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More Oracle For Your Dell Bucks

As expected, Dell and Oracle Tuesday expanded their two-year relationship by agreeing to offer Oracle database software with Dell servers as part of a low-cost bundle for small and medium businesses (SMBs).

Oracle CEO Larry Ellison and Dell CEO and Michael Dell announced the news on a press call Tuesday.

The executives said compact discs housing Oracle's Standard Edition One database, based on the company's 10g grid technology, will be offered with the Dell PowerEdge 2600 or 2650 machines in the exclusive deal. Customers will receive a shrink-wrap licensing agreement that allows the customer to enter into a contract to license the Oracle database by breaking the seal.

The companies will also provide a single point of contact for Linux and grid computing for customers in China, where the executives said the Linux operating system, Dell servers and Oracle's database software are selling extremely well.

Calling the package "very, very easy for customers to buy" and set-up, Ellison said the Oracle 10g database will be pre-installed on Dell servers under both the Linux and Windows operating system. In addition, it installs in 15 minutes, compared to the usual six-hour time frame for earlier versions of an Oracle database.

The combined Dell server and Oracle software platforms are available now with Red Hat Enterprise Linux starting at $4,108. Ellison said the package is priced to entice SMBs, departments and distributed branch environments.

Ellison again pushed his company's notion of grid computing, noting that customers can start using 10g with a single computer, and can scale out in an "on-demand" fashion. For example, customers who start with a two-or four-processor Dell server can plug in another server into the computing grid as they need more performance and scale. The system is also fault tolerant, meaning if one server goes down the system continues to run because of the 10g architecture.

Asked how Oracle's other partners might be affected by the cozy partnership with Dell, Ellison said Dell is Oracle's most important partner -- in large part because of its commitment to using two and four-processor machines in order to deploy grid software.

The latest Dell-Oracle pairing will help Oracle combat rival Microsoft , whose SQL Server database competes with Oracle's database products in the low end of the market. Ironically, Dell is also significantly tethered to Microsoft in a partnership and shows no signs of leaving either Oracle or Microsoft for the other.

"About a year ago we discussed how the data center using the scale out approach Larry mentioned is standardizing and has reached an inflection point, said CEO Dell, who claimed 30,000 Oracle on Dell installations and an advantage over vendors offering proprietary systems such as IBM, Sun Microsystems and HP . "We think this whole trend towards standards-based hardware is irreversible and now we're extending this into the small and medium business market," Dell said on the call.

The Round Rock, Texas-based company will test and support configurations of Dell PowerEdge servers with Oracle Standard Edition One and serve as the single point of contact for those customers. Customers that want to purchase only the software can buy directly from Oracle.

Dell will also factory install Oracle Standard Edition One with Red Hat Linux and Microsoft Windows on Dell PowerEdge 2600 and 2650 servers later in the year.

As for the China deal, Dell and Oracle said they will resell Oracle licenses in China to make it easier for customers there to deploy Oracle products on Dell servers running Linux. Dell is currently the No. 1 provider of Intel x86 servers in that country, with an 85 percent growth rate in 2003, Dell said.

Ellison said China is Oracle's fastest growing market. Redwood Shores, Calif.-based Oracle is certifying Dell PowerEdge servers with Red Flag DC 4.0 and Oracle Database 10g at its China Development Center in Beijing.

Last April in New York, Dell and Ellison said they had inked a global sales agreement to implant Oracle databases and application servers on Dell servers in Europe and Asia, and create servers powered by Oracle software for small- and medium-sized businesses (SMBs).

The fact that the companies are expanding their presence together in China is testament to their success in the country.



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