Better than the massive defeats by the San Francisco 49ers and Oakland Raider football games in the bay area on Sunday was the opening keynote at Oracle Open World. The Silicon Valley legends Larry Ellison and Scott McNealy opened up the evening to give personal perspective on the pending Oracle and Sun integration of software and hardware together into the new technology titan (See “Oracle to Make Sun Shine on Oracle”) . The keynote was intriguing to see how everything is changing in Silicon Valley.
Scott McNealy took the stage to provide his perspective on the large event of the pending Sun acquisition by Oracle. He reinforced Sun previous commitment to R&D and to the future with Oracle. Scott pointed out that Java operates on 6.5 milliion devices, 2.5 million mobile phones, 1 billion computers and into technology everywhere on the planet. Scott also brought on stage James Gossling who stated Oracle fastest growing products are ‘big bags of Java’ and is excited to be working for a software company. All of this was fanfare for the Oracle crowd who has from a market share perspective adopted the Sun platform significantly over the last couple of decades. But missing was the current CEO Jonathan Schwartz who dates back to the original Java team and worked under the guidance of James Gosling in the 90’s. In recent years his leadership has been under fire (See: Silicon Valley Sun Rising or Setting on Sun Microsystems?” for the lackluster vision and performance and direct competition by Dell, HP and IBM. If Oracle gets approval and take the reins of Sun I believe they will drive stronger business and product leadership which will be good news for companies using Sun and Oracle.
But what would Oracle OpenWorld be without Larry Ellison who brought his traditional dry wit and swagger to the stage. Larry reinforced that they will spend more not less in their merged companies and to advance the Sun technology and business. Larry was his usual self on any of his technology investments and reinforcing the promise to the future of Sun platform with SPARC technology and Solaris operating systems. He states they will make it even better to compete against HP and IBM which is what any Oracle shareholder would expect. Despite a focus in conversation by Larry on competing against IBM, their partner HP should look out as ‘business is business’ and now Oracle has their own server and storage technology to take share points from IBM and HP with CIO budgets.
Larry pushed hard on Oracle Exadata which is now in their second release with now Sun technology with the hardware on stage. Oracle had started with HP but now there is a financial and business advantage with Sun. Larry was pushing on their advantage over Netezza and Teradata as they are not able to OLTP and they do not have scale out architecture like Oracle. This is all good but will require companies to spend more dollars with them compared to others as the market is more fragmented with specialized database and appliances especially to support analytics. Oracle definitely has new and much smaller challengers like Aster Data Systems, Kognitio, ParAccel (See “ParAccel Breaks Significant New Ground in Analytic Database Technology“), Vertica (See: “Vertica Advances Analytics through Sophistication and Simplification“) and others who have been chipping away at companies who are looking for dedicated analytic database technology and currently use Oracle. The upcoming Teradata conference will have a response to this Oracle discussion and renewed energy into data warehouses and appliances which last year was not concerned publicly about them (See: “Teradata: Confident and Competitive”) and continues to compete effectively after decades of practice. We will see how Oracle advances mySQL when the acquisition of Sun is complete and Larry did easily position it as competing technology to Microsoft and a great platform for Oracle to help advance database technology around the world.
Larry was clear in his point that there is a limit to just being a software company which is why it is important for Oracle to integrate Sun and find new methods to simplify technology for the CIO and business. I would agree when you are the scale of Oracle and compete against HP and IBM, it is time to step up and deepen the technology offering. All of this was to be expected to emphasize the importance of this annual event. There are few companies that can challenge Oracle like HP, IBM, Microsoft and SAP. But only IBM has hardware and software and only SAP has enterprise scale applications. But Oracle has the database, middleware and applications and now with server platform and storage with acquiring Sun is positioned to a whole new level. This positions them well to work with your CIO and the need to build a better more business impact approach with CFO and heads of operational business units who are more focus on solutions not technology for managing their business.
The only challenge for Oracle is deeper investment into new mobile technology devices and their platforms like RIM Blackberry and Apple iPhone among many as these devices are part of a larger fabric of business and technology computing. These technologies are critical for helping business interact with consumers and customer and even for attendees like me who could not even watch Oracle keynotes on my iPhone as there broadcasting technology does not support the platform. But this whole issue is for another day and probably more acquisitions to engage into the newer generation of computing and support applications and tools for business to work more efficiently. Let’s see what other new insights and technology come from Monday and the official first day of Oracle OpenWorld which will help forget about the San Francisco bay area footballs team who need to get back practice for next week.
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Mark Smith - CEO & EVP Research