From the Editor
What Numbers MeanBy Tom Haunert
Oracle celebrates 30 years of innovation, but it's other numbers that really tell the story.
In 1977 Larry Ellison, Bob Miner, and Ed Oates formed the company that would become Oracle. 1977 was also a big year for George Lucas, who had just released a film called Star Wars . Of course Star Wars wasn't just a movie; it was news, and it affected entertainment, from science fiction, fantasy, action, and adventure movies and television to—later—digital production technology, gaming, and other digital entertainment, in many different ways.
Among Star Wars' many innovations was that it set new standards for special effects, and all of its sequels and prequels continued to use and improve on those standards. Lucas also encouraged movie theaters to use new standards for projection and sound to most effectively deliver the Star Wars movies he made. That movie theaters used 70mm film and six-track Dolby sound to present Star Wars in 1977 may not sound impressive in today's digital projection and home theater surround-sound world, but in the context of 1977, these new standards helped make seeing Star Wars an experience unlike seeing any movie before it.
In the same way that Star Wars wasn't simply a successful movie franchise, Oracle's database, middleware, and applications are not just successful information technology products. Oracle's products are ongoing innovations, each dependent on technology standards and each setting and exceeding the quality and functionality standards of the previous release. Oracle's innovations have changed how people look at business software and defined today's enterprise software.
(Note that the George Lucas company Lucasfilm now uses Oracle technology to manage massive amounts of data—referred to as "digital assets"—for its digital movie and game projects.
Celebrating Change and Standards
This issue of Oracle Magazine recognizes Oracle's 30th anniversary. In "Oracle Celebrates 30 Years of Innovation," author David A. Kelly recounts the history of Oracle and explores some familiar themes. The article includes quotes from Oracle executives who share their insights on Oracle's commitment to the change, innovation, technology, and standards that the Oracle community has demanded.
In the article, Oracle Senior Vice President of Database Server Technologies Andy Mendelsohn talks about Oracle database development in the 1980s, commenting: "Product planning was pretty easy then. You had big customers, they wanted certain features, and you built them for them. We were customer-driven to grow revenue and comply with the [SQL] standard." In 2007, Oracle is still customer-driven and focused on standards—there are just many more products, many more customers, and, of course, many more standards involved. The "Relying on Standards" sidebar mentions just a few of the standards supported by Oracle in its participation in 100 standards organizations and 200 working groups.
Relying on standards in no way limits innovation and problem solving, however, and in the article Oracle Vice President of Product Strategy Ken Jacobs sums up what is unique about the Oracle approach to solving today's problems and anticipating those of tomorrow and decades to come: "Nothing is impossible. Impossible just takes a little longer."
Oracle has been in business for 30 years, but that's just one of the numbers to consider when you look at Oracle and its community today. Thanks to all members of the Oracle community for helping Oracle achieve the following:
Finally, thank you to Oracle's 68,000 employees, 275,000 customers, and 19,000 partners for making Oracle the successful company it is today.
Tom Haunert, Editor in Chief