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Oracle slips out long-heralded 12c cloudbase in SECRET

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Everyone was expecting Oracle's deals this week with Microsoft, Saleforce.com, and NetSuite to revolve around the impending 12c "cloud-ready" multi-tenant database: but that product was not referred to explicitly. That is because Oracle is trying to keep the powder dry for a future shindig announcing the availability of the 12c database.

Unfortunately for Oracle, the marketing and sales people are not in sync with the web admins.

As of yesterday the Oracle 12c Release 1 was available for download on the Oracle Technology Network in the entry Standard Edition One, the midrange Standard Edition, and the high-end Enterprise Edition variants.

The 12c database is available for 64-bit Linux on x86 iron as well as for 64-bit Solaris on x86 gear and 64-bit Solaris on Sparc processors.

The downloads include the core database as well as extensions called Grid Infrastructure, which bundle up Oracle Clusterware, Automated Storage Management (ASM), and ASM Cluster File System, which are pieces of software you need to load up the Real Application Clusters database clustering software from Big Red.

Other software has been updated to the 12c Release 1 level as well, including database gateways to link to other relational databases, example code for using the 12c database, and client libraries for linking machines to the database over the network.

Oracle 12c will be available on Windows and various Unix platforms eventually, of course. You can read the full 12c Release 1 documentation here if you want to look before you leap; this new features guide looks particularly useful.

Oracle is hosting some 4,000 partners at its headquarters in Redwood Shores this week at the annual Partner Kickoff event and Thomas Kurian, vice president of development at Oracle, apparently told the assembled partner multitudes in a keynote yesterday evening that the 12c database and its Fusion middleware would both be updated during Oracle's current fiscal quarter, which ends in August.

The word on the street, according to Computerworld, is that the 12c database will be formally launched and ready for production use in two weeks.

It has been three years since Oracle launched the last release of the 11g database, and it is time for a refresh and perhaps for a rejiggering of packaging and pricing given the competitive pressures Oracle is under in the database arena.

The chatter is also that Oracle will try to charge a premium for the multi-tenancy features of the 12c database, and this stands to reason. It does the same for Oracle RAC and all of the other features mentioned above, as well as other add-ons for its database. Not everyone will need a multi-tenant database, after all, and those who don't will resent paying for those that do.

Big Red previewed the 12c database during its OpenWorld customer and partner event last October, backtracking a bit on the concept of multi-tenant databases even as it took jabs at Salesforce.com for using plain old Oracle 11g in its cloud when it was not as secure as the virtualized 12c database that has yet to get to market.

Of course now Salesforce.com (founded by ex-Oracler Marc Benioff) and Big Red are best friends, after inking a nine-year technology partnership that will see Salesforce continue to use Oracle database software and do so on top of Oracle Exadata clusters - while at the same time providing interoperability between their respective SaaS and IaaS clouds.

It seems reasonable to believe that Oracle had intended to make its partnerships with Microsoft, Salesforce.com, and NetSuite (which is basically in thrall to Larry Ellison and so not really free to avoid Oracle technology) known to the outside world whenever the 12c database was supposed to formally launch in the next few weeks.

However, last Thursday's unexpectedly weak quarter may have prompted Larry Ellison to jump the gun.

This is why these announcements this week had a rushed, unpolished, and uncoordinated feel – so unlike Oracle. ®

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