SAN FRANCISCO-Oracle CEO and founder Larry Ellison, in the final keynote of Oracle OpenWorld Oct. 14 here at the Moscone Center, dazzled attendees with unexpected guests onstage, then served up some news: details about the company’s software-as-a-service-enabled Fusion Applications middleware suite, something enterprise developers have been waiting to hear about for months.
The surprise guests were California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger and former Who lead singer Roger Daltrey. Daltrey performed with his own band on the same bill with rock group Aerosmith at the conference’s closing party that evening.
The Fusion Applications suite, which runs on Oracle’s Fusion Middleware and Sun’s Java, is a next-generation group of ERP and business applications designed for virtualized systems. The company described Oracle Fusion Applications on its site as, “service-enabled enterprise applications that can be easily integrated into service-oriented architecture,” such as financial transaction systems.
The built-in advantages these applications will have over those of competitors, Ellison said, is that Oracle will automatically monitor and ensure guaranteed service levels.
“Fusion Apps are built to be SAAS- or cloud-ready so we are committing to their service level, which means we have to have a way to monitor their performance to make sure we are delivering the promised level of performance,” Ellison said.
The first Fusion Apps suite will include modules for financial management, human capital management, sales and marketing, supply chain management, project management, procurement management, and governance, risk and compliance, he said.
However, after firing up the crowd by explaining all the whiz-bang features and advantages of the new suite, Ellison casually mentioned that it would be available at some point “next year.” That’s when a number of attendees turned to each other, rolled their eyes and threw their hands up in disappointment.
In addition to explaining Fusion Apps, Ellison introduced a new support portal to help users with similar configurations anticipate problems and fix and prevent technical issues in a collaborative manner.
“Once we fix something, why not put it out there and let everybody else who’s doing the same thing learn from the experience?” Ellison asked.
To allay fears that Oracle may be too focused on future development to think about its legacy-system customers, Ellison assured IT decision makers that Oracle will continue to support legacy middleware-at least for the next 10 years.
“We understand users have enormous investments in things like e-business, PeopleSoft and JD Edwards [applications], and so we will continue to enhance those for the next decade,” Ellison told the conference. “I think we are big enough of a company to maintain [the] software users have today and the software they will buy in the future. You will have a choice to move to the new applications when you want to.”
Ellisons $10 million challenge
The Oracle CEO also made sure to again tout his company’s co-production with Sun Microsystems of a solid-state disk server, the Exadata, the first model of which was introduced Sept. 15.
Oracle, apparently disregarding the fact that Sun is yet to be absorbed into its own corporate culture and that the $7.4 billion acquisition is still awaiting final sanction from the European Commission, is already hard at work on Exadata Version 2, which Ellison showed on stage.
Oracle has described Exadata v2 as the first solid-state OLTP (online transaction processing) machine. Ellison reiterated his claim that it is the fastest computer for OLTP and data warehousing in the world.
“Exadata Version 1 was the world’s fastest machine for data warehousing applications,” Ellison said. “Exadata Version 2 is twice as fast as Exadata V1 for data warehousing.”
Ellison also repeated a challenge he issued at a public appearance Sept. 21: “I’ll pay anybody $10 million on the spot if they can prove to me that IBM or anybody else runs transactions faster than this machine does.”
Attendees were surprised to see Schwarzenegger and Daltrey on stage, as they were not listed in the program.
“It is fantastic to be among all of these innovative entrepreneurs and innovators,” Schwarzenegger told the audience. “I think my IQ shot up 10 points just walking across the stage.”
“What a great way to show appreciation to your customers, by putting on all of this,” Daltrey said. “Oracle’s done a great job.”
Schwarzenegger, endorsing the impending acquisition of Sun by Oracle, congratulated Ellison and Sun Chairman Scott McNealy on bringing together “two of California’s greatest success stories.” He observed, “Combined, these two companies will hold more than 11,000 patents, and they employ 60,000 people in California and 150,000 people worldwide.”