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7/7/2010
06:14 PM
Bob Evans
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Global CIO: Larry Ellison's Hardware Boasts Are Nonsense, Says IBM

Ellison says his Exadata machine is converting IBM customers, but IBM says Ellison's dealing in smoke and mirrors rather than reality.

Oracle's new Exadata Database Machine is beating IBM's top systems like rented mules, Larry Ellison boasted last month, claiming that Exadata wracked up 30 head-to-head wins against Big Blue's best in the three months ended May 31.

But IBM offers a very different view of its recent competition with Oracle/Sun, saying that Ellison is more concerned with slinging mud than with describing what's really going on in the business-technology world, and that Oracle is hemorrhaging server revenue and server market share.

What makes this particular pissing contest highly consequential is that it's not just about commodity PCs or servers but about the various kinds of high-end systems that are rapidly becoming the backbones of enterprise IT architectures in today's high-volume, high-velocity global marketplace where soaring volumes of mission-critical data must be gathered, sorted, distributed, reshaped, revised, and reevaluated in real time.

And what makes it ironic is that while Ellison has made it unmistakably clear that the IBM of 50 years ago is the model he's chosen to emulate for Oracle/Sun, the IBM of today is his very public enemy #1.

For IBM, the feeling is mutual, as IBM charges that Ellison is engaging in the same types of misleading comments and comparisons that IBM claims he and Oracle have used in the past when comparing the performance and capabilities of Oracle's databases with those of IBM's DB2.

Said an IBM spokesman when asked for a reaction to Ellison's comments about the drubbings IBM's high-end systems were receiving from Exadata, including at what Ellison called "some of IBM's largest and bluest accounts":

"Oracle's aggressive marketing is not a substitute for important details like a Sparc roadmap. Customers we speak with continue to question Oracle's lack of investment and long-term road maps for systems and are switching to IBM in droves," the IBM spokesman said in an email reply.

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"That's why more than 100 clients switched to IBM systems and abandoned Sun in the first quarter . . . and we expect that trend to continue when we announce our new Power 7 products later this year.

"The fact remains that Oracle is not investing in Sun's people or its technologies, and it's showing up in the marketplace."

IBM also went on to point to three findings from a recent Gartner study on the server market that presented Oracle/Sun in some very unflattering light:

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