Oracle is one of several major choices for those who wish to host integrated enterprise applications and servers for running an application grid. Some alternatives for this include MS SQL Server, MYSQL, Sybase, and Access. While this is a crowded market, for many reasons Oracle is the best solution for hosting applications and servers.
The biggest benefit is that Oracle is the single most used software for application hosting. All of the world's top ten banks use Oracle servers for their websites and Oracle, as the company, just acquired Sun Microsystems, which greatly expanded their target market and user base. This means that it will be extremely easy to find people who can program for an Oracle system, as well as applications that were written for such a system. Furthermore, since the company is so large and growing, good customer service and support is guaranteed. Also, updates and security fixes are far more likely than with a small company.
One extremely important feature that is unique to Oracle is backwards compatibility. Oracle databases can use calls from older versions quite easily, which can greatly assist programmers and save money in terms of human costs. Also, distributed versions that run on today's Oracle system will very likely be able to run on future versions of the software. It is unlikely that Oracle will change this policy in the near future.
Another feature that is unique to Oracle is the ability to use older versions of the software for anybody who licenses the current software. Oracle does have great documentation whenever they release new versions of the software (which is frequently), but for those who wish to stay with an old version of the software, it is completely legal. A person is even allowed to start a new website with an older version of the software if they wish.
Another reason to choose Oracle is that their server is simply the best in the business. It qualifies for all four of the major requirements of an excellent database. These are atomicity (the ability to commit or roll back results of a transaction), consistency (the database prevents illegal transactions), isolation (all database transactions occur independently of others that are occurring), and durability, which means that all transactions survive even in the case of a power loss or machine failure.
Finally, Oracle has another feature that is simply indispensable once it is in place. This is Flashback technology, invented by Oracle and only in their server software. It is typical that software depends on data, but it is entirely possible that a power outage or a mechanical failure could cause a large problem. Flashback allows for very quick recovery from mechanical and human failure, and is of itself an excellent reason for one to choose Oracle.
Oracle is an excellent solution for those who wish to have a hosted application server or a server database. Frequent updates with excellent security, backwards compatibility, how easy it is to find programmers, and even working with a great company all leads to excellent server software.