Oracle said that deployments of its 11g database were on track, despite some industry scepticism.

Spealking ahead of its OpenWorld conference, the company said that downloads of its latest database were hitting its targets. The database has been downloaded 450,000 times since its release last July, Oracle president Chuck Phillips said during a first quarter 2009 earnings conference. Oracle is "seeing significant adoption of 11g, on pace with the 10g adoption curve," he said.

A survey this spring of members of the Independent Oracle Users Group found that 35 percent planned to upgrade some databases to 11g within a year, higher than previous surveys. However, another survey by database management provider The Pythian Group found that only 1.4 percent of the 756 databases it managed on behalf of corporate clients were running 11g today.

"Whoever tells you that is awesome is selling you a bill of goods," said Paul Vallee, Pythian's founder and president. The firm still sees plenty of Oracle 7 and 8 databases in use, which were first introduced in 1992 and 1997, he said.

Vallee said 11g upgrades are slow in part because there were fewer compelling new features offered at its launch last year than there were in prior upgrades.

It has "minimal feature pull," he said. Also, companies tend to be conservative about upgrading major pieces of infrastructure, such as databases.

however, Pythian's study did find that interest was rising. Twenty-five percent of Pythian's clients have tested or deployed some Oracle 11g databases, Vallee said.

Moreover, 11g R2 is expected to introduce major new features in the areas of storage and database performance that could finally compel organisations with aging databases to make the move, he said.

The company had a 49 percent share of the global database market last year, with US$8.3 billion in revenue, according to Gartner.