Oracle aims 'Exastack' program at ISVs

Oracle wants software vendors and partners to run their data centers and applications on Exadata

Oracle is hoping to convince independent software vendors to certify and run their products on its high-end Exadata and Exalogic appliances through a program called Exastack, the company announced Tuesday.

Moving data center operations to such highly engineered, specialized systems would go against the current trend toward building systems with farms of commodity servers. But Oracle maintains that the Exadata database machine and Exalogic application server will actually help ISVs lower total operational costs.

"Exastack is really the platform of the future for ISVs," said Judson Althoff, senior vice president of worldwide alliances, channels and embedded sales, during a webcast Tuesday.

The Exastack program has two levels, Ready and Optimized. In the first, partners will be able to apply some branding showing that their applications support Exalogic, Exadata and the software stack the machines run, which includes Oracle's database, WebLogic Application Server, and the Linux and Solaris OSes.

Exastack Optimized partners will gain access to technical resources and specialized labs Oracle has set up around the world, allowing them to especially fine-tune their applications for Exadata and Exalogic.

Before partners visit a lab, Oracle will work with them to develop a "proof-of-value exercise," the company said during the webcast. They will then spend a week or two at the lab with Oracle architects and engineers to test real-world performance against those previously agreed-upon metrics.

The Ready program is available now, with the Optimized track launching later this year, Oracle said.

Some ISVs are already working to become optimized on Exastack and Oracle plans to announce more news about the program at the OpenWorld conference later this year, according to Althoff.

There are now 1,000 Exadata systems installed around the world and Oracle plans to triple that number this year, Oracle co-president Mark Hurd said during the company's fourth-quarter earnings call last week.

While Oracle has not given specific numbers on Exalogic sales, the initial "ramp-up" for that product has been even better than Exadata, according to Hurd.

Also Tuesday, Althoff discussed changes Oracle is making to its channel program for the fiscal year that began June 1.

He alluded to some operational "challenges" Oracle and its partners experienced as the company integrated Sun Microsystems, which it finished acquiring in January 2010, and entered the hardware business.

"We realize we came from a difficult position in fiscal 2011," Althoff said. "We are very committed to being best in class."

Order automation has already seen major improvement and other changes are on the way, including an integrated shopping cart for both software and hardware purchases, Althoff said.

Oracle is also rolling out a new financial incentive program for channel partners in the current fiscal year, Althoff said.

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

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