Update: Oracle acquires TimesTen database software

The deal is expected to close by the end of next month

Oracle Corp. has agreed to buy TimesTen Inc., a privately held company that makes software for boosting the performance of database applications used for stock trading, airline reservations and other areas where fast response times are important, Oracle announced today.

While customers use Oracle's database to store large volumes of information in back-end systems, TimesTen's products store a subset of that data in memory in the applications tier, where it can be accessed more quickly, TimesTen's CEO James Groff said in a conference call to discuss the deal.

Many of its customers are in the telecommunications and financial services sectors, although enterprises are also warming to in-memory databases to create "real-time dashboards" that give managers a snapshot of their businesses, Groff said. TimesTen has about 1,500 customers, he said, making it one of the leaders in its field. Customers include J.P. Morgan Chase & Co., Sprint Corp. and United Air Lines Inc.

More than half its customers already use Oracle's database, Groff estimated, and Oracle's database is the only one that works "out of the box" with its TimesTen/Cache product. Its other two products work with other databases. Oracle will continue to support other database platforms if it sees enough demand, according to Andy Mendelsohn, Oracle senior vice president for database server technologies.

Mountain View, Calif.-based TimesTen was founded about eight years ago and is profitable, according to Groff. Oracle will retain "the vast majority" of its approximately 90 employees if the deal is approved, he said.

The transaction is expected to close by the end of July, pending regulatory approval and other customary closing conditions, said Oracle. Financial terms weren't disclosed.

Oracle said it plans to keep selling TimesTen products on a stand-alone basis. It will also fine-tune the software to work better with its middleware and SQL database engine, which should further improve performance, Mendelshon said.

Telecommunications customers use TimesTen products in two primary ways: Equipment vendors such as Cisco Systems Inc. embed its software in network devices for call processing and other network operations. Operators also use the software to store customer information they need access to quickly, such as how many minutes a caller has left on a prepaid card.

Financial services companies use it to store information about client portfolios and market conditions, allowing them to make trading decisions rapidly. "We like to say we focus on applications where milliseconds matter," Groff said.

TimesTen's main competitor was software written in-house, according to Groff. "By far, the No. 1 way that customers achieve real-time is with home-grown, custom-built solutions," he said.

Other rivals include database vendors such as IBM and Sybase Inc., as well as specialty vendors such as Ants Software Inc. in Burlingame, Calif.

IBM played down the significance of Oracle's acquisition. When it bought Informix a few years ago, it gained two products, Real-Time Loader and Finance Foundation for Capital Markets, which it brought over to its DB2 database. That software performs an equivalent function to TimesTen's products, according to Bob Picciano, vice president for IBM database servers.

Copyright © 2005 IDG Communications, Inc.

It’s time to break the ChatGPT habit
Shop Tech Products at Amazon