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9/30/2013
10:39 AM
Doug Henschen
Doug Henschen
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Oracle OpenWorld: 5 Rants And Raves

Oracle OpenWorld delivered big news and a consistent message. It also repackaged old news, bashed big data tools and avoided license cost and complexity issues.

Rant: Big Data Window Dressing

Oracle was talking big data at every turn at OOW'13, but it just couldn't resist falling back on its old relational ways. During his Monday keynote general session, "Oracle Database 12c -- Engineered for Clouds and Big Data," Andy Mendelsohn certainly mentioned the Oracle Big Data Appliance, which runs Cloudera's Hadoop distribution as well as the Oracle NoSQL Database, but he didn't have many nice things to say about Hadoop.

Hadoop is "good at ingesting large amounts of information," Mendelsohn granted, but "the tools are all primitive and batch oriented," he added. What's more, "data scientists really want interactive responses," he said, and "you need a relational database for that."

This led into a highly unfavorable demo comparison of a risk analysis handled on Hadoop versus Oracle Database 12c. Mendelsohn wanted to make the point that a new SQL extension added by Oracle can look for patterns in stock trade data, clickstreams or sensor data, and a demo shows such an analysis requiring 600 lines of MapReduce code and hours to run on Hadoop versus seconds to run on Oracle Database.

[ Want more on an important Oracle partnership? Read Microsoft And Oracle Say: Come To Azure Cloud. ]

Mendelsohn was confirming the worst stereotypes about Hadoop 1.0 performance, but he made no mention of Hadoop 2.0 and the promise of its YARN component to help move beyond batch limitations. Nor did he mention improvements to Hive, the SQL interface for Hadoop, or the battery of SQL-on-Hadoop tools emerging this year. These options include Cloudera Impala, which is presumably compatible with the Oracle Big Data Appliance.

Oracle has checked the big data box, but it's performances like these that leave the impression that it doesn't really have its heart (and R&D work) in it.

Rant: Avoiding The Real Issues

License cost and complexity isn't a topic that many conventional software vendors bring up at conferences, but times are changing and cloud competition is resetting customer expectations. Amazon is regularly announcing price cuts, and Salesforce.com has been touting its all-you-can-eat enterprise license deals.

Oracle customers, meanwhile, are frustrated with the licensing status quo, according to John Matelski, CIO of DeKalb County, Ga., and treasurer of the Independent Oracle User Group (IOUG).

"Our first priority is to make Oracle contracts simpler and more customer friendly," Matelski told InformationWeek in a pre-OOW'13 interview. "I'm not so much concerned about price -- although that's a big issue -- but it's just so complex. Right now I have eight different contracts with Oracle that I would love to get consolidated, but that has really been a challenge."

Matelski has been told he can get "like for like" licensing when consolidating applications, for example, but he says he's unclear on what that means in terms of true cost, what carries over from old licenses and what his upgrade costs will be down the road. Compounding that complexity, Matelski says he gets different answers depending on who he talks to.

"I understand that Oracle is a global-scale vendor that has had acquisitions left and right, but at some point after the acquisitions, there needs to be some kind of knowledge transfer to the customers so they can understand the process and what it takes to move from one product to another," Matelski said.

Big vendor events are always showcases for products and services, but some vendors (like Amazon and Salesforce, to name just two) do bring up customer terms and policies from time to time. Given Oracle's acquisitive history, it would seem to be a good idea for high-level executives to at least acknowledge the concern, if not mention concrete steps being taken to make it easier to do business with Oracle.

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Lorna Garey
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Lorna Garey,
User Rank: Author
9/30/2013 | 5:17:04 PM
re: Oracle OpenWorld: 5 Rants And Raves
Sounds like there was enough vaporware to power Oracle's America's Cup entry.
D. Henschen
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D. Henschen,
User Rank: Author
9/30/2013 | 6:17:15 PM
re: Oracle OpenWorld: 5 Rants And Raves
John Matelski, CIO of DeKalb County, GA, and Treasurer of the Independent Oracle User Group, said IOUG would raise the cost and complexity issue directly to Oracle Co-President Mark Hurd at OOW'13. I'll share any reports from Matelski on whether Hurd acknowledged the problems or proposed concrete steps.

