Dell has started bundling Oracle databases with its PowerEdge servers, in a move timed to coincide with Microsoft's launch of its SQL Server 7 database.
Angela Alexander, enterprise alliances manager at Dell, said: "This takes us one step further than pre-installing the operating system and makes it easier for the customer because we have already tested the system and optimised the database to suit the hardware."
Dell claims to be the first major PC maker to provide Oracle factory-installed on its servers and believes that the promise of a single source for hardware and current and future Oracle databases will prove to be a draw for new business. The addition of the pre-loaded PowerEdge servers to the product list, rather than as a special Dell+ service, means that customers with overseas or remote server sites have a single, accountable supplier.
The choice of the database is, according to Dell, based on its strategic alliance with Oracle and the popularity of the software, but the timing of the announcement also served to highlight Oracle during the week that Microsoft officially launched its upgraded SQL Server database at the Las Vegas Comdex show.
"The announcement shows that Dell is becoming more involved with catering for the needs of the enterprise customer, in addition to its small to medium business market," commented Mark Raphael, programme director at analyst Meta Group.
He added: "Dell is a very efficient supplier of systems but I don't believe it wants to turn itself into a full service integrator. Customers will still need to use DBAs (database administrators) and third parties to integrate and fine-tune the database into their business."
Though Alexander admitted that the door is open to the possibility of offering other pre-loaded systems, she said that this will be looked at on a case-by-case basis. Raphael believes that this would only include similar packages, like Microsoft's SQL Server and Exchange, but will not stretch to pre-loading the larger ERP packages, as Siemens is doing with SAP.
To complement the Oracle initiative, Dell has added an Oracle System Sizer to its Web site which allows users to determine the hardware configuration required to support their business requirements.
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