I'm en route from New York to  Silicon Valley. My destination: Oracle's headquarters, where I'll be sitting down with Oracle Channel Chief Judson Althoff and Kevin O’Brien, senior director of Oracle’s ISV and SaaS strategy. While prepping for the meeting, I recalled an Oracle-centric discussion I had during the N-able Partner Summit in October 2010. At that gathering, Ntirety CEO Michael Corey -- a long-time N-able partner -- told me his business was built around managed database services. Is that a hot new niche?

Actually, no. Ntirety has focused on database administrator as a service for about a decade. In fact, Ntirety trademarked the term. The 30 person company serves customers worldwide, including massive enterprises. (Sorry to be a bit vague; Corey shared some customer names and sizes during our October 2010 meeting and a follow-up call this week, but asked me to keep them out of the article... safely hidden from potential poachers.) Ntirety's focus includes managed Microsoft SQL Server, MySQL and Oracle databases. Less than 5 percent of Ntirety's revenue comes from consulting. The big cash pipeline comes from recurring managed database monitoring.

Ntirety certainly isn't alone in the market. A few other examples include:
  • DSP Managed Services of the United Kingdom. The company specializes in Oracle Database 11g managed services for financial services, telecommunications, retail and transportation companies. Apparently, the strategy is working: DSP was named Oracle User Group Partner of the Year in the UK for 2010 and 2011.
  • NaviSite of Andover, Mass. The company specializes in managed cloud services, with an emphasis on Oracle, PeopleSoft, JD Edwards and Siebel applications (translation: Oracle's home-grown and acquired portfolio). In recent months, NaviSite has been exiting the co-location business to focus more on managed applications.
  • Cloud Creek Systems of Southern California. More of a traditional Oracle integrator, Cloud Creek assists a range of customers with web site and database optimization efforts. MyLife, the social media site, has seen its web site traffic double in the past year but uptime improved by 20 percent, thanks to an assist from Cloud Creek.
So as I prepare to enter Oracle's offices on Thursday, I'm curious to learn if we'll see Oracle get more aggressive about managed services in the IT channel. Admittedly, Oracle has never had a big following among SMB solutions providers -- the folks who grew up reseller Microsoft Windows NT Server and Exchange Server. But in the age of the cloud, as MSPs fire up on-demand services for end-customers, I wonder if Oracle will begin to attract smaller solutions providers and smaller MSPs.

Skeptics need only look at Ntirety -- an MSP that attended the N-able Partner Summit... and bet its business on managed database services.

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