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7/15/2010
09:34 AM
Bob Evans
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Global CIO: In Database Wars, Oracle Blasts Microsoft And IBM

As real-time and Big Data pressures mount and CIOs need advanced databases to keep up, Oracle claims 11g is 5-10 years ahead of IBM and Microsoft. First in a series.

CIOs have a tremendous opportunity to become drivers of growth and innovation across their companies but to assume that role, they need, among other things, to become Masters of the Data Universe. In a time when we hear repeatedly about the imminent data explosion and the information explosion—trends that will make today's data-management challenges seem cuddly by comparison—some companies will figure out ways to harness that data to help drive explosive revenue growth, but those that fail to do so will simply be buried beneath the rubble of an explosion they could neither comprehend nor control.

The Big Data opportunity is to turn all that passive stuff jammed into all those passive storage systems into hyperactive agents of insight into customer behavior, market dynamics, and business opportunity. Most companies have the raw materials—lots and lots of terabytes of it—and some are tapping into a new generation of advanced database, data-management, and analytics tools to get out in front of the explosion and claim that role of Master of the Data Universe.

On top of the scale issue is another equally daunting challenge: the need for businesses to be able to operate in real time. That means going beyond the passive approach of merely accumulating all those data and jamming them into increasingly bloated storage tanks, and instead creating a dynamic and forward-looking opportunity machine that lets businesspeople analyze, manipulate, and re-evaluate huge volumes of scenarios instantaneously to find and exploit—in real time—new revenue possibilities.

Many technology vendors have seen this day coming and have been gradually reorienting their products and technologies to fulfill new requirements tailored to the massive data challenges of today and the even more daunting data crush of tomorrow.

And one of the most hotly contested categories for helping CIOs harness the data explosion involves the database wars fought for a number of years by Oracle, IBM, and Microsoft, and soon to be joined in some fashion by SAP with its looming acquisition of Sybase.

So given the stakes involved in this age of real-time Big Data, we at Global CIO are going to be taking a close look at each of those leading enterprise database companies to assess their strategies for helping CIOs turn their IT systems into opportunity machines by mastering and exploiting the data explosion. And we'll start with Oracle.

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It probably won't shock anyone that Oracle is willing to make some fairly blunt statements about why it feels its database products are superior to those from IBM and Microsoft, so let me lay out Oracle's view of this strategic foundation technology from the perspective of the guy who runs Oracle's database business, senior vice president Andy Mendelsohn.

Asked during an interview at his office this week why a customer would decide to pick Oracle databases over its competitors', Mendelsohn said it's a matter of vision and technology leadership, and he ticked off several core categories in which he said Oracle offers customers unquestioned advantages:

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