Oracle Pitches Range of New Products at Annual User Conference Keynote

Oracle executives touted the benefits of their existing product lines, promoted some new offerings and pushed the benefits of the company's make-the-hardware-and-the-software-that-runs-it strategy at its annual OpenWorld user conference, underway this week in San Francisco.

Oracle CEO Larry Ellison kicked off the event Monday evening with a rapid-fire pitch before a standing-room-only crowd of conference attendees jammed into the Moscone Center. He echoed the conference theme: "Hardware and Software: Engineered to Work together," and defended his company's decision to add Sun Microsystems SPARC servers to its list of products.

"A lot of people said we were going to get out of the hardware business when we bought Sun," Ellison said. "But I guess we didn't get the memo."

Ellison pointed to the success of Apple's approach in the consumer IT space of designing hardware, software and online services that work well together, and said that Oracle is replicating that approach for its enterprise customers.

"If you design the hardware and software in concert, you do a better job than if one company designs the operating system, another comes up with the VM, another comes up with the database," Ellison said.

Ellison pounded the performance advantages of the parallel execution capabilities of Oracle's Exadata and Exalogic systems and Sun SPARC T4 servers. And he machine-gunned his audience with statistics, comparing his company's machines (unfavorably) with products from IBM and HP.

"How do we make this thing go ten times faster?" Ellison asked. "Parallel everything... Lots and lots of parallel network connections moving enormous amounts of data in parallel."

"We're determined to deliver best-of-breed in every aspect of our computing architecture," Ellison said. "We're in the business of catching up in the microprocessor business. If we don't pass [IBM and HP], we'll be very, very close. If our microprocessor is the same speed and we move data a hundred times faster than they do, I like our chances in the marketplace."

Ellison also introduced a new product: the Exalytics Intelligence Machine, a hardware-plus-software business intelligence management appliance designed to handle relational, unstructured and multidimensional data. The Exalytics machine is powered by 40 Intel Xeon cores, has 1TB of main memory and uses a "heuristic adaptive in-memory cache" to deliver analysis "at the speed of thought," he said. The system will run Oracle's TimesTen and Essbase databases, which the company acquired in 2005 and 2007, respectively.

Ellison was introduced and brought to the stage by the San Francisco Giants baseball team's new CEO, Larry Baer, who presented the CEO with a World Series Ring.

Monday morning saw a number of Oracle executives taking the keynote stage, including Oracle's co-presidents Mark Hurd and Safra Catz, Oracle CMO Judith Sim and Oracle's EVP of product development Thomas Kurian.

Kurian introduced Oracle's Big Data Appliance, which combines the Apache Hadoop software framework for data-intensive distributed applications, the Oracle Data Integrator Application Adapter for Hadoop, the Oracle Loader for Hadoop, Oracle's version of the NoSQL DBMS and an open source distribution of the R programming language for statistical computing and graphics. 

The company is also expected to offer the Oracle NoSQL Database, the Oracle Data Integrator Application Adapter for Hadoop, the Oracle Loader for Hadoop and Oracle's version of R as standalone products independent of the Big Data Appliance.

Kurian also unveiled Oracle Enterprise Manager 12c, the latest version of the company's system management toolset. He said it was the company's "biggest release in five years." He demoed the system and show how it can be used to manage and monitor Exadata installations.

Kurian also dug into the Exalogic app server appliance, describing its software bundle (the Exabus messaging system and Coherence in-memory data grid) as the product's "secret sauce."

EMC Corporation chairman and CEO Joe Tucci, and EMC president and COO of Information Infrastructure Products Pat Gelsinger, also delivered Monday morning keynotes. Tucci told attendees that the "cloud computing wave" would be destructive, but also full of opportunity. He cited an IDC study, which predicted that within a decade the world will be dealing with 35.2 zetabytes of data, while worldwide IT staffing will increase less than 50 percent. "IT," he said, should stand for "industry in transition."

"We believe the cloud answers this problem," said Tucci. "We're leading our customers on a journey to the hybrid cloud (public and private). I see a massive opportunity where cloud meets data."

Tucci also bragged about how his company's FAST (fully automated stored tiering) suite runs in mission-critical Oracle LTP environments. "We run EMC on Oracle databases internally," Tucci added. "And we're proud of it."

About the Author

John K. Waters is the editor in chief of a number of sites, with a focus on high-end development, AI and future tech. He's been writing about cutting-edge technologies and culture of Silicon Valley for more than two decades, and he's written more than a dozen books. He also co-scripted the documentary film Silicon Valley: A 100 Year Renaissance, which aired on PBS.  He can be reached at [email protected].