Oracle mum on 11g Release 2, 11g Express Edition

Company may focus attention on complementary technologies to its core database

Oracle Corp. has filled the schedule of its OpenWorld conference with sessions hyping the various features in its 11g database, which was launched in July 2007. But the company doesn't plan to deliver new details of the anticipated 11g Release 2 (R2), or a ship date for 11g Express Edition (XE), the free version popular among developers.

The vendor is doing some recruiting this week for the 11g R2 beta test, but otherwise has no plans to make any announcements, Andrew Mendelsohn, senior vice president of server technologies, said in an interview following a keynote address Monday at the conference in San Francisco.

"We're going to do an 11g XE, but it will be sometime after the 11g R2 time frame," added Mendelsohn, who oversees the development of Oracle's database. He declined to provide firm dates for either release.

Instead, Oracle seems ready to make news at OpenWorld around complementary technologies that add performance to the core database. Particular attention and speculation is on CEO Larry Ellison's keynote address scheduled for Wednesday, which is titled "Extreme. Performance."

Mendelsohn urged showgoers to watch the speech during his talk Monday.

As for Mendelsohn's remarks, they seemed geared more toward getting customers to adopt the initial release of 11g, focusing on topics such as its new features and the possible upgrade paths.

Oracle has not released hard adoption numbers for 11g, which according to some estimates is seeing slow uptake, but has said the software has been downloaded more than 450,000 times, and that adoption is "on pace" with 10g.

In addition, the company issued a press release stating that customers from "across all industries" have upgraded. Named customers in the release include Eli Lilly & Co. and Novartis AG.

Meanwhile, 11g R2 does appear to be moving toward completion.

Ian Abramson, a Toronto-based data warehousing consultant and president of the Independent Oracle Users Group, said his organization is scheduled to be briefed on the 11g R2 beta program under a nondisclosure agreement today.

"I think we'll understand their timelines a lot better [after the briefing]," Abramson said. "We already have a number of great volunteers who are ready to [join the beta program]."

Copyright © 2008 IDG Communications, Inc.

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