That said, it's possible the cost of using the pluggable database option can be significantly offset by benefits such as easier system maintenance and lower demand for computing resources.
Still, one database industry watcher offered a less-than-glowing assessment of Ellison's announcement.
"Oracle's business model depends upon extracting maximum revenue from those enterprises that have chosen to be captive to it," said analyst Curt Monash of Monash Research.
Oracle has yet to announce an actual launch date for 12c, but it is expected to occur soon.
Meanwhile, Oracle is set next week to announce a number of partnerships with software vendors around 12c that will "reshape the cloud and reshape the perception of Oracle technology in the cloud," Ellison said.
While Ellison promised the announcements would be "startling," and are to involve companies such as NetSuite, Salesforce.com and Microsoft, only the last seems especially intriguing.
That's because both NetSuite and Salesforce.com are longtime users of Oracle's database technology, although Salesforce.com has made a few moves away from the platform.
But Microsoft has its own widely used SQL Server database, which competes with Oracle's product and is available on Microsoft's Azure cloud platform. And Oracle has its own Azure-like service, through which it also offers its database.
Still, Microsoft and Oracle's joint press conference Monday is apparently important enough to merit the attendance of Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer and Oracle president Mark Hurd, although Ellison wasn't expected to appear.
The rumor mill has churned up quite a bit of speculation over the event, with one of the more prominent themes being that Oracle and Microsoft will announce additional support for running Java applications on Windows Azure, said analyst Ray Wang, CEO of Constellation Research.
Another scenario being floated would see Microsoft and Oracle team up on an OpenStack-like hybrid cloud project, Wang said.
Chris Kanaracus covers enterprise software and general technology breaking news for The IDG News Service. Chris' email address is Chris_Kanaracus@idg.com