Meanwhile, a Tweet from an IBMer and a blog from SAP Chairman Hasso Plattner on Monday complained about Oracle swipes against them at OOW. It was pretty tame. Ellison made an unfavorable comparison of the Sparc M6 to a high-end IBM server during his keynote, but it was quick aside with no slides, stats or price comparisons. Later, Hurd was goaded into a SAP Hana vs. Oracle In-Memory comparison during a press Q&A, but he's not the guy to tap for a technical product comparison.

I stand by my take that it was a kinder, gentler Oracle during this year's Oracle keynotes and general sessions.
ChrisMurphy
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ChrisMurphy,
User Rank: Author
9/30/2013 | 11:21:42 PM
re: Oracle OpenWorld: 5 Rants And Raves
On one hand Oracle is talking up its ability to offer integrated suites of software, and on the other there are complaints like this about customers not being able to roll up many licenses into one. Technology strategy and licensing strategy not moving in step?
PhilHD
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PhilHD,
User Rank: Apprentice
10/1/2013 | 7:32:33 AM
re: Oracle OpenWorld: 5 Rants And Raves
Well the way I see it, instead of coming out with roadmaps showing whats coming out in future (which is impossible for software -its related to revenue recognition issues), Oracle actually discusses and demonstrates the technology thats "coming out soon" during OOW to get customers prepared. Clearly upgrading to a new database, or to a new system, or to a new technology takes time to plan for and adopt. Theres no way, any company will run brand new technology the minute its announced as available <unless "one="" &="" 20+="" a="" about="" acquisitions="" agree="" all="" all"="" along="" also="" always="" an="" and="" announced?="" anything="" are="" as="" away,="" been="" being="" bent="" beta="" blogs.="" business="" by="" comparison="" competition="" contracts,="" customers="" customers.="" defensive="" didn't="" don't="" doug-="" during="" especially="" etc.="" except="" expected="" finally,="" first="" fits="" for="" from="" good="" has="" hasso="" have="" having="" healthy="" hp="" hw="" i="" ibm's="" im="" in="" industry="" is="" issue="" it's="" its="" just="" kraken="" large="" legacy="" licensing="" like="" manage,="" maybe="" much="" multiple="" next="" no="" occasional="" of="" oow="" or="" oracle="" out="" people="" phase).="" plattner="" portfolios="" possible,="" power8="" presenters="" press="" project="" sap="" sap,="" say="" shape="" size="" so="" software="" something="" sometimes="" spent="" sure!="" sw="" talk="" talking="" technologies,="" tested="" thatG«÷s="" the="" their="" theres="" they="" think="" thoroughly="" those="" time="" to="" truly="" ula.="" understand="" up="" upcoming="" vendors="" vendors,="" way="" way,="" way.="" what="" when="" where="" while,="" why="" will="" with="" works="" worried="" year,="" years="" you=""></unless>
D. Henschen
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D. Henschen,
User Rank: Author
10/1/2013 | 1:03:06 PM
re: Oracle OpenWorld: 5 Rants And Raves
Microsoft has been much clearer in saying when Hekaton -- the SQL Server in-memory option -- would become available. It didn't announce the technology until it had a private preview (with named customers, as I recall). At that point it also said roughly when the public preview would be available. And when the public preview was announced, it said roughly when GA would happen. That's a better approach, in my book, than these pre-announce, re-announce games.
cbabcock
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cbabcock,
User Rank: Strategist
10/2/2013 | 12:05:23 AM
re: Oracle OpenWorld: 5 Rants And Raves
Oracle ignores Hadoop and the NoSQL systems at its own risk.They are a big part of future data management. I wouldn't be surprised to see many working with a relational database system on the front end, but they collect and store data in ways that Oracle can't.
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