Eye on Oracle


January 16, 2008  11:14 AM

The Oracle-BEA deal: Expert analysis

Derek Kuhr Derek Kuhr Profile: Derek Kuhr

Oracle’s acquisition of BEA Systems Inc. is likely to make the merger-happy database and business applications giant the market leader in enterprise middleware, and IBM and SAP are unlikely to take the threat lightly, according to one IT industry expert.

“SAP’s NetWeaver is among the weakest of middleware platforms, despite [the fact that it is part of] one of the strongest ecosystems,” said Ray Wang, a senior business applications market analyst with Cambridge, Mass.-based Forrester Research Inc. “[And] IBM will be threatened by an Oracle dominance in middleware.”

Oracle’s planned $8.5 billion takeover of BEA also highlights just how important middleware is to the big players’ software marketing plans.

“Each vendor’s last mile solutions depend on a strong middleware tool and a community of individuals and solutions providers who build and extend the platform,” Wang said. “[The] acquisition also marginalizes SAP NetWeaver’s role as a standalone middleware solution.”

Wang added that Oracle probably sees BEA’s attractive customer base as a means to further its “vertical ambitions.”

BEA brings high end custom development clients to the table,” Wang said. “With a blue chip base of the best internal IT shops — those in telecom, financial services, and public sector — Oracle or any acquirer could cement its leadership in middleware over IBM, Microsoft and SAP. These custom development shops represent the best and brightest user base and the most lucrative.”

The bottom line?

“Oracle’s long term merger strategy centers on gaining the biggest installed base around not only mission critical applications, but also middleware,” Wang said. “At the end of the day, it’s also about selling more database and gaining the largest share of the IT wallet. We expect accelerated consolidation along key battle grounds of middleware platforms such as Master Data Management, business intelligence, portals, business process management, and other information management tools. Don’t expect the competitors of BEA to sit still.”

Do Wang’s points make sense? Is Oracle a good fit for BEA? Let us know.  

January 9, 2008  11:03 AM

The quotable Larry Ellison

Derek Kuhr Ken Cline Profile: Clinek

Larry Ellison, everybody’s favorite yacht-racing former-playboy billionaire, is beloved by journalists looking for a memorable quip . . . or a blog post. Here are a few amusing ones I’ve come across over the years:

On business:

“A corporation’s primary goal is to make money. Government’s primary role is to take a big chunk of that money and give it to others.”

“When you’re the first person whose beliefs are different from what everyone else believes, you’re basically saying, “I’m right, and everyone else is wrong.” That’s a very unpleasant position to be in. It’s at once exhilarating and at the same time an invitation to be attacked.”

“Bill Gates wants people to think he’s Edison, when he’s really Rockefeller. Referring to Gates as the smartest man in America isn’t right… wealth isn’t the same thing as intelligence.”

“You know, in Rome if they did not like somebody, they threw them to the lions in the coliseum. Today we have the media.”

On being filthy rich:

“When I started Oracle, what I wanted to do was to create an environment where I would enjoy working. That was my primary goal. Sure, I wanted to make a living. I certainly never expected to become rich, certainly not this rich. I mean, rich does not even describe this. This is surreal.”

“I think after a certain amount of time I’m going to give almost everything I have to charity. Because what else can you do with it? You can’t spend it, even if you try. I’ve been trying.”

“Being first is more important to me. I have so much more money. Whatever money is, it’s just a method of keeping score now. I mean, I certainly don’t need more money.”

On parenting:

“My son first wanted to go to Stanford, which I thought was O.K. The weather is pretty good, and it’s a fairly short drive to the beach. But it wouldn’t be as good as let’s say, Pepperdine, which is in Malibu. And he said, ‘Dad, what about the education?’ I said, ‘Clearly, I failed as a parent.'”

On giving hope to slackers and hackers:

“I left school without a degree, came to California. I never took a computer science class in my life. I got a job working as a programmer; I was largely self-taught. I just picked up a book and started programming.”

Enjoy, Tim


January 7, 2008  9:18 PM

Top Gear host’s stunt highlights data theft concerns

Derek Kuhr Derek Kuhr Profile: Derek Kuhr

Our favorite security blogger — Pete Finnigan of the Oracle Security Weblog — today wrote about an instance of data theft that should serve as a valuable life lesson to anyone.

According to a recent article, TV presenter Jeremy Clarkson of Top Gear wrote a newspaper column in which he posted his personal bank account details. Clarkson was hoping to make a point that a recent loss of HMRC data was no big deal.

Well, the joke was on Clarkson when someone unlawfully debited his account and made a donation to a  UK diabetes charity.

According to Finnigan, the lesson here is clear: “Don’t mess with data, especially data that relates to your personal details; there will always be someone who can abuse it.”

