The infamous Larry Ellison did his annual mid-week keynote at Oracle OpenWorld where he delivered his personal passion for new Oracle technology advancements that went beyond his Sunday night appearance with Scott McNealy from Sun Microsystems (See: “Oracle OpenWorld Sunday Night Opener Highlights Technology Game”) and the Monday opening keynote (See:”Oracle Opens OpenWorld with the Charles and Safra Show“). In this year’s keynote he briefly discussed Linux and their efforts to drive neutrality in operating systems though they will potential own Sun Solaris and open source version of Solaris by their acquisition of Sun Microsystems.
Then in a frontal assault on IBM and others with database technology running on hardware other Sun and with appliances, Larry pushed his agenda on Oracle Exadata Version 2 for OLTP and data warehousing which is based on Linux. This is a fine line as we all know since Dell and HP are longstanding partners who also have integrated Oracle into pre-integrated appliances.  Interesting was the continuous rhetoric about why Oracle is better than IBM and his claim that they are 16 times faster and configurations are a quarter of IBM’s prices.  Larry said that IBM has filed a complaint about these inaccuracies and claims it is only 6 times faster which Larry admitted could be true but is still much cheaper. I am sure we will hear more from IBM about this point. Larry claims the versatility of supporting OLTP and data warehousing along with it being faster, better and greener than IBM and others like Netezza and Teradata respond. He pitched Oracle Exadata has better fault tolerance and capacity with the integration of memory from DRAM and flash cache memory along with hybrid columnar compression. An emphasis on how the compression can handle query processing faster with flash memory supporting a compressed 50 terabyte database in sub-second response time. His position is that Oracle Exadata drastically simplifies deployments as they are pre-configured and is ready on day one and price starts at $110k for basics then to $1m for a full rack. So now you have to talk to your peers who have deployed it to see if it is truly the fastest data warehousing & OLTP performance compared to others including what Larry calls ‘exotic specialists’. Larry put down a $10 million challenge that Sun runs Oracle faster than IBM and any company including IBM is able to enter the contest.
Larry then introduced the California governor and Hollywood veteran Arnold Schwarzenegger onto stage to welcome everyone to the conference and the state of California. Arnold took the opportunity to apply humor to recent media pressure on his wife, Maria Shriver not using hands free phone in her automobile and maybe some technology help for him and his personal issue at home. Arnold applauded the advancement of technology and innovation that has started in California from bio to green technology along with smart grid and work by Tesla Motors to create green and fast cars. He then congratulated Oracle and Sun with the combined 11 thousand patents and continued technology innovation in the industry. Arnold then discussed how he is working to advance technology in the state and to work harder to be smarter. He referenced the use of GIS, though probably not from Oracle, and digital mapping to support fires and many other state efforts in what we call Location Intelligence. Arnold stated that ‘fear not’, technology will help conquer the challenges in the 21st century.
Larry then came back on stage to discuss Oracle unified support system from using Oracle Enterprise Manager to the My Oracle Support that operates in a hosted cloud computing effort. The request to companies to work with them and help share technology configuration information and issues. A clever approach and strategy that will also help Oracle reduce costs by having customers share their experiences and resolutions. The value was clear: share information, Oracle will leverage it and then recommend the fix to the issues through automation and help conflict detection and resolution. This should also help address and increase customer satisfaction with Oracle products. Larry then introduced the capability to monitor business activities and service levels using complex event processing (CEP) to examine business and technology activities through metrics. This was part of what I recently wrote about with Oracle CEP and Operational Intelligence (See: “Oracle Complex Event Processing Advances Operational Intelligence”) that can help every business and is a top item in business as found in our Operational Intelligence and CEP benchmark research.
The finale to the keynote was the long awaited update on Oracle’s Fusion applications which is the next generation of Oracle applications that is the future for them that is built on Oracle Fusion middleware technology. The first version of Oracle Fusion applications will span into financial management, human capital management, sales and marketing, supply chain, project portfolio management, procurement management and governance-risk-compliance. More specifically the specific applications will be focus on distributed order management, talent management, incentive compensation, territory management, financial accounting hub, sourcing, product data management and GRC is embracing further (See: “Oracle Brings Focus to GRC After SOX Cloud”). He stated that they have enormous project with these applications and are code complete with the first scoped applications and now in test with the applications. Larry’s major position is that the applications are built on standards-based middleware, well Oracle Fusion Middleware compared to all other applications including their own that use proprietary or custom development tools. Now while this is their advantage, the question is how extensible the applications will be for organizations. The largest emphasis was placed on how the applications use built in business intelligence to drive action and responsiveness along with a SOA framework to tie into an enterprise efficiently. The applications used a similar design approach to demonstrated during the week (See: “Oracle Middleware Provides Rich Enterprise Applications to Advance Information Applications Market”). Now the question is how well Oracle will convince organizations to upgrade to Fusion when they become available which is a new platform using Oracle Fusion middleware.
To ensure that everyone believed the progress and the anticipated release to the Fusion applications, a series of application demonstrations were done that showed collaborative, process, information and BI centric nature of the applications. The first demonstration presented order and shipment visibility in relation to the sales forecast and incentives to integration across the supply chain using an exception based approach using business intelligence. The second demonstration showed how human capital management can be used to assemble new teams of people for projects using talent management which has long been awaited capabilities by Oracle. Both of these demonstrations show clear value in a new generation of capabilities that are simpler and more aligned to how business processes actually operate. The keynote went long and Larry finished up quickly and stated, Fusion Applications will ship next year and closed the session.
What does all of this mean for you as an organization using Oracle or evaluating it for the combination of hardware and software for OLTP or analytics and business intelligence through data warehousing, middleware or waiting for Oracle Fusion applications? Well you will need more details and analysis to ensure you are fully confident in your evaluation criteria and satisfied with your analysis for making a decision. Clearly Oracle has made significant progress in technology advancement in the last year on all fronts and show no sign of slowing down. If you need some additional help assessing all of these announcements, just let me know.