Yesterday I asked Jonathan Eunice, the founder and principal IT advisor at Illuminata, about Oracle hiring former Hewlett-Packard CEO Mark Hurd as co-president. Our story yesterday showed that end users seem mostly indifferent to the hiring. In particular, I asked Eunice how Hurd’s experience leading Teradata might help at Oracle, particularly when it comes to the Oracle Exadata machine. Here’s what Eunice had to say:
Teradata isn’t really a hardware company–at least not in the general-purpose hardware sense of HP, Dell, etc. It’s more an appliance company; like NetApp or Netezza; what you’re buying is the software intelligence about solving a particular problem, but the way it’s bought and sold is tied to specific (hardware) systems. Some call this “iron-wrapped software.”
Exadata is a great analogy; a relational DBMS plus the pre-configured hardware to run it–so the system can be highly optimized for the task at hand, but more important, so that the customer doesn’t have to bother with the nuts and bolts. Hurd has experience selling this kind of appliance-ized technology at Teradata, and HP ramped up similar thoughts during Hurd’s tenure, including its Neoview data warehousing play and BladeSystem Matrix.
While the “infrastructure by the pound” model is definitely on the rise, Oracle’s probably more interested in the fact that Hurd has now worked with a large number of premier global enterprises at two different vendors. He has a lot of contacts and friends among customers. He’s been talking to them for years about what they want in data processing and analytics, and he knows the competitive landscape well. He also was highly effective as an operational manager at HP, bringing it discipline and much-improved results. Finally, he knows exactly how Teradata (an Oracle enemy) and HP (a huge route-to-market for, and leading frenemy of, Oracle) work from the inside. So if you can get over the ‘stepping out with a contractor’ and ‘diddling his expense claims’ issues, he can be a great asset for Oracle.