SearchOracle.com and its sister site, SearchDataManagement.com, regularly cover and examine the implications of instances of data loss and data theft. Here are some of the best articles we’ve had on the subject thus far:


January 2, 2008  10:36 AM

Most clicked Oracle stories of 2007

Derek Kuhr Ken Cline Profile: Clinek

You’ve read about the best movies of 2007 (which you haven’t seen) and the most embarrassing celebrity scandals of 2007 (which you don’t care about). How about something a tad more relevant?

Here is our look back at your favorites of the year that was 2007:

  1. Is Oracle technology too darn expensive? – This year, many IT professionals said they would consider an alternative to Oracle because of the high cost of running Oracle database or business applications.
  2. Oracle SQL Developer gets an update – Last January, Oracle unveiled a new version of its free SQL Developer tool and also the SQL Developer Exchange site.
  3. Author Mike Ault sizes up the new Oracle Database 11g – This exclusive podcast interview features Mike Ault, a popular speaker at all the major Oracle conferences, discussing Oracle Database 11g’s new SQL replay and memory management capabilities and much more.
  4. Oracle shows off Database 11g – Last July, after a nine-month beta test, Oracle unveiled its Database 11g, the long-awaited overhaul of its flagship database management system.
  5. Oracle SQL Developer vs. Toad: Users speak out, part two Oracle developers had differing opinions on the best PL/SQL editing and debugging tools.

And here on the blog, the posts that got you the most riled up were as follows:

  1. “Database administration is for suckers”?
  2. Is Oracle supportive?
  3. Does anybody really like SQL?
  4. Oracle ACE program “almost completely worthless”
  5. Thirty years of Oracle innovation — but is it really a RDBMS?

But wait, there’s more! We also list the most popular tips, expert responses and learning guides of the year. For some interesting data management predictions for 2008, check out SearchDataManagement.com’s compilations.

From all of us here at SearchOracle.com and TechTarget, we wish you a happy and prosperous 2008!

–Tim


December 19, 2007  12:01 PM

NetSuite IPO highlights Ellison’s investment tactics

Derek Kuhr Derek Kuhr Profile: Derek Kuhr

There’s yet another interesting story out this week about Larry Ellison‘s unbelievable nack for making money.

The story, which appears on Forbes.com, talks about the Ellison-based NetSuite — an online CRM applications provider — plans to go public this week. They’re saying that prospects for NetSuite’s stock prices are mixed, but Ellison, who also back NetSuite rival Salesforce.com, as well as, of course, Oracle, is poised to bring home a giant sack of cash.

According to the article, even if NetSuite’s stock prices tanks, Ellison has already profited and will continue to profit from the Software-as-a-Service trend.

Once the IPO is completed Ellison and his family will control more than 65% of NetSuite’s common stock, says Forbes. But Ellison will not be in charge of the company.


December 17, 2007  12:19 PM

Oracle mythbusters

Derek Kuhr Ken Cline Profile: Clinek

Veteran Oracle DBA Richard Foote recently posted an interesting article/diatribe about the myth of rebuilding Oracle indexes. He states:

There are still many people who think indexes should be rebuilt regularly if they experience lots of DML, that indexes should be rebuilt if they’re have a height greater than some level. . . . [But] most indexes never need to be rebuilt. Never, ever.

It’s an entertaining read, with some lively discussion from readers. On a related note, we also have posted several myth-busting articles you might be interested in. For example,

1. Tom Kyte’s frequently asked questions and myths about indexes, including

  • Myth: Space is never reused in an index
  • Myth: Most discriminating elements should be first

2. Mike Ault’s Oracle myths debunked

  • Myth: Indexes and tables do not need to be separated
  • Myth: Multiple blocksizes don’t improve performance

Sure, Mike and Tom are no Adam and Jamie (they’ve caused no explosions that I know of), but newbies need to be aware of some of the controversies, half-truths and outright errors percolating in the Oracle community. Do you know of any myths that you’d like to see busted? Let us know!

Have a good week, Tim


December 12, 2007  12:24 PM

Oracle acquires Moniforce: Fills key monitoring hole

Derek Kuhr Derek Kuhr Profile: Derek Kuhr

Oracle’s acquisition of Moniforce fills a gaping hole in Oracle’s monitoring technology lineup, according to one IT industry analyst who pays close attention to Oracle Enterprise Manager and other systems management products.

Oracle, said Jean-Pierre Garbani, an analyst with Cambridge, Mass.-based Forrester Research Inc., has been laboring to build a system management portfolio that centers on Oracle, web and J2EE-based applications. And Oracle isn’t alone.

Garbani went on to say that the leaders in the monitoring space — CA-Wily Technology, Hewlett-Packard, Compuware and Symantec — have historically broken their offerings up into two major components: An end user monitoring product similar to Moniforce and a J2EE application monitoring product.

“Oracle just announced a new J2EE monitor [but] was missing the end user experience monitoring,” Garbani explained, “hence the acquisition of Moniforce who appeared to be the best available solution on the market.”

The analyst said that Moniforce will become an important component of Oracle Enterprise Manager, but Moniforce’s existing customer base probably won’t feel much pain as their vendor joins Oracle’s stable of acquisitions.

“One thing that may happen, however, is that the subscription business model used by Moniforce in Europe will be dropped,” he said. “I cannot say that with any level of certainty, but it would be a logical move.”

According to the IT blogger known as Captain Blackbeak, Moniforce will also be a boon to Oracle business intelligence (BI) efforts as they relate to the web.

“Oracle is the first BI solution to make a strategic acquisition into the web analytics space by acquiring Moniforce,” Blackbeak wrote. “It was only a matter of time, the only real surprise is that it has taken this long. […] It will be interesting to see if Oracle make further moves in the industry.”

What do you think? Is Moniforce all it’s cracked up to be? And do you have an interest in buying such a product from Oracle? Let us know.

— Mark


December 10, 2007  12:50 PM

Corporate IT or vendor IT: Which is like a dog’s breakfast?

Derek Kuhr Ken Cline Profile: Clinek

SOA guru Steve Jones recently wrote an amusing riposte to a blogger who warned budding developers not to go into corporate IT because it was “soul suckingly bad.”

The original post, from coder Joel Spolsky, argued that corporate IT development is not a fulfilling career because:

1. You never get to do things the right way. You always have to do things the expedient way. . . . You’re going into Visual Studio, you’re going to click on the wizard, you’re going to drag the little Grid control onto the page, you’re going to hook it up to the database, and presto, you’re done. It’s good enough. Get out of there and onto the next thing.

2. As soon as your program gets good enough, you have to stop working on it. Once the core functionality is there, the main problem is solved, there is absolutely no return-on-investment, no business reason to make the software any better. So all of these in house programs look like a dog’s breakfast: because it’s just not worth a penny to make them look nice. Forget any pride in workmanship or craftsmanship . . . You’re going to churn out embarrassing junk, and then, you’re going to rush off to patch up last year’s embarrassing junk.

3. [Unlike in corporate IT], when you’re a programmer at a software company, the work you’re doing is directly related to the way the company makes money. That means, for one thing, that management cares about you.

Steve responded by saying that Joel must have had a bad experience at a crappy company. “The real reason to me that corporate IT is a great place to work,” he says, is that “if you are good and have good communication skills, you can actually see what you do makes a difference. . . it’s corporate IT where the real achievement is. Software vendors provide the bricks and mortar, they quarry the stone and provide you with the rough hewn pieces for you to carve and give purpose to.”

Plus, he points out, in a corporate setting, there’s better “societal balance — by which I mean women.”

In-house developers might be an endangered species anyway. A Ventana study last year found that many companies prefer to buy, for example, off-the-shelf business intelligence applications rather than build them.

What do you Oracle developers think?

Cheers, Tim


December 5, 2007  1:21 PM

The second age of the mainframe

Derek Kuhr Ken Cline Profile: Clinek

Don Burleson posted an interesting article today on Oracle virtualization and makes the point that it is leading us into the “second age of mainframe computing.”

He writes,

It’s back to the future for the Oracle database world. The inefficient one server/one database approach of 1990s client-server technology is long gone and Oracle shops are now re-consolidating their data resources, moving back to the mainframe-like centralization of the 1980s. . . .

Moreoever, he says that this trend is bad for the DBA job market:

Server consolidation is bad for the DBA job market because one of the main reasons for consolidating hardware resources is the savings from reducing DBA staff. A typical shop can save a million dollars a year by removing a dozen DBAs.

Add virtualization to the list of DBA complaints. . .

-Tim


December 3, 2007  12:10 AM

Oracle vs. Google

Derek Kuhr Ken Cline Profile: Clinek

Is Oracle cool again?

That’s the question that Oracle Apps insider David Haimes asks in a personal account of his ten years at the company. He brings up an interesting point that I’ve been pondering as well:

“Oracle is gobbling up competitors and that is all anybody talks about when you mention you work for Oracle; nothing about our products or new technologies, it’s just who we bought or who we will buy next. . . . [but] this year at Open World people were talking about cool things we are doing again, some of the highlights are Oracle Mix, Oracle Wiki, the No Slide Zone, The Unconference. It feels like we’re trying new things and pushing the boundaries taking some risks.”

Do you agree that Oracle is becoming an “innovative” company again? Can Oracle compare to a company with a risk-taking, cutting-edge reputation such as Google? One look at the labs.google.com page shows a lot of new ideas, albeit most are consumer-level widgets and not mission critical business applications (so far!).

If so, what do you think is the most innovative product/feature Oracle has launched in the last few years? It’s probably not VM, which is just “yet another Xen” product. And Oracle was quite late jumping on the Web 2.0 bandwagon.

Let me know what you think!

Have a good week,
Tim


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