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-sized 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, Oracle's vice-president of global pricing and licensing strategy, Jacqueline Woods, said.
The software is priced at $US5995 per processor for an unlimited number of users, or $195 per named user with a minimum of five users.
That put the entry point for the product at $975, Woods said.
"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," she said.
Many of the industry's big vendors have been targeting smaller businesses as spending from their traditional base of enterprise customers has slowed.
IBM launched its Express line of products for smaller businesses, including a version of its DB2 database released in June. That product retails for $499 for the base server package plus $99 per user, and is available for one- and two-processor systems.
Such mid-market products typically offer ease of use and low maintenance features designed to appeal to organizations with small IT 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 said. "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."
Customers will be able to upgrade easily from Standard Edition One to higher end versions of Oracle's database, according to Woods.
The company hoped to grow its business by tapping into a fast growing market for one-processor servers, Woods said.
"This provides us another entry point to reach other customers that we were not reaching before," she said.
The entry price breaks new ground for the company.
The standard edition of its database, for servers with up to four CPUs, is priced at $US15,000 per CPU and $US300 per named user.
The enterprise edition is $US40,000 per CPU and $US800 per named user.
Standard Edition One was built on its current Oracle9i database and was available now for all the platforms Oracle typically supports, she said.
They included Windows, Linux and Solaris
When Oracle 10g, the next big upgrade to its main database product, was released later this year, a 10g version of Standard Edition One wouldappear at the same time, Woods said.
Oracle had no current plans to offer mid-market versions of any of its other products, she said, although she didn't rule out that possibility for the future.