Andreas Bitterer

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Andreas Bitterer
Research VP
9 years at Gartner
27 years IT industry

Andreas Bitterer is a research vice president in Gartner, where he specializes in business intelligence, data integration and data quality, with expertise in analytical applications, data warehousing and information management.Read Full Bio

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Oracle Logo on Racks?

by Andy Bitterer  |  September 25, 2008  |  Comments Off

With yesterday’s announcement of the Oracle Exadata Storage Appliance, Oracle essentially became a hardware vendor… well, sort of. With the help of their friends across Highway 101, Oracle leverages HP hardware, apparently servers and storage, Infiniband, its own 11g DBMS plus ASM and wraps it into a massively parallel database grid. So far so good.

Exadata… cute. Because Terabytes on Teradata are already out there. Petabytes on Petadata (“Pet a data?”) isn’t visionary enough, so we need another factor 1000, with Exabytes on Exadata. Now this is far out enough. Can you “axe a data”? OK, never mind.

Why all this? I’m assuming that Oracle executives visited many data centers in their careers and never ever saw an Oracle logo on those server racks running their very own DBMS. IBM servers, yes, HP, Dell, Teradata, EMC, all there. No Oracle. That must have been a big sting.

Oracle was already very successful getting the Oracle logo out into the world. No major airport that I go through without an onslaught of banners with Oracle is #1, Oracle serves 19 of the top 20 companies in whatever industry, Oracle, Oracle. Paris Charles de Gaulle airport has turned red because of Oracle advertising.

Next step: data center. Well, Oracle was hardly going to start manufacturing any motherboards, chipsets, or disk drives themselves, since the world wasn’t really waiting for another hardware newbie behemoth, when the whole market is consolidating at the same time. Of course, watching even Microsoft starting to acquire hardware assets (I mean, beyond the Microsoft Mouse) with the Datallegro takeover must have accelerated the decision making process to provide an Oracle-branded box with suitable capabilities, and the 11g DBMS comes to mind. So I imagine a phone call from Redwood Shores to Cupertino, kinda like “Hey, Mark, we’ve been friends for a long time, certainly after you had left Teradata <chuckle>, could we get some of your blades and storage racks and wrap them into a nice bundle with our database, so we both can take over the data warehouse market?” Something to that effect and I am obviously exaggerating somewhat.

Hewlett Packard (the hardware unit, mind you!) smells a big opportunity, as most data warehouses these days run on Oracle, so why not have them run on an HP box? Quickly, a few other components are assembled to make it a nice appliance and as painless to manage for the potential user, a name is found (rumor has it, that Larry Ellison himself is heavily involved in all branding activities), welcome, Exadata, the new enemy of Teradata (and IBM).

Wait… wasn’t HP trying to sell its own NeoView box? What was that again? Oh yes, another highly scalable data warehouse “machine”. (They don’t want us to call NeoView an “appliance”). And wasn’t that targeted as direct competition to Teradata as well? By the looks of it, Oracle just stepped on HP toes, and HP let it happen. Funny, how market dynamics sometimes work. I’m sure, the clever marketiers in both companies have all arguments ready, why this new competition is no problem on either side: “It’s good for the customer, more choices, strategic relationship, yada, yada, yada.” However, when it comes to “our revenue” or “no revenue”, I can guarantee that both Oracle and HP favor the first option, which turns the friendship into plain competition. As we say in German: “Beim Geld hört die Freundschaft auf”. Means something like „Friendship ends where money begins“.

We’ll be watching and reporting on developments. Until then, welcome to hardware land, Oracle.

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