Yesterday Oracle extended its Linux strategy with an agreement with Red Hat and Dell offering a certified, out-of-the-box configuration aimed at taking on Unix systems in the enterprise.
Dan Kusnetzky, an analyst at IDC, said, "This is an evolutionary refinement of their market."
For users, the latest Intel-based systems have been touted as equalling the performance of Unix midrange systems at a lower cost. Kusnetzky believed the package would be attractive to existing Dell or Oracle customers planning to boost their systems.
Bill Claybrook, an analyst at Aberdeen Group, said the Oracle database on Red Hat using Dell hardware will offer users a price-performance advantage compared with more expensive RISC-based Unix systems.
In most cases, a user could a buy four four-way Dell servers running Oracle and Linux for less than a 12-way or 16-way RISC Unix system, he said. "There's a pretty hefty savings there."
An entry price of $11,900 (£8,176) per node buys users a certified Dell PowerEdge server with preinstalled and enterprise-ready versions of Oracle9i Database Release 2 and Red Hat Advanced Server. The server is configured with a single processor, 1Gbyte of RAM and four 36Gbyte hard drives.
In coming months, Dell said it would also offer certified configurations of its hardware for Oracle9i Real Application Clusters. This will allow users to run the database across multiple servers for load balancing, fail-over support and greater scalability.
According to Dell, an average configuration that included two two-way nodes, 360 Gbytes of storage and a storage array will cost about $100,000 (£68,701), while a typical high-end configuration with four four-way nodes, 1Tbyte of storage, multiple switches and a storage array would cost about $345,000 (£237,019).