Ellison Reiterates Importance of Sun's IP in OpenWorld Opener

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

Chris Preimesberger is Editor of Features & Analysis at eWEEK, responsible in part for the publication's coverage areas. In his 10 years and more than 3,500 stories at eWEEK, he has distinguished...