Buoyed by wins in the America’s Cup, Oracle CEO Larry Ellison opened this year’s Oracle OpenWorld conference by outlining an enterprise technology world full of possibilities—if you just do it Larry’s way—totally.
In an era of open compute, software-defined networks and Web giants such as Google, Facebook and Amazon wielding warehouse arrays of commodity hardware, cheap disks and (mostly) open-source software, Ellison’s company adheres to the concept of Oracle red-colored hardware running software stacks designed and tuned for the enterprise.
Users can either buy into the plan or consider cobbling together their own stacks. There really isn’t much room between the two approaches.
The big benefit of the “engineered systems” advocated by Ellison and his lieutenants is the hard integration work is done for you. The big downside of the one-big-red-stack approach is few companies, even those of Oracle's size, have the capability to advance all the technologies including processors, memory, database, application, cloud and mobile capabilities in concert. Customers have to consider the vendor tie-in that comes along with buying into the stack.
Ellison, wearing his signature open necked sweater and stage-side manner that alternates between jokes and the manner of a moderately exasperated school teacher, was in full sales mode at his keynote address. He steered clear of banging on competitors SAP and IBM and focused on offering up big percentage number for increased query speeds able to handle billions of requests with sub-second performance.
If you are an Oracle customer, it is worth looking at those products. The driving force behind the announcements is the company’s plan to offer up an integrated (engineered) hardware/software stack.
“We design the hardware and software to work together,” Ellison said. That integrated design allows for faster deployment, costs less and saves energy, he said. This is an interesting position for a company that originated a database software business that let other companies sell the hardware.
Meanwhile, the company appears determined to build the hardware aspects of its engineered business despite continuing questions about the wisdom of continuing the huge investment required to support the SPARC processor business acquired as part of the Sun acquisition. At a press conference, Mark Hurd, president, said the engineered business falls into both the software and hardware buckets. But besides saying the business grew 60 percent, he declined to provide a breakdown of the revenue numbers.
Products and services highlighted by Ellison included:
1. The Oracle 12C version of the company’s premier database, which was introduced last June. At that event, Oracle touted a pluggable feature which allows for multiple discrete databases to sit within one single container. This alleviated a lot of concerns about cloud deployments because discrete databases can be individually secured and managed.