I spent four days attending the technical sessions at Oracle OpenWorld. Similarly, I spent two days at Salesforce.com's Dreamforce conference held last month attending a variety of technical and application sessions.
The bottom line from attending these sessions at both events is that while the executive level message is "faster, more flexible, more manageable," someone has to design, implement and run these systems. Aside from the obvious differences—that Salesforce abstracts the data center functions into a multi-tenant, SAAS (software as a service) model whereas Oracle lives in a data center at your organization—the applications and business processes must be created and run by people who understand the lines of business.
Oracle, along with a slew of other vendors, offers CRM (customer relationship management) and SFA applications in a SAAS model. However, the bulk of OpenWorld, and Oracle, was focused on the database and applications that customers run in on-premise data centers.
I went deep in the weeds to see what's happening with Oracle Database 11g, which I reviewed last month. Today (Thursday) I took a break from performance trends and attended "Oracle Streams Replication and Advanced Queuing: What's New in Oracle Database 11g." For an 8:30 a.m. session on Thursday morning after Oracle's big bash the night before, the session was packed and the questions were flying.
New features including capturing directly from the redo logger that reduces disk I/0 while using streams (performance improvement) and use of the Oracle Scheduler (management improvement) were just some of the highlights from the session.
DBAs may want to check out the new Two-Day + data replication and integration documentation that is designed to be used after going through the Two-Day DBA course.
This documentation was described as a cookbook that would help DBAs who need to implement replication using streams, materialized views, advanced queuing and table data comparison. I think the point that Oracle is trying to make is that Streams is easier to implement than previous data replication services.
After sitting through the session and listening to the questions from the audience, it was clear that an experienced DBA would likely be able to implement some of the basic functionality provided by Oracle Streams. But to do an in-depth implementation of Streams it will take a lot more experience, thought and planning to get anything out of the functionality.
Based on what I've seen after going through the maw of Salesforce and Oracle's high profile gatherings is that the need for highly skilled technical people who understand business isn't about to go away, regardless of where the functionality is hosted and how it is delivered to the desktop or mobile devices where customers interact with business.