Oracle has cut the price of its low-end database software running on two-processor servers from Dell, in a move that analysts say heralds the start of firms moving large databases from Unix to Linux.
The companies are offering a cut-price deal for low-end Dell servers running on Linux and bundled with Oracle's Database Standard Edition One.
Pre-installed versions of the database software running on Linux and Windows will ship later this year.
The offering is clearly aimed at the low-end of the market, but Phil Dawson, programme director at analyst firm Meta Group, suggested that it would encourage IT managers to move multi-processor on Unix to clustered low-end servers running Linux over the next 18 months.
"There is no way firms are going to replace 64-processor transactional databases with a cluster of two-ways today. But there are a lot of eight- to 12-processor systems that they will replace with two-way systems," he said.
A final move from large Unix databases would also rely on adoption of the 2.6 version of the Linux kernel, said Dawson, because of its improved processor and I/O scaling.
By shipping cheap versions of its Database Standard Edition One, Oracle aims to compete with Microsoft and promote its version of grid computing.
Small enterprises can now get powerful database software running on commodity servers, and keep growing the system with their business, according to Oracle chief executive Larry Ellison.
"Ease of use is the way of the future. We've made it easier to buy, easy to install and easy to use," he said.
Oracle Database Standard Edition One is designed for deployment in small enterprises, line-of-business departments and distributed branch environments with typically less than 400 concurrent users and a database size less than 500GB.
Dell will ship its PowerEdge 2600 or 2650 servers, running on Red Hat Enterprise Linux, with a copy of Oracle's Standard Edition One for $4,108 (£2,236).
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