Oracle Enterprise Manager
Oracle Enterprise Manager is an integrated management solution that gives companies the ability to proactively monitor the health of all application processes and components—including the underlying middleware and databases as well as the virtual and physical hosts they run on. With new self-managing capabilities, complexity is reduced, efficiency is increased, and enterprise applications run optimally.
Q: Why would you say you were nominated for the Innovation Showcase?
A: I lead the team that developed a plug-in extensibility framework that reduced the amount of time it took to integrate Oracle Enterprise Manager with other hardware, software, or applications. In previous versions of Oracle Enterprise Manager, integrators had to write C code, which is complex and platform-specific. Our goal was to reduce the integration time to just one hour—and we did it. We invented a way for an agent to collect data using standard protocols such as SQL, HTTP, SNMP, WBEM, etc. Basically, we designed a metadata driven fetching mechanism that does the data collection using these protocol 'fetchlets.' With the fetchlets, integrators now only have to write metadata, which makes integration much easier.
Q: How will your innovation benefit customers?
A: Oracle Enterprise Manager focuses on making data centers more efficient and productive. Lots of groups—both internal and external to Oracle—wanted easier integration with Oracle Enterprise Manager. Requiring integrators to write C code was considered a high barrier to integration. Our framework made it easier for customers to manage their technology assets, both Oracle and non-Oracle.
Q: How do you define innovation?
A: I think innovation is part of a larger development philosophy that I call CIA, for create, innovate, and articulate. To create is actually rare. A lot of times, someone's already done what you're trying to do, and that's where innovation comes in. You take an existing idea or product and improve it or you make it do new things. That's the heart of innovation. Finally, in an organization like Oracle, it is critical to be able to articulate what you're doing so that others can understand its importance and value.
Q: How do you think Oracle's innovative culture benefits our customers?
A: I can think of a great example. There's an internal website called review.us.oracle.com that is just fabulous. It came out of an Oracle Server Technologies initiative called "ST-Ventures" where any developer or team can submit their ideas and, provided they make it through a review process, be given funding to take their invention from concept to production. To me, it's revolutionized how we review specifications and other documents because it allows for a collaborative approach. It enables you to put a document on the Web site and have people comment with post-it notes right where you can see them. I think that's a great example of Oracle trying to cull ideas from developers.
Q: What's the most innovative project you've ever worked on?
A: It's this plug-in framework and architecture that allows you, in a very easy fashion, to integrate with Oracle Enterprise Manager. Enterprise Manager had been unable to scale up to managing the many different target types found in a customer's environment because it was bounded by this difficulty to integrate. Our framework allowed Oracle Enterprise Manager to break this scalability barrier. With it, partners and customers can develop plug-ins and take ownership of integrating with Oracle Enterprise Manager.
Q: What technology are you excited about?
A: The advances in Java SDK, Web servers, and Web services. These are all fundamental building blocks that are enabling applications and Web sites around the world to operate. And Oracle is on top of this technology.
Q: Who in the broader world do you think of as most innovative?
A: Google is a very innovative company. It will be interesting to see how they manage their growth. Their development group is organized into small teams of up to 20-30 people that own a product or idea. I think that's an innovative approach because one of the obstacles to innovation is growth. The size of a team is critical. If it's too small you're limited in what you can do, but if it grows too large, the complexities of people management and coordination tend to stifle innovation.
Q: What's the most innovative product—not Oracle's—that you can think of?
A: Apple's suite of products for the Mac. They are nicely integrated and user friendly.