In a deal it hopes will ignite demand in the mid-market, Oracle signed an agreement for Dell Computer to sell Oracle's application server.
The agreement calls for Dell to offer its enterprise customers the Oracle9i, which ranks a distant third in the cutthroat market for the servers that run Web site applications.
"We see Dell as a leading enterprise hardware vendor and view them as a strategic partner in our efforts to continue gaining market share and momentum within the application server space," Charles Rozwat, Oracle's executive vice president of server technologies, said in a statement.
Oracle has been fighting to gain a larger piece of the pie in the $1.2 billion application server market, as it has seen its previously unquestioned dominance in its flagship database market is under siege, as Gartner Dataquest's annual survey of database licensing revenue for 2001 showed IBM topping Oracle for the first time.
IBM is also locked in a heated struggle with BEA to capture the high end of the application server market, with IBM's WebSphere server closing the gap with BEA's WebLogic server.
According to Gartner Dataquest's survey of the market in 2001, BEA's share of the application server market was 34 percent and IBM's 31 percent. Oracle ranks a distant third, garnering 12 percent of the market.
With IBM and BEA sewing up the large enterprise market, the Oracle9i must compete with Sun Microsystems' Sun One, which is now bundled for free in Sun's Solaris 9 operating system, as well as low-priced offerings from HP and Microsoft for the mid-market.
The application server market continues to show strength, growing 20 percent in 2001, but its meteoric growth has slowed with a sluggish economy and tight purse strings for IT projects. From 1999 to 2001, the application server market had grown by 92 percent. Gartner expects the market will continue to grow at a steady pace, reaching $3.2 billion by 2006.
For Dell, the deal allows it to expand its enterprise offerings, which already include IBM's WebSphere application server. (Internally, however, Dell has cast its lot with BEA's WebLogic, choosing it in May to run all of it as its company-wide standard for application development and deployment.)
"Today's agreement with Oracle will deliver [Dell] customers a proven, reliable and scalable application server solution with Oracle9i application server, while providing a one-stop shop to facilitate procurement," said Russ Hold, vice president and general manager of Dells' Enterprise Systems Group.
In a separate announcement, Dell unveiled its new storage system, built in conjunction with storage giant EMC. The Dell EMC CX600 is a Fibre Channel storage array designed for heavy lifting, such as disaster recovery, data warehousing, and e-mail and streaming video.
Dell and EMC inked a five-year partnership deal in October 2001. The new storage system is the latest fruit of the relationship, which in the last 10 months has produced storage-management software, the integration of PowerVault NAS on Dell EMC SANs, and the opening of SAN Centers of Expertise to help SAN customers.