Looking for 'Front-and-Center-ware' at Oracle Open World - InformationWeek

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9/26/2008
05:04 PM
Cindi Howson
Cindi Howson
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Looking for 'Front-and-Center-ware' at Oracle Open World

I attended my first Oracle Open World this week with a degree of trepidation when a colleague told me 60,000 people attend... I was a little worried about the BI sessions and customers getting lost among larger lines... and I'm not thrilled that the BI products reside in the middleware group. BI should be front-and-center-ware - the payback for all that data warehouse and middleware plumbing!

This is my first time attending Oracle Open World. I met it with a degree of trepidation when a colleague told me 60,000 people attend. 60,000??! The official count was 43,000, but still, that's more than twice the size of my home town and 10 to 20 times the size of the typical BI conferences I attend.

So I was a little worried about the BI sessions and customers getting lost beneath the weight of the larger lines of Oracle's businesses (mainly the database and operational apps) - let alone how do that many people move among venues?Rumor had it that CEO Larry Ellison would be making a big announcement related to BI during his keynote. The line to attend the keynote circled around the block. I couldn't help but recall the only other time I've stood in line like this was to see Phil Collins.

The big news that everyone knows by now is the launch of the HP Oracle Exadata Storage Server and the HP Oracle Database Machine (the latter is an appliance that bundles a grid of database servers and a grid of Exadata Storage Servers). Both combine hardware (built by HP) and software (from Oracle), and the entrance onto the stage was nothing short of dramatic.

Ellison cited compelling Database Machine statistics on performance improvement versus traditional hardware and Oracle deployments - generally a 16 times to 30 times performance improvement. Noteworthy to me is that while routine transactions like data warehouse updates were significantly faster, query performance seems to get the biggest boost. One early customer adopter Giant Eagle grocery chain reported queries ran 50 times faster. This move clearly challenges vendors Teradata and Netezza, but in this strange world of co-opetition, I'm wondering what it means to Neoview. I'll defer to those experts who focus on BI appliances and data warehousing.

From the BI tools side of things, I'm not thrilled that these products reside in the middleware group. BI should be front-and-center-ware! After all, BI is the payback for all that data warehouse and middleware plumbing, so I don't quite agree with how this division is branded or organized. But maybe I'm biased on this point.

Beyond whatever buzz a conference generates, where I've been seeing Oracle have momentum in the BI tools space is through its analytic applications, which are built on the OBI EE platform. While each of the analytic apps are in varying degrees of maturity, as OBI EE expert Jeff McQuigg from MetricSphere told me, just getting the ETL and business meta data layer for the various operational apps (E-Business Suite, PeopleSoft, Seibel) gives customers a big jump start on their BI deployment. Oracle officials said their BI revenues more than doubled in the last year, and about 50% of that was driven by sales of the analytic applications. That Oracle both owns the operational apps and has an extensive portfolio of analytic apps is a significant competitive differentiator.

Regards, Cindi HowsonI attended my first Oracle Open World this week with a degree of trepidation when a colleague told me 60,000 people attend... I was a little worried about the BI sessions and customers getting lost among larger lines... and I'm not thrilled that the BI products reside in the middleware group. BI should be front-and-center-ware - the payback for all that data warehouse and middleware plumbing!

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