Making the Business Case for 11g

Now that Oracle has officially unveiled its much-awaited 11g database, industry observers are wondering how quickly users will upgrade to the latest offering.

A survey of members of the Independent Oracle Users Group who attended the group’s annual conference put the number at 35 percent within the first 12 months of the launch. An ambitious estimate? Almost certainly, many say. But the speed of the upgrades will in large part be tied to how well Oracle makes the business case for 11g to corporate executives.

“I don’t think Oracle’s playing that up enough,” said Gartner analyst Donald Feinberg, referring to the business value of 11g. “There is so much functionality in this that I honestly believe Oracle is missing a major opportunity. If you’re not a technical person, you’re not going to really get the value of probably 90 percent of what’s in 11g, and there’s tremendous business value in it.

“But if a CIO or a CEO or a CFO [chief financial officer] were to look at this release, they would say, ‘No we’re not going to upgrade to it.’ If a technical person—a CTO [chief technology officer] or a DBA [database administrator] or a DBA manager or something like that looks at it, they would say, ‘Oh, I want it tomorrow.'”

To Feinberg, 11g’s improvements in the area of manageability—such as the features dealing with application testing and rolling patches that allow users to upgrade the database without taking it offline—can save businesses money and reduce the amount of resources dedicated to certain tasks.

“The one that really will have an impact on cost is the manageability piece, which is the one, if they treat it right from a marketing standpoint, [that] will catch the eye of every CFO that’s an Oracle client,” he said. “That’s the one that has the biggest impact on resources, which goes directly to the bottom line obviously in any company.”

Though DBAs are obviously a key focus group for 11g’s marketing, the business advantages of 11g’s functionality should not be lost on corporate executives or any other user, said Willie Hardie, vice president of database product marketing at Redwood Shores, Calif.-based Oracle.

“For example, executives can continue to reduce their total cost of ownership, business users will have faster access to secure information 24/7, developers can integrate all information types, like 3-D spatial and XML, into their applications, and DBAs can more easily deliver on users service level expectations,” Hardie said.

In addition, he said, 11g—unveiled July 11—introduces a range of new features that enable customers to meet regulatory compliance mandates, store more data using less storage devices and make changes faster with less risk.

Arup Nanda, senior director of database engineering and architecture at Starwood Hotels and Resorts Worldwide, based in White Plains, N.Y., said Oracle’s Real Application Testing and enhanced encryption capabilities are vital parts of the business case for 11g.

Analysts say a saturated market and questionable organic growth rates could mean trouble for Oracle. Click here to read more.

“In Real Application Testing, we can capture the real workload from the production applications going to the database and replay them,” he said. “Without [that], the testers have to create synthetic transactions to simulate the real workload to be replayed by the QA tool over and over again, which is not only time-consuming, but error-prone as well.”

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