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Oracle gets really, really virtual with VMware

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Oracle and virtual server software maker VMware have taken an inevitable step toward tightening their relationship.

The companies announced a broad agreement that will see them cooperate on product development, support and marketing for Oracle's database and server software and VMware's virtual server - aka partitioning - software. The new arrangement, revealed on Monday, expands an existing deal that saw VMware ship a trial version of Oracle 10g with its software.

Most significantly, Oracle has declared that VMware is its virtualization software maker of choice.

"Our use of VMware as our standard virtualized development platform will simplify and accelerate our infrastructure product development efforts as well as help ensure that our Oracle 10g infrastructure software is developed, tested and optimized for execution on VMware virtual machines," said Prem Kumar, a VP in Oracle's server division.

Oracle and VMware's shared desire to create tight links between their products makes a lot of sense. Both companies have spent plenty of time advocating the use of Intel and AMD-based servers to handle tough corporate software loads. The firms are trying to make it possible for customers to replace more expensive Unix servers with commodity kit.

Oracle has zeroed in on the server cluster market with its RAC (real application clusters) software, while VMware has concentrated on making it possible to run numerous applications and operating systems on a single system.

VMware - a unit of EMC - is the clear leader in the virtual server market, making it an obvious partner for Oracle. The only other major non-Unix competitor in the space is Microsoft - not one of Oracle's closest allies. VMware should receive a leg up from Oracle as the company tries to expand beyond basic file and application serving tasks to managing higher-end software such as databases.

Oracle will now test and certify VMware's products on its 10g Database, Application Server, Enterprise Manager and Collaboration Suite software. Oracle will also continue to pre-install an evaluation copy of the 10g Database with VMware's products. VMware has moved 12,000 copies of 10g thus far.

In addition, the two companies plan to combine their support and marketing efforts. ®

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