Ellison Explains TPC Reprimand
Ellison talked a bit about the recent reprimand he and his company received from the Transaction Processing Performance Council, a nonprofit that checks on claims made in advertising that involve benchmarks for IT products. The TPC's TPC-C benchmark is an often-used standard for comparing online transaction processing performance on various hardware and software configurations.
The TPC requires that claims based on TPC benchmarks must be demonstrable using publicly available data from official TPC benchmark results.
Oracle contended in a series of advertisements that its database server running on SPARC chips and on Solaris is faster than one from IBM using a benchmark result it claimed will be announced on Oct. 14. "This is not supported because Oracle did not have a TPC result at the time of publication," the TPC said on Sept. 30, when the TPC announced that it had fined Oracle $10,000 for the yet-to-be substantiated claim.
"Right after we announced the merger," Ellison said, "IBM started going to Sun customers and said, 'Well, you know, Oracle's going to get out of the hardware business. They're not going to invest in Solaris. They're not going to invest in SPARC. They don't care about that-they're a software company. As a Sun customer, can you deal with this kind of uncertainty?'
"We felt we had to respond. And we made a series of commitments [in advertisements]. First we said, 'We are not selling the hardware business-no part of the hardware business. We think SPARC is a fantastic technology, and we think with a little more investment it can be even better."
Ellison then said that is why his company ran the benchmark ad. "We knew it was a little out there, but we thought it was important. We figured, 'Well, it cost us 10 grand.' But we will be running the ads again soon, and now everything is on the right time line," he said.
Ellison also expressed specific support for every major Sun and Sun-sponsored product.
"We also think that MySQL is a fantastic piece of technology, it's extremely popular, it's an open-source product, and we're going to increase our rate of contribution to that product. We feel that if we can make it better, we might be able to make a little money along the way," Ellison said.
Ellison poked fun at IBM several times during the keynote, but the one statement that might have hit home the most involved a reference to Big Blue's well-publicized Smarter Planet initiative.
"We're in it to win it. We're looking forward to competing with IBM in the systems business," Ellison said. "We think the combination of Sun and Oracle is well-equipped to compete successfully against the giant.
"We're not trying to make a smarter planet here-we're trying to make smarter computers."