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Oracle Database 11g questions answered

Oracle honchos led by Charles Phillips fielded reporters' questions about the new Oracle Database 11g at an event in New York City this week.

Oracle Database 11g -- the long-awaited revamp of Oracle's flagship database management system -- was unveiled at an event in New York City yesterday. Oracle executives previewed the new Database 11g, which should hit the market sometime next month and boasts nearly 500 new features including a fully automated SQL optimizer and new application testing capabilities. Following the event, Oracle honchos including Charles Phillips, president of Oracle, Chuck Rozwat, executive vice president, and Andy Mendelsohn, senior vice president, stuck around to field reporters' Database 11g questions. The questions covered a variety of topics, including the Database 11g sales channel, Database 11g pricing and the connection between Database 11g and Oracle Fusion Middleware. Here are some excerpts from that session.

You've been developing a differentiated channel strategy with respect to your Oracle Database Standard Edition (SE) and Oracle Database Standard Edition One (SE1) with regard to what the channel is going to be carrying to small and medium-sized companies. Can you tell me a little bit about how Database 11g now plays into all this?

Charles Phillips: We'll build on the channel strategy we have in place. It's just extended to 11g. The way it works is today the channel, at least for the [high-volume] distributors, [is] mainly focused on SE1 and SE. Because of the packaging and the pricing for that market, that's appropriate. Now, today, they do have the right to sell Enterprise Edition, but in reality given the focus of their market, they don't do a lot of that. So, 90% of SE1 today goes through the channels. I would expect the same thing to happen with 11g. SE and SE1 will largely go through the channels and then the Enterprise Edition will probably be for high-end customers and go direct. But there's nothing prohibiting them from selling the high-end product, it's just not their natural space.

There was a lot of talk about delivering Oracle Database 11g for Linux. What are your plans for a Windows version of 11g?

Phillips: We have to be very precise on versions that we can announce publicly. All we're announcing today is that Linux is shipping this quarter and we'll just come back to you on the other platforms.

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What are the features that will be sold as separate options as opposed to being part of the regular database itself?

Chuck Rozwat: Our intention is to do a pricing and packaging announcement as we get closer to the release date. So, what we wanted to focus on today was the functionality. We'll be putting out all the information about what is an option and what isn't an option and what the exact pricing will be, but the intention is to keep the same pricing model going forward as we had with 10g. It will just be a matter of weeks before we make that announcement.

Does the 11g upgrade create stronger links to Oracle's Fusion Middleware suite? I'm trying to get to the bottom of whether Database 11g acts as a strong driver for middleware sales.

Phillips: There certainly is some connection there because we have many customers who are standardizing on the Oracle stack, and there are certainly optimizations that would be built in between both layers, which you'd expect us to do. The middleware is more efficient with our database and vice versa. I can't quantify [or] specifically say that there is something immediately that is going to happen to middleware because of this upgrade.

Rozwat: There are a couple of very specific technical connections between the database and middleware. [One area surrounds]

Rozwat: We're working on the logo so stay tuned on that one. (laughs)

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