Oracle has revealed that its eagerly awaited grid-enabling 10g database software will be ready to ship by the end of this year.
Speaking at the annual UK Oracle user group (UKOUG) conference, Ian Smith, Oracle UK senior vice president, predicted that grid computing will be the next "big disruptive technology" after the move from mainframe to client server and then onto the internet.
Rather than companies operating with a "just-in-case model" for computing resources, said Smith, 10g "allows you to move to a 'just-in-time model' where computer systems and their associated costs would be available whenever and wherever it is needed".
But conference visitor Ken Hartley, from Manchester University's Centre for Research in Innovation and Competition, said: "The message loud and clear was grid, grid, grid. I just don't know if it's compelling enough a business case for your average mid-level finance company yet."
And research by the UKOUG has found that members are more interested in getting the best from their existing installations rather than worrying about new technology.
While the general level of satisfaction with Oracle remains static, levels of confidence in its enterprise resource planning and I-Procurement products have improved.
Satisfaction levels for its customer relationship management (CRM) product have dipped, but Alan Hartwell, Oracle UK marketing vice president, put this down to the application's take-up being challenged by the economic climate.
"I don't think Oracle has fared any better or worse here than anyone else," he said.
Ronan Miles, chairman of the UKOUG, added: "This was probably a result of greater understanding of the limitations of CRM [in general]."
Miles highlighted a decline in levels of support satisfaction, citing user comments on the language barrier encountered when accessing outsourced telephone resources in India.
"Given Oracle's drive to reduce costs it's not surprising they outsourced some of their operation, but it has unquestionably cost them in customer satisfaction," he said.
Dissatisfaction has also grown in relation to Developer tools and Oracle's waning support for them given its commitment to their Java equivalents in its portfolio.
According to Miles, the worst possible scenario would be for Developer to be killed off.
"I am willing to bet that, if the majority of the user base is still not prepared to move from Developer to Java, Oracle will look at its schedule [for ending support of Developer] again," he said.
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