Conor O’Mahony, the IBM DB2 marketing director, lays out the case that Oracle’s recent Sparc vs. Power claims are misleading, at best. Those claims by Oracle are that Sun Sparc is seven times faster than IBM’s Power, while the IBM Power server takes up six times as much energy.
O’Mahony claims that the Oracle ad is misleading, and explains why. First, he says that Oracle is only using the results from one subset of a group of performance benchmarks from the Transaction Processing Performance Council. The overall TPC-C results still show that Sparc outperforms Power by about 25% on performance alone, and 19% on price-performance. Still, 20-25% better is not the same as seven times better. O’Mahony also says that the comparison isn’t apples-to-apples because the Sparc machine is about 18 months newer. Needless to say, if IBM wants to submit more benchmarks with more modern machines, I’m pretty sure they’re welcome to do so.
O’Mahony then says that the energy claims by Oracle are also bogus:
If you go to the Sun SPARC T5440 Power Calculator, you can see that a single server consumes between 1551 watts (idle) and 2002 watts (100% active). There are 12 of these servers in Oracle’s benchmark, which results between 18.612 KW and 24.024 KW of power consumption.
If you look at the same information for the IBM POWER 595, you will see that during typical usage a P595 consumes 18.5kW. At 100% utilization, it consumes 27.7kW.
That’s right, the Oracle configuration in an idle state consumes more power than the IBM configuration performing a typical workload.
This is Oracle’s explanation:
The IBM system consumes 6 times more energy per TPC-C transaction reported. Energy use calculation based on published specifications of hardware used in the System Under Test (SUT) for the benchmarks reported. Energy data calculated prior to the existence of the TPC-Energy metric, and should not be compared to any TPC-Energy Results.
That “per TPC-C transaction reported” is likely what’s leading Oracle to claim the energy benefits. Because performance on the Sparc box is better than the Power box, factoring that into an energy calculator will give the benefit to Oracle.
Needless to say, benchmarks are only the starting point. Any company worth its while that is going to be spending millions of dollars on a mission-critical server will not just buy something based on an ad. Even though O’Mahony might have a legit grudge here, the bottom line is that “truth in advertising” is an oxymoron, and most IT buyers out there already know that.]]>
In today’s installment of Obvious News, a Red Hat exec recently said he didn’t consider Oracle to be an open source company. Really? That’s funny, because I don’t think Oracle thinks of itself that way either.
I mean sure, Oracle has its open source elements which have been made that much more robust with the Sun Microsystems acquisition. But if you were to ask 100 IT people to describe Oracle, I doubt any of them would say that it’s an open source vendor.
“I wouldn’t even consider calling them an open source company at all,” Paul Cormier, president of products and technologies at Red Hat, recently said. “When you’re making a choice as a company on what’s open and what’s closed then your customers suffer.”
According to Cormier, a company isn’t an open source company unless everything it creates is open. So according to him, even Sun Microsystems wasn’t open. Cormier said the development around OpenSolaris, for example, wasn’t a true community development. Rather, it was done mainly by developers within Sun.
Oracle CEO Larry Ellison has not minced words when it comes to his plans for the Sun Microsystems acquisition. It is his goal to make money and those parts of Sun that are not profitable will likely fall by the wayside. Simon Phipps, Sun’s chief open source officer, left following the acquisition — or more accurately, he was never offered a job at Oracle. That’s not to say that open source and profitability are mutually exclusive, but then again, Oracle as a company is about 20 times bigger than Red Hat.
“There are pieces that are open,” he said about Oracle. “But what we do, is open everything. We don’t say ‘here’s this part of the operating system that’s open, but this other part is closed.’”]]>
The big one everyone knows about, of course, is Sun Microsystems. Others signal Oracle’s desire to broaden its reach, so to speak – telecom service broker Convergin and healthcare science application provider PhaseForward come to mind. U.K.-based Secerno, however, brings Oracle back to its core in databases, with a focus on security.
Secerno products include database activity monitoring, data protection, data auditing and compliance, both for Oracle databases and non-Oracle databases. Their products are expected to be integrated with Oracle’s own security software, including Database Vault and Audit Vault.
“Secerno’s DataWall product blocks against unauthorized database activity in real-time, over the network — before attacks reach the database,” Oracle said in a letter to customers. “Secerno provides a first line of defense against external threats and unauthorized internal access by creating a defensive perimeter around Oracle, Microsoft SQL Server, and Sybase ASE databases.”
One thing I found interesting was in Secerno’s own description of its company, which mentions virtualization and VMware high up, saying that its DataWall product is “available as a range of either hardware or virtual appliances on the VMware platform.” Nowhere in the Oracle literature of its Secerno acquisition does it mention virtualization or VMware, or at least that I could find. I’m not sure if it was intentional or not, but it seems to signal Oracle’s indifference – some might say hostility – toward virtualization, especially on x86 platforms.
Financial terms of the deal were not disclosed.]]>
SAP announced Wednesday a $5.8 billion deal to buy software maker Sybase, emphasizing its ability to help SAP in the mobile applications market. But is this an acquisition that makes sense?
Some analysts and investors have doubts about the steep price, and others are waiting to see how well SAP will actually take advantage of the database and mobile opportunities this acquisition could provide.
While SAP is stressing the importance of the acquisition for its place in the mobile market, there’s also the idea of being able to compete with Oracle. Currently, SAP runs many instances on Oracle databases, but now, as blogger Joe Kendrick puts it, “SAP becomes Oracle East,” with the ability to offer a ERP-middleware-database-development tools stack.
ZDNet’s Larry Dignan also examines SAP’s plan to compete with Oracle, and wonders if this is just the beginning of a long string of acquisitions.
“It has been suggested by a few observers that the Sybase acquisition has a heavy component of SAP chairman Hasso Plattner’s urge to stick it to Oracle. For better or worse, SAP is now in the database business.”
Ellison was once quoted as saying that “others would be foolish not to try” Oracle’s aggressive acquisition approach. But would he still say the same thing now?]]>
Reuters posted a lengthy and detailed story on Oracle and Larry Ellison today. As usual, whenever someone talks to Ellison, there is plenty of dirt. In this story, Ellison dishes on former Sun CEO Jonathan Schwartz, basically saying he wasn’t a good CEO, and forecasts the future of Oracle hardware.
Ellison criticizes Schwartz at length in the story, saying he spent too much time on his blog and not enough time managing the company correctly.
“The underlying engineering teams are so good, but the direction they got was so astonishingly bad that even they couldn’t succeed,” Ellison told Reuters. “Really great blogs do not take the place of great microprocessors. Great blogs do not replace great software. Lots and lots of blogs does not replace lots and lots of sales.”
Ellison added that the sales deals Sun made — and the commission structure around them — were often nonsensical. In some cases, Sun would lose $1 million on a deal. And the salespeople were making commission on the size of the deal, rather than the size of the profit.
This, of course, is no surprise to any Oracle watchers. Oracle has always been about extracting big profit margins whenever and wherever it can. That explains the reason why Ellison and Oracle are pushing Exadata and Sun’s Sparc-based servers over commodity x86. It makes more money, even in a declining Unix market.
Ellison details why Oracle dropped Sun’s “Rock” processor, a yearslong project that encountered multiple delays and never got off the ground. According to Ellison, it ran too slow and ran too hot, and was basically a time and money sink.
“It was so hot that they had to put about 12 inches of cooling fans on top of it to cool the processor,” Ellison told Reuters. “It was just madness to continue that project.”
Ellison said Oracle would be “pruning” down its x86 server line and will continue to push its stack strategy hard. It plans to unveil more Exadata-like products this fall at Oracle, including one that includes the yet-to-be-released new group of Fusion applications. It already announced Exadata 2 last year, a Sparc-based box built for data warehousing and OLTP. Whether it succeeds is a question, as it only sold about 20 of its previous HP-based Exadata appliance.]]>
The Nashua Telegraph newspaper has an interesting story today about a mother and son who went to a local college and got their master’s degree in business administration (MBA). In part, Nancy Quinn and Keith Bellew did it to avoid getting fired from Sun Microsystems once Oracle acquired it.
The two live in New Hampshire and commuted daily down to Burlington, Mass., where Sun Microsystems has a big lab. When Sun was acquired by Oracle, the layoffs started coming in and the mother-son team got worried. Fortunately, they had already started taking classes in an accelerated master’s program at Rivier College in Nashua, N.H. Everything took its toll, as they had to commute about an hour to work each day, then take classes when they could, and then study every night. Quinn suffered some stress-related ailments.
Adding to the stress on both Quinn and Bellew were worries about their jobs, especially after one man in their class was laid off from their company.
Quinn is a principal project manager at Sun Microsystems, and she and her son hope their graduate degrees give them more security in an insecure industry. Sun Microsystems was bought out by Oracle Corp. recently, and for each of the past three years, the company has seen layoffs of 1,000 people a year. Still, the company paid for their programs.
The master’s degree “is just something to add to my box of tools,” says Bellew, who is 33 and a senior software engineer.
Back in January during Oracle’s announcement of its Sun acquisition, Larry Ellison disputed claims that about half of Sun’s staff – more than 10,000 employees – would be fired once the acquisition was complete. Instead, he said Oracle would fire 1,000 employees in the next few months but hire 2,000 to boost up its businesses. Still, this story gives a good sense of the anxiety felt among employees during an acquisition such as the Oracle-Sun deal.]]>
But now, after the approval of Oracle’s $7.4 billion acquisition of Sun, construction of the 240,000-square-foot, $285 million data center is back on, an Oracle spokeswoman said last week. Many have speculated that Oracle suspended construction of the data center when making the decision to buy Sun Microsystems, which has its own data centers, including one in Colorado.
Since the building of the facility has resumed, what does that mean for Oracle?
IDG’s Chris Kanaracus calls the resumption “a telling indicator of the scope of Oracle’s plans for on-demand software.” While Oracle only currently has a limited number of on-demand and Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) applications, its offerings will greatly expand with the release of its Fusion applications this year.
If the release of Fusion applications stays on track, that is. Delivery of the next generation applications has been long-awaited, and many users are wondering when it will actually occur. At the recent Collaborate user conference in Last Vegas, one Oracle customer was quoted as saying: “When you mention the word Fusion at my company, there’s laughter in the room. Hopefully, the time they’re taking means they’re being prudent.”
There is much to be prudent about with Fusion apps, however, As Kanaracus points out, many Oracle users are on legacy applications such as Siebel and PeopleSoft and don’t want to switch over to Fusion, at least not right away. In an attempt not to alienate these users, Oracle can use SaaS to allow these customers to “consume Fusion a little at a time.”
It should be interesting to see how long it takes to build the data center – and finally deliver Fusion applications – as the year goes on. Do you have any big plans for SaaS or on-demand software? How will this affect them?]]>