Oracle's Single Stack Draws Reaction From Rivals - InformationWeek

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Oracle's Single Stack Draws Reaction From Rivals

Many observers say Oracle's integrated-stack push harkens back to the single-vendor solutions of the 1960s.

For more on business intelligence, see Intelligent Enterprise.

Oracle's plan, laid out last week, to offer a single technology stack combining Sun hardware and operating systems with Oracle middleware and applications is either hopelessly naive or woefully late to the market. At least that's the perspective of Oracle's two biggest rivals, SAP and IBM.

Oracle says its single-vendor stack will eliminate many of the hassles faced by modern IT shops, starting with integration and deployment and extending to ongoing administration and upgrades. In the bargain, Oracle is promising both better application performance and reduced administrative overhead within customer data centers.

The rationale sounds good in theory, admits Kaj van de Loo, senior vice president of technology strategy at SAP, but it doesn't square with customer practices. For years, he says, companies have been working toward standardization in their data centers, specifying hardware, operating systems and systems management software and training people accordingly. In many cases the choice is HP-UX or IBM-AIX for large applications and Windows for everything else.

"If you dump a new stack into that data center, the total cost of administering the overall system landscape is going to go up," van de Loo says. "It doesn't matter if that one piece is easy to manage or upgrade, it's a foreign object that the data center will have to learn how to handle."

Perhaps Oracle shops already running Sun hardware would face minimal, one-time adjustments, van de Loo acknowledges. But he doesn't foresee other customers ripping and replacing current technology to adapt to new standards.

Van de Loo's analysis may seem contradictory given that SAP itself preintegrates its All-in-One software for midsized companies with hardware from HP and IBM. But those offerings, as well as its Business Warehouse Accelerator and BusinessObjects Explorer appliances, aren't comparable to enterprise applications, van de Loo insists.

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