Oracle's long-awaited 12c database is now available for download, according to the company's official website.
Download links for the product were available on the site as of late Tuesday.
While it wasn't immediately clear when Oracle will hold a formal launch for 12c, earlier Tuesday a company official said the release would come "within a couple of weeks."
At one point it appeared 12c would arrive much sooner than now. Word leaked early this year that beta testing had been completed and a release was imminent, but ultimately one never occurred.
Database 12c includes a feature Oracle has called "pluggable databases," which allows a single Oracle database instance to hold many other databases, allowing for more efficient use of system resources and easier management.
Oracle has also positioned pluggable databases as a better way to achieve multitenancy for cloud applications.
SaaS (software as a service) vendors have typically used multitenancy at the application level, in which multiple customers share a single application instance while their data is kept apart. Pushing multitenancy down to the database layer provides better security and other advantages, according to Oracle CEO Larry Ellison.
The multitenancy capability will be sold as a separate option, and not received as part of customers' regular annual maintenance fees, Ellison said during last week's Oracle earnings call.
An official Oracle price list, which was updated Tuesday, showed a "multitenant" database option priced at US$17,500 per processor. A processor license for the main Enterprise Edition remained priced at $47,500 per processor.
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