Oracle singles out five growth areas

In year ahead, database company looking to expand in security, content management, others

Oracle Corp. executives Monday defined five likely growth areas for the company in the coming year, encompassing a mix of new and established software offerings.

The five areas are security, content management, business intelligence, grid computing and enterprise search, according to Chuck Rozwat, executive vice president of database server technology at Oracle. He was addressing financial analysts Monday at an Oracle event in Boston.

Along with the company's identity-management suite, Oracle hopes its users will adopt two newer security products -- Audit Vault is under development, while Oracle unveiled Database Vault in April. Both products are add-ons to the latest version of the vendor's database, Oracle Database 10g Release 2.

Audit Vault secures and consolidates a company's audit data, acting as a data warehouse that tracks information access in the event of a security breach or to meet compliance regulations, Rozwat said. Database Vault enables a company to limit the data privileged users such as database administrators can access.

Turning to content and records management, Oracle's Content DB and Records DB tools are due out in August. Announced last month, the tools will enable Oracle users to manage unstructured data. Rozwat expects Content DB to appeal to Oracle's entire installed base.

Oracle currently has in the order of 200,000 database customers and 30,000 applications customers, according to Rozwat.

In business intelligence and data warehousing, Oracle is continuing to add in analytics capabilities to its software that it obtained through the purchase of CRM (customer relationship management) company Siebel.

Rozwat said it was too early to put a percentage figure on how well the newer Oracle products might perform over the next 12 months. But turning to established grid offerings, he expects revenue from both Oracle's Enterprise Manager application and grid infrastructure management tool and its database add-on Real Application Clusters (RAC) to grow around 30 percent.

Over 8,000 of Oracle's 200,000-strong database users have already adopted RAC, Rozwat said.

In the hotly contested enterprise search market, Oracle has begun shipping its stand-alone Secure Enterprise Search 10g software, which it first talked up in March.

As for upgrades coming in the second half of the year, Oracle has its plate full. The vendor announced PeopleSoft Enterprise 9.0 late last month and coming up are E-Business Suite 12, Siebel CRM 8.0, JD Edwards World A9.1 and the rest of Project Genesis. Genesis is the integration of E-Business Suite with Siebel and will be complete by October, according to Oracle President Charles Phillips.

Back in April, Oracle committed to "Applications Unlimited," a strategy to continue supporting and bringing out new versions of all its disparate applications. "These product families will live forever," Rozwat said.

At the same time, the vendor continues work on Project Fusion, a plan to merge the various applications to create a single code base based on Oracle's newly revamped middleware. Components of Fusion should appear during 2007, Phillips said, with the first full version of the application suite likely in 2008. At that point, 80 percent of Oracle's customers will be eligible to move over to Fusion, with Oracle to provide the extra functionality needed by the remaining 20 percent of users in a later release.

Oracle is likely to start making noise about the next major release of its database, 11g, shortly, Rozwat said. Historically, Oracle ships major updates every 15 to 18 months, suggesting 11g will appear between now and October. So far, about 50 percent of Oracle customers have moved to the current version 10g, either release 1 or 2, tracking the typical adoption curve, he added.

Copyright © 2006 IDG Communications, Inc.

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