racle announced this morning that it has created a new version of the Oracle 9i application server, the Java edition, which it is targeting at current BEA application server customers and ISVs and resellers.
Oracle 9iAS Java edition is a full J2EE 1.3-compliant application server that company officials say includes all the services needed to build true enterprise-class Java applications. 9iAS Java edition comes with the Oracle HTTP Web server, full EJB and clustering support, persistence, five seats of the Oracle JDeveloper IDE, and system management facilities provided via Oracle Enterprise Manager. Licenses for the Java edition are $5,000 per processor.
Oracle is using the launch of the Java version of the application server to make an aggressive grab at new business. The company said it would offer any company using the BEA application server a one-for-one exchange: a free, single-processor license of the Oracle 9iAS Java edition for every processor of BEA that they now license. Dubbed the "Switch and Save" program, BEA customers who participate will receive free migration assistance from Oracle and the opportunity to purchase support at half the regular cost in addition to the free software.
In an effort to extend the footprint of the Oracle application server, Oracle said that it also would be putting more energy into its relationships with ISV and reseller partners. Oracle will give these companies free licenses of the Java edition too, provided these partners are distributing the Oracle application server with their channel applications.
According to Oracle senior vice president Thomas Kurian, the Oracle 9iAS Java edition is a better value than comparable low-end offerings from competitors, which generally include a servlet and JSP engine but do not include enterprise-class functionality such as clustering and EJB support. Kurian said that Oracle's Java edition is five times cheaper than BEA's comparable offering.
Asked why Oracle was targeting BEA customers specifically and not other competitors in the application server market, such as IBM, Kurian said that 85 to 90 percent of BEA application server users use the Oracle database on the back end. Because the combination of the Oracle RDBMS with Oracle 9iAS offers performance and integration bonuses when used together, Kurian said, the BEA customer base is rich with potential for highly successful Oracle migrations.
Kurian said the "Switch and Save" and reseller programs are designed to "accelerate momentum that we have in getting people to switch to Oracle" and to stop new project-level deployments on BEA's products.