Ellison Reiterates Importance of Sun's IP in OpenWorld Opener

By Chris Preimesberger  |  Posted 2009-10-12 Print this article Print

Oracle and Sun kick off their first joint Oracle OpenWorld conference by announcing an intriguing new flash-based storage system and re-identifying "The Giant" -- as Oracle founder Larry Ellison referred to IBM -- as its key market target.

SAN FRANCISCO-Oracle and Sun Microsystems, nervously awaiting the blessing of the European Commission to become one company by the end of the year, kicked off their first joint Oracle OpenWorld conference here at the Moscone Center Oct. 11 by announcing an intriguing new flash-based storage system and re-identifying "The Giant"-as Oracle founder Larry Ellison referred to IBM-as its key market target.

Sun Chairman and co-founder Scott McNealy, Sun Vice President of the Systems Group John Fowler, and Vice President and Sun Fellow James Gosling represented their company on stage.

Ellison took his usual jabs at IBM and made his standard "we're way faster than they are" statements, but in this instance he ended up taking a back seat to the Sun executives in the opening presentation of a five-day conference that is expected to draw about 35,000 attendees.

Fowler, who appears to have replaced Sun CEO Jonathan Schwartz-who was nowhere in sight-as No. 2 on the company's media-visibility chart, made the news announcement of the evening by introducing the F5100 FlashFire Storage Array, which is loaded with 80 NAND flash modules (which equates to a whopping 1.8TB of solid-state capacity) that Fowler claimed runs on only about 300 watts of power.

"This single array is comparable in speed and capacity to thousands-yes, thousands-of disks," Fowler said. "This new storage system will have four times the throughput of anything comparable on disk, yet cut power use by about one-fourth."

Fowler didn't offer a lot of details about the F5100-including the pricing, which undoubtedly will also be impressive. But solid-state is the way storage is quickly moving, and this new machine promises to be the biggest and most powerful SSD storage array the world has seen to date.

McNealy and Ellison both defended Oracle from recent statements by IBM and Hewlett-Packard, whose advertising has tried to create doubt in the marketplace that Oracle will continue to invest in Sun's SPARC chips, the Solaris operating system, the MySQL database and StorageTek franchises.

"If Oracle messes with it, the world will fork," McNealy said, referring to all of Sun's intellectual capital.

Ellison, who spoke for the last 20 minutes of the opening keynote, reiterated his stance that Oracle will continue to invest "even more than Sun itself did" in the hardware and software developed by the company that brought Java and "the network is the computer" to the world.

"It's dazzling to think of all the innovations that have come from Sun over the last couple of decades," Ellison said. "It's no wonder that Scott is so filled with pride when he talks about the company he founded and all it has delivered to the computer industry.

"I think it's exciting that we can take this great company, Sun, and combine it with another great company, Oracle, and merge those technologies-and maybe do things that neither company could do by themselves."

Chris Preimesberger Chris Preimesberger was named Editor-in-Chief of Features & Analysis at eWEEK in November 2011. Previously he served eWEEK as Senior Writer, covering a range of IT sectors that include data center systems, cloud computing, storage, virtualization, green IT, e-discovery and IT governance. His blog, Storage Station, is considered a go-to information source. Chris won a national Folio Award for magazine writing in November 2011 for a cover story on Salesforce.com and CEO-founder Marc Benioff, and he has served as a judge for the SIIA Codie Awards since 2005. In previous IT journalism, Chris was a founding editor of both IT Manager's Journal and DevX.com and was managing editor of Software Development magazine. His diverse resume also includes: sportswriter for the Los Angeles Daily News, covering NCAA and NBA basketball, television critic for the Palo Alto Times Tribune, and Sports Information Director at Stanford University. He has served as a correspondent for The Associated Press, covering Stanford and NCAA tournament basketball, since 1983. He has covered a number of major events, including the 1984 Democratic National Convention, a Presidential press conference at the White House in 1993, the Emmy Awards (three times), two Rose Bowls, the Fiesta Bowl, several NCAA men's and women's basketball tournaments, a Formula One Grand Prix auto race, a heavyweight boxing championship bout (Ali vs. Spinks, 1978), and the 1985 Super Bowl. A 1975 graduate of Pepperdine University in Malibu, Calif., Chris has won more than a dozen regional and national awards for his work. He and his wife, Rebecca, have four children and reside in Redwood City, Calif.Follow on Twitter: editingwhiz

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