From the Editor
Better Partnering, More PartneringBy Tom Haunert
Oracle is not alone in the hardware business.
Before I started working at Oracle, I worked for a computer hardware manufacturing company. During my job interviews at Oracle, several of the interviewers questioned how my experience working at a hardware company would translate to working at Oracle—an enterprise software company. I offered that my hardware experience didn’t happen in a software vacuum, and that most of my experience was actually with a variety of software that made the computer hardware work.
I got the job, and either ironically or very deliberately, I was hired into a porting group whose responsibility was to make the base platform Oracle software run on other operating systems and hardware platforms. This was one of many porting groups at Oracle, and all of these groups worked closely with the respective operating system and hardware platform companies in building their own ports of Oracle software.
Out of the Bag and Into the Box
On September 24, 2008, at Oracle OpenWorld in San Francisco, Oracle CEO Larry Ellison announced: “Oracle is going into the hardware business, but we’re not going alone.” Ellison then detailed Oracle’s entrance, with partner HP, into the computer hardware market with the release of two products designed to boost data warehouse performance: HP Oracle Database Machine and HP Oracle Exadata Storage Server. Ellison outlined the features and performance benefits of these new HP Oracle hardware products, describing each product as a grid—of database servers and storage servers, respectively. The Oracle CEO also reported that beta testers of the products had experienced astonishing results, including performance improvements of 10 times or more over their current data warehouses.
HP Oracle Exadata Storage Server is key to this speed improvement. It reduces the amount of data traveling between storage and database servers by doing much of the query processing in the storage layer, and it increases the bandwidth between storage and database servers. (For more information on the hardware release announcements, see Jeff Erickson’s “Data Warehousing Gets Extreme”.)
People have come to expect big announcements about the latest Oracle enterprise software releases—database, middleware, and applications—at each Oracle OpenWorld, and there were plenty of those announcements this year as well, including the launch of Oracle’s next-generation collaboration software, Oracle Beehive. (For more on Oracle Beehive, see “Beyond the Buzz”.) And in the trade coverage leading up to Oracle OpenWorld, there was the usual speculation on announcements about the next releases of specific Oracle enterprise software components. But I didn’t see any speculation about Oracle making a big partner announcement or, specifically, about Oracle going into the hardware business. I think it’s safe to say that the HP Oracle Database Machine and HP Oracle Exadata Storage Server announcement surprised a lot of people.
And while the hardware announcement meant that there was both a solution for significantly faster data warehouses and a significant addition to the business description of Oracle, for me the theme of the day was partnership. Oracle has developed and ported enterprise software to HP platforms for decades, but with the latest announcement, Oracle has taken its partnership with HP to a new, unprecedented level. Oracle has developed and ported its software to more than a hundred platforms, effectively partnering with the owners of each platform, but information technology’s move to standardized hardware and the Linux operating system means that, among other things, Oracle can now partner more closely in hardware than ever before.
Within an hour of the HP Oracle Database Machine and HP Oracle Exadata Storage Server announcement, I received an e-mail from a company I was not familiar with. The company spokesperson informed me that the company’s hardware was included in HP Oracle Database Machine and HP Oracle Exadata Storage Server. Soon enough, I was corresponding with a new hardware partner about coverage in Oracle Magazine.
Tom Haunert, Editor in Chief