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Posted September 21, 2011

Oracle Debuts New Database Appliance for the Midmarket

By Sean Michael Kerner

Oracle (NASDAQ: ORCL) is continuing its move toward engineered systems that integrate hardware and software with a new Oracle Database appliance.

The Oracle Database appliance is a "little brother" to Oracle's Exadata database box. The new appliance is a clustered two server system that includes up to 24 Intel processor cores and can have as much as 12 TB of shared storage with Gigabit Ethernet connectivity.

The system runs Oracle Database 11g and Oracle Real Application Clusters (RAC) on top of an Oracle Linux operating system base.

"For this market we want to make things really simple so we have the Oracle Appliance Manager," Andrew Mendelsohn, senior vice president of Oracle Database Server Technologies, said during a press conference. "It makes it easy to provision, patch and monitor what's going on in a box, it even calls home if there is a hardware failure."

Oracle is also going with a pay-as-you-grow approach for the Database Appliance.

"So even though there are 24 cores of processing power in the box, you can start small and just license two of the process cores," Mendelsohn said.

Oracle is also positioning the Database Appliance as a consolidation play for Oracle Databases as well as databases from other vendors, including Microsoft. Mendelsohn noted that Oracle has tooling to help migrate Microsoft Access and SQL Server databases to Oracle.

The database appliance consolidation play is also one that HP is going after. Earlier this year, HP announced its AppSystem, including an engineered system for Microsoft SQL database consolidation.

From a database perspective, the new Database Appliance can run multiple Oracle databases at the same time. Mendelsohn noted that there is no technical limit to how many databases can be run on the box. That said, he noted there is a limit based on the amount of memory and processors on the box.

In contrast to the Database Appliance, the Exadata box offers more capacity.

"The Exadata quarter rack has a total of 60 cores of processing power at the low-end," Mendelsohn said. "We have both high-capacity and high-performance disks there and you can have 72 TB of storage at the low-end of Exadata."

Overall, the new Database Appliance is part of Oracle's larger strategy toward engineered systems. For Oracle, they see greater opportunity for both growth and profit by focusing on the hardware, software and system integration opportunities that the engineered systems approach provides.

"We're excited about the strategy of engineered systems," Oracle President Mark Hurd said. "Think of this as the beginning of that for us in this target market. You'll see more innovation from us driving on performance, availability and serviceability."

Sean Michael Kerner is a senior editor at InternetNews.com, the news service of Internet.com, the network for technology professionals.

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