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Oracle 12c database coming 'within two weeks,' middleware launch on deck

Database 12c focuses on cloud computing with its 'pluggable databases' feature

Oracle's long-awaited 12c database has apparently received a firm launch date, with a company executive stating that it will be released "within the next two weeks."

In addition, Oracle plans to release an update to its Fusion Middleware stack during its first fiscal quarter, said Thomas Kurian, executive vice president of product development. Kurian spoke on Tuesday during the company's fiscal 2014 partner kickoff event, which was webcast.

Given that Oracle's first quarter began June 1, that would place the Fusion Middleware launch between now and the end of August.

Kurian's statements come after a period of confusion over when 12c would finally reach market. Word leaked early this year that beta testing had been completed and a release was imminent, but ultimately one never occurred.

Database 12c, wherein the "c" stands for cloud, incorporates a feature Oracle is calling "pluggable databases." This will allow a single Oracle database instance to hold many other databases, allowing for more efficient use of system resources and easier management.

Oracle is also calling pluggable databases a superior way to achieve multitenancy for cloud applications. SaaS (software as a service) vendors have typically used application-level multitenancy, in which multiple customers share a single application instance with their data kept separate. Pushing multitenancy to the database layer provides better security and other benefits, according to Oracle CEO Larry Ellison.

Pluggable databases, despite being what one Oracle executive has called a "fundamental" architectural change for database technology, will be sold as a separate option, and not received as part of customers' regular annual maintenance fees.

Still, Oracle is betting big on 12c not only with respect to end-user companies embracing the technology, but fellow software vendors as well.

On Monday, Oracle announced a deal with Microsoft that calls for Oracle's database and other software to be made available on Microsoft's Azure cloud platform.

Then on Tuesday, Oracle and Salesforce.com announced a nine-year-long technology partnership under which the companies will tie together their technologies and Salesforce.com will make a major investment in Oracle products for its own cloud computing infrastructure.

Meanwhile, during the company's conference call to discuss quarterly results Thursday, Ellison spilled the beans on another upcoming Oracle database release, set for the end of this year, which he described as a "columnar, compressed, high-speed, in-memory database." This release will apparently serve as Oracle's most direct response yet to SAP's HANA in-memory database platform.

Chris Kanaracus covers enterprise software and general technology breaking news for The IDG News Service. Chris' email address is Chris_Kanaracus@idg.com


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