LAS VEGAS – The U.S. Air Force is on the verge of deploying a small part of a new combat support system. Supported by Oracle EBS and OBIEE, the system is meant to streamline supply chain logistics for, among other things, fighter pilots engaging in combat overseas.
“A fighter pilot is merely like a truck driver delivering a package to someone who doesn’t want it but they’re going to receive it anyway,” Steven W. Pavick, a senior systems engineer, said.
The July 6 unveiling will provide tools management for combat vehicles, though Pavick didn’t go into many specifics. Called the U.S. Air Force Expeditionary Combat Support System, it will be implemented at Hanscom Air Force Base in the northwest suburbs of Boston, and according to Pavick, will demonstrate capabilities the Air Force wants to implement across the entire project.
The project’s goal is to eliminate legacy systems, providing ERP, advanced planning and scheduling products for the Air Force’s combat support system program.
Pavick explained that the infrastructure behind such a project, though not as glamorous as piloting fighter planes, is nonetheless important. To that end, the Air Force Logistics Transformation Office is tapping Oracle E-Business Suite and Oracle Business Intelligence Suite Enterprise Edition to run the operations. Those products will help the Air Force manage all the data that goes into the delivery of such a “package,” whether that be documenting maintenance actions, receiving the shipment, placing the order, or replacing a part.
The choice of Oracle drew some criticism back when the Air Force awarded the bid more than four years ago, with SAP protesting that the bid was awarded unfairly. That protest went nowhere, however.
Pavick is attending the Oracle Collaborate conference in Las Vegas this week, and I was able to catch up with him following a keynote Tuesday morning about information governance given by a couple IBM execs. Pavick wasn’t impressed with the session, saying it was a “sales pitch” that wasn’t his “ball of wax.”
“We already have our own consultants,” he said. “We don’t need any more consulting services.”]]>
It was clear in his keynote Sunday night that McNealy won’t have an easy time handing over his business — he called “going to work every day with my employees” the innovation he was most proud of — but the Sun head also seemed to have no reservations about the man he was handing it over to, calling Oracle CEO Larry Ellison “my hero.”
But before Ellison took the stage, McNealy gave the thousands in the audience two of his famous top 10 lists — “The top 10 signs that engineers have gone wild” and “The top 10 innovations from Sun.” While McNealy did talk seriously about the future of Sun innovation, he also enjoyed poking light fun at Sun engineers, Oracle’s marketing team and even Ellison himself. When Ellison took the stage (so McNealy could reassure the audience he was “not making up” his optimistic outlook for Sun), he had plenty of his own IBM jokes, but also did not seem to want anyone to take his ‘we’re in it to win it’ message lightly.
Here’s our own top 10 list of the most memorable moments, quotes and quips from Scott and Larry’s keynote:
10.) McNealy says that #1 of ‘The top 10 signs that engineers have gone wild’ is that “someone came up with this crazy idea for a ‘Java Ring.’”
9.) Ellison puts his money where his mouth is when he claims that Sun runs Oracle twice as fast as IBM’s fastest computer: He challenges any company to take a database application, and if it can’t run twice as fast as IBM, Oracle will give them $10 million. IBM is welcome to enter.
8.) McNealy jokes that the Oracle marketing team might have to come up with a better statement about the future of Java than “Java speaks for itself.” However, he does seem confident that Oracle will continue to innovate with SPARC and Solaris, saying that Oracle will spend more on these technologies than Sun did.
7.) McNealy on Ellison and Sun hardware: “I think Larry’s going to like his new toy.”
6.) ‘Father of Java’ James Gosling takes the stage to speak about the future of Java with Oracle, saying he thinks Oracle is committed to continuing to develop it.
5.) McNealy reassures the audience that MySQL is not going anywhere, pointing out that it competes with Microsoft SQL Server, not Oracle. Ellison later reiterates this, saying Oracle will spend more on MySQL than Sun.
4.) Ellison continually praises Sun, saying he is “very proud to be working with Sun to make sure all Oracle software runs better and faster on Solaris.” He also praises Apple, saying that “they’ve done a terrific job of tackling the hardware problem with the software problem,” and thinks the combination of Oracle and Sun can do the same to “compete successfully against The Giant.”
3.) Oracle introduces a new storage product, the F5100 FlashFire Storage Array, which integrates flash and disk; Oracle claims its throughput and response time is four times faster.
2.) Ellison continues his attack on IBM and talks unapologetically about the ‘Oracle + Sun is Faster’ ad that the software giant was recently fined for. He said that IBM’s plan to “sunset” Oracle by stealing away Sun customers is not going to work: “Depending where you are on earth, one man’s sunset is another man’s sunrise.”
1.) McNealy’s last (and arguably most important) statement, telling the audience to enjoy Oracle OpenWorld: “Drinks are on Larry!”
What did you think of the Ellison-McNealy keynote and their claims?]]>
One could justifiably assume it’s for his customers who spend millions on Oracle’s products and services, but as Information Week’s Bob Evans points out in his Open Letter to Oracle CEO Larry Ellison, customers (as individuals rather than numbers) often seem to be low on Larry’s list of priorities.
What have we, or haven’t we, heard from Ellison lately to demonstrate this claim?
First of all, the pending acquisition of Sun Microsystems has recently been a topic of great interest for both Oracle and Sun customers. While Oracle understandably cannot discuss the deal in great detail since it has not yet been approved by the EU, customers have been given little information or assurance from Oracle. Last month, many Sun customers and partners were concerned about how they have heard nothing about the Sun deal since it was announced.
When Ellison did decide to address the public about the acquisition, he used it more as a chance to speak to his competition — IBM – rather than his customers. In this recent ad in the Wall Street Journal, Ellison does address Sun customers, with vague promises that Oracle will spend “more money” on SPARC and Solaris. But Ellison’s direct message at the bottom of that ad was aimed squarely at IBM – “We’re in it to win it. IBM, we’re looking forward to competing with you in the hardware business.”
As Evans discusses, this lack of detail from Ellison is not unusual. Evans writes about Ellison’s comments during his recent Q&A at the Churchill Club, and how Ellison talked at great lengths about his relationships with competitors IBM and HP but said little about his customers:
“It just seemed a bit odd-actually, maybe more than a bit-to see these sweeping and penetrating and candid comments from one of the world’s top executives with so little mention of the role that customers are playing in your thinking,” Evans wrote.
Evans also pointed out that this gives the impression that Oracle and Ellison are interested more in technological features and customer adoption of a product rather than customer value. What happens after a customer adopts a product? Does Oracle care about that?
Maybe – but it seems to care more about its reputation and going after the competition. So much so that apparently Oracle will make unsubstantiated claims against IBM. Oracle was reprimanded and fined yesterday by the Transaction Processing Performance Council (TPC). In a letter to Oracle and an official statement, the TPC explained that the software giant ran an ad in the Wall Street Journal and The Economist claiming that ‘Oracle + Sun is Faster’ than IBM. Oracle based its claims on benchmark TPC results that it promised to show Oct. 14 at Oracle OpenWorld. The problem was that the Oracle did not yet have a TPC result at the time it ran the ad.
But are we expecting too much out of Ellison? Evans doesn’t think so, telling Ellison to “don’t ever underestimate the power of your words and your perspectives on your CIO customers.” Larry should also remember who ultimately pays his salary and allows him to build $200 million yachts. Oh that’s right, his users.
What do you think? Should the multi-billionaire Oracle CEO be responsible for addressing the needs of his customers in greater detail? Do you feel like Oracle cares enough about your needs? What would you like to hear more of from Ellison?]]>
While Ellison is usually known for his memorable quotes and speeches, this time he took a different approach for getting his point across.
Last Wednesday, Oracle ran an ad in the Wall Street Journal. The ad, which also ran on Oracle’s web site, lays out Oracle’s plans for Sun’s hardware and operating system, specifically SPARC and Solaris. The ad, which can be seen here, is aimed at Sun’s customers assuring them that Oracle will spend more money developing SPARC and Solaris than Sun has, have more than twice as many hardware specialists and dramatically improve the performance of Sun’s hardware.
But what’s missing from the ad?
As Infoworld’s Savio Rodrigues points out, Oracle fails to mention anything about MySQL. According to Rodrigues, this could be for a number of reasons — for example, it’s understandable Oracle makes no mention of any of Sun’s software products like MySQL or Java, since Oracle already has competing products in the software business. But as Rodrigues says, isn’t Oracle concerned in making sure that Sun’s software customers feel protected?
Well, maybe not. At least in this case, the ad may be geared more toward IBM and its recent fight against Oracle than reassuring Sun customers. According to Information Week, IBM has been trying to win Sun customers from Oracle by offering “Sun-set specials” for those who migrate to their Power hardware running AIX Unix.
But now Ellison seems determined to not let IBM profit off the uncertainty of Oracle’s future with Sun, especially as the uncertainty grew earlier this month when the European Commission prolonged its investigation of the deal.
Ellison had this to say at the end of the ad: “We’re in it to win it. IBM, we’re looking forward to competing with you in the hardware business.”
What do you think? Is this a sign that Oracle is going to start divulging more information to customers about the deal? Or is this simply an attack on IBM?]]>
Has the trend continued this year?
It looks that way. Once again, Oracle CRM made the leader’s quadrant of the 2009 Magic Quadrant for SFA, but Oracle’s Siebel CRM and Oracle CRM on Demand were the CRM products that were recognized.
Gartner describes leaders of SFA as demonstrating a “market-defining vision of how technology can help the top sales executives achieve business objectives.” According to Oracle’s press release, Gartner places vendors in a particular market segment by their “completeness of vision and their ability to execute on that vision.”
So how does Oracle Siebel CRM and CRM on Demand fit in?
Oracle Siebel CRM helps organizations get maximum top-and bottom-line growth with a mix of transactional, analytical and engagement features, according to the press release. And Oracle CRM on Demand offers a Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) platform with advanced core CRM functionality and features for all different types of companies.
Oracle continues to make advancements in its CRM capabilities, such as its recent collaboration with Google — a partnership that may help them compete against Salesforce.com, which was also named a leader in this year’s SFA Magic Quadrant. The Oracle-Google collaboration includes a beta version of its Oracle Gadget Wizard for Google Apps and Oracle Siebel CRM support for Google Apps like Google’s Secure Data Connector (SDC).
How much do you think Oracle CRM has advanced in the past year? What do you think Oracle is doing well with CRM and how do you think it could improve?]]>
So has Ellison had a change of heart?
A year later, it looks that way. Oracle announced today SaaS for ISVs, a new pricing model that allows Independent Software Vendors (ISVs) to pay for its Oracle SaaS platform by the month rather than make an upfront investment. This also allows ISVs to adjust their SaaS offerings to meet customer demand, according to Oracle.
Analyst China Martens calls this new licensing option part of the “continued gradual easing of Oracle into the SaaS arena,” according to the IDG’s Chris Kanaracus in this article.
Oracle has over 10,000 partners that are active ISVs in its partner program, said Judson Althoff, senior vice president, worldwide alliances and channels, in his video post on the Oracle site. Althoff says that while Oracle has mostly serviced the “higher end of the SaaS market,” the new model will “allow us to reach a much broader base of ISVs, and better cater to you, the partner who wants to roll out a SaaS offering.”
Althoff also said the monthly cost structure will help the ISV “better manage cash flow” and “only pay for just the actual elements for the Oracle platform that (it) used in the previous month.”
Oracle has also begun promoting SaaS for ISVs on its SaaS Knowledge Zone and a new ISV and SaaS blog by Oracle’s Kevin O’Brien, Senior Director of ISV and SaaS Strategy for Oracle’s Worldwide Alliances and Channels organization. According to an Oracle data sheet, the new pricing model will apply to the Oracle SaaS Platform from the Oracle Database, Oracle Fusion Middleware, Oracle Enterprise Manager and Oracle VM.
Oracle isn’t the only vendor to have made recent on-demand developments. SAP recently released its latest SaaS strategy, which includes on-demand applications for Business Suite customers that use a multi-tenant architecture rather than an isolated tenant model.
Where do you think Oracle stands in the SaaS market? Will this latest SaaS for ISVs offer help Oracle? Or, as some are saying, despite the new pricing model, is Oracle software just too expensive in the first place?]]>
It looks like they were right.
Just over a month after buying the virtualization software vendor Virtual Iron, Oracle has announced that it will be getting rid of the company’s products. According to an article in The Register, Oracle said in a letter to Virtual Iron’s sales partners that it “will suspend development of existing Virtual Iron products and will suspend delivery of orders to new customers.”
While this may not come as a surprise to many, it’s interesting that Oracle has decided to forgo what keeping Virtual Iron could have brought to the table in terms of products for small and medium-sized companies.
Also interesting, as The Register‘s Carl Metz points out, is that Oracle would risk losing Virtual Iron customers and partners, who will be justifiably unhappy upon hearing this news. Oracle stated that after the end of this month it will not allow partners to sell new licenses to anyone, even existing customers.
Do you think it’s unfair to Virtual Iron customers and irresponsible for Oracle to slash VI’s products with such short notice? While Virtual Iron customers can move to Oracle’s new combined product, Oracle has yet to say when it will be arriving, or what the combined product will actually be.
And is this any indication of what Oracle will do with Sun’s virtualization products? With its acquisition of Sun, Oracle will get Sun’s entire virtualization portfolio namely Sun xVM. Sun xVM, like Oracle (and Virtual Iron), is based on the Xen hypervisor, making it easier for Oracle to combine products.
It should be interesting to see how Oracle’s