functionality or including the database with Oracle applications, Kirby said.
SQL Server fans will likely remain with the vendor they've already chosen, said Kevin Kline, director of technology for SQL Server Solutions at Quest Software and president of the Professional Association for SQL Server.
"Most people recognize [that] with Oracle pricing ... there are so many secondary costs associated with buying a database system," Kline said. "When they look at Oracle, they see a large world of costs outside of ... the cost of the license."
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