Oracle's 9i database and application server will be delayed by at least five months, according to analyst Gartner.
The vendor unveiled the 9i at its Openworld conference last month, when chief executive Larry Ellison promised that the database would be available in March 2001.
But at the analyst's Symposium/ITxpo in Florida, Betsy Burton, research director at Gartner, said the product would not go into beta for another few months, delaying general availability until at least next August.
However, a representative of Oracle said 9i was scheduled for availability in spring 2001.
Gartner also claimed that the database's much-hyped cache fusion technology, aimed at improved high availability and cluster management, will not be applicable to a large number of Oracle users.
"Ten per cent of Oracle's user base use clustering technologies and less than five per cent use it for high availability, so cache fusion won't apply to a lot of customers," said Burton.
One of Oracle's major challenges is the "lack of depth" to its customer relationship management and enterprise resource planning applications, she said.
Gartner also warned that the cost of Oracle licences will increase "uncontrollably" under the company's controversial Power Unit Pricing scheme introduced last year.
Burton said she believed Oracle has changed its pricing structure because it wants to become an application service provider and a managed service provider.
In these markets, it is common to be paying for the right to use software for a period of time rather than perpetually. However, she warned that this scheme could end up being more costly for users, because the terms might become more expensive when re-negotiating.
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