Oracle released its long-awaited 8i Appliance last week, which is to be shipped through hardware OEMs and value-added distributors.
The 8i Appliance, formerly code-named Raw Iron, is a database that runs on Intel-based servers in lieu of a Unix or Windows operating system.
Oracle is marketing it as the foundation for a larger, e-business infrastructure package suitable for small and medium-sized companies.
"The SME customer has a particular challenge," said Michael Rocha, senior vice-president of platform technologies at Oracle. "Their infrastructure, as they move to the Web, has to scale just like a large customer, and we think they are also having challenges with existing infrastructure suppliers in the cost of administering and maintaining those environments."
To reach this market, Oracle has signed specialist distributors in the US, with expecting that the bundle will trickle out to both SMEs and integrators.
"This is a product that is built for the channel," Rocha said. "It gives them access to an Oracle product that is packaged to sell or host. Pretty much every one of our reference customers are using a channel partner today as well.
"It is really more than a database. It goes out pre-installed (on Intel hardware) and pre-configured (with e-business software). You plug it into the Net and you're ready for business."
The 8i Appliance is available immediately on Hewlett-Packard's NetServer LH4 and will be available on Fujitsu Siemens's Primergy servers next week and Compaq's ProLiant 6500 servers in May.
Dell is expected to announce support for its PowerEdge servers later this year.
A whole range of software companies have pledged support for the 8i Appliance, including enterprise resource planning vendor JD Edwards, Web design vendor Macromedia and tools and middleware vendor Vignette.
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