I attended the Opening Keynote at Oracle OpenWorld 2009 and there were some interesting things to be said there.
First came Scott McNealy, the CEO of Sun Microsystems to assure the crowd that the acquisition by Oracle is going to be a good thing. He spoke of the theme of the meet being Innovation, and proceeded to talk about all the innovations that Sun had accomplished in the past 25 years: Network File System – NFS (which I had to manage at my first network administrator job), Flash Storage, 64-bit architecture, RISC architecture among others. As a geek, I couldn’t help feeling giddy about some of them.
He then talked about the future under Oracle, and how the commitment was to continue all the product lines that Sun has (SPARC, Solaris, and Java were mentioned at a high level), and brought James Goslin (the Father of Java) to discuss the continued efforts that Oracle was making to ensure the continuity. James talked about the history of Java, and the power it has today. Millions of organizations, devices, and even cards running Java are not going to go away simply (they mentioned that the Tax System in Brazil is written in Java and runs entirely online, for example). Oracle is committed to continuing and growing Java, only question is how they will run a Java + Oracle developers conference since it won’t fit all at once in Moscone Center.
Next was John Fowler on stage to talk about hardware products. He discussed the commitment that Oracle had made to continuing the hardware lines and even continue to invest in Research and Development. He introduced two new products that caught my geeky attention: the Oracle database machine (more in this later) and the Flash Array. The Flash Array is what it sounds like and array of Flash storage modules meant to improve speed and decrease costs. The stats they cited were impressive enough: 80 Flash modules fit in a card (giving 1.8 TB of data storage), versus 3,000 disks — and the power consumption is impressive as well 300 Watts vs 40,000. Further, because of Flash Cache technology available from Oracle they could increase that performance by 4X in addition to the 100X increase going from Disk to Flash.
Larry Ellison came out next and he just took on IBM. He run through the Wall Street Journal articles Oracle had run that promised they were going to spend more than Sun had spent until then in Java, MySQL, and SPARC in addition to more technicians to service the hardware, and invest more into R&D than Sun had invested. He explained how IBM kept telling their customers that Oracle was going to dismantle Sun in spite of the promises as they had done with all other acquisitions, and he countered by listing all the acquisitions that had not been dismantled. He also explained the debates with IBM in relation to the performance ads; all in all, a rather lengthy discussion on how IBM was wrong and Oracle was right.
He closed by describing the performance test they had run between the new Oracle Database Machine and IBM’s top-line computer optimized for database. Results were impressive: IBM needs 76 standard racks versus Oracle 9, IBM has not fault tolerance built-in and Oracle does, 1.22 seconds average response for IBM versus 8/100 of a second for Oracle, 6X more power and 8X more floor space consumed by IBM.
To wrap up he announced a challenge to all organizations (he invited IBM to apply) that if the new systems of Oracle and Sun could not make their applications at least twice as fast, they would give them ten million dollars. Then Scott McNealy came back on stage to say good-bye, and the session was closed.
Now, you are reading this blog because you want information on Enterprise Applications surrounding Customer Strategies and you are probably asking yourself: why on earth is he talking about databases and memory speed? Because there was nothing else mentioned. Not Fusion (supposedly tomorrow when we talk about the stack), applications, or even databases beyond the lengthy discussion on how Sun and Oracle will work together.
I did take away a couple of interesting ideas for further discussion: now that Oracle and Sun have hardware and Software, and so IBM, what will SAP and Microsoft do to effectively compete across the board? Are they targets for acquisition? By whom? There was no mention of the applications and Fusion architecture – not even the middleware components, are they going to matter? Is Oracle shifting their focus from running the entire enterprise just to focusing on IBM and hardware and databases?
If you come back tomorrow, you will find out…