"I think the combination of much better performance and the fact that it's an appliance, where all the pieces are engineered to fit together and are tested together, and the fact that it's a fault-tolerant architecture gives us a huge advantage over IBM in the OLTP space. So again, each customer will take their time in trying it and then making a decision, but we're making really good progress."
Ellison continued to reveal his unbridled enthusiasm for not only Exadata, which runs on Sun hardware, but also for the entire Sun hardware line--and he did so with some risk. Carefully noting that "the guidance is the guidance," he indicated his own fervent optimism in Sun's ability to grow quite nicely in the future as the Oracle-Sun combination continues to develop and market additional optimized systems, and promised to double the size of the Sun sales force to make that so.
"I also want to add on to what Safra [Oracle president Safra Catz] said: she forecast hardware at $1 billion for Q1, and the guidance is the guidance," Ellison said. "However, you should know our plan is to dramatically grow the Sun sales organization and strongly grow the Sun business. Your earlier question about profitability: we are focused on growing the Sun business and growing it rapidly.
"We're being very conservative in our guidance as we should be but we are adding a lot of salespeople... We're gonna more than double the Sun sales force."
It's probably safe to say that IBM doesn't exactly share Ellison's perspectives on Exadata's success among core IBM clients, or on Exadata's superior performance relative to IBM's top systems, so I look forward to sharing with all of you IBM's views on the intensifying battle between the two companies for the hearts and wallets of CIOs.
Bob Evans is senior VP and director of InformationWeek's Global CIO unit.
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