Citing surging demand across his software portfolio and ongoing optimism about his new hardware assets, Oracle CEO Larry Ellison has brashly declared war against the two companies currently leading Oracle in key markets: IBM in high-end servers and SAP in enterprise applications.
While the inside-the-industry posturing is frothy and fun and all that, the potentially huge impact behind Ellison's declarations rests with CIOs who stand to benefit in great measure by having a wider range of technologies from which to choose and a broader set of vendors with which to align, and by the heightened competition among three of the world's largest top suppliers of enterprise-level products.
In Oracle's earnings call late last week, Ellison promised that the second half of 2010 will be a momentous one for not only Oracle but also the entire IT industry and its enterprise customers because that's when Oracle will roll out its completely reengineered Fusion software lineup along with more integrated and optimized Oracle-Sun systems, along the lines of the wildly successful Exadata 2.
Fueling Ellison's bold claims was his promise that Fusion will permanently close the gaps between its traditional on-premise technology and the high-growth opportunities in on-demand and cloud-based applications:
"One of the important things about our Fusion applications is they're designed to run not simply just on-premise, which of course they do, but they're on-demand- or, if you prefer, cloud-ready," Ellison said.
"So we'll be delivering those applications both by selling the software directly, kinda the old way of doing it, which is still the most popular, by the way; we'll be selling the Fusion applications integrated with our hardware—our servers and our storage and our networks; and we'll be selling it on the cloud." He later added, "our cloud or somebody else's".
(For the full set of related analyses on IBM-Oracle, be sure to check out our "Recommended Reading" list at the bottom of this column.)
That impact of that blunt and uncompromising competition will surely radiate out far beyond IBM, SAP, and Oracle into just about every sector of the IT business that CIOs scrutinize on a strategic basis. For instance:
**Hewlett-Packard: The world's largest IT company is not going to stand idly by as IBM and Oracle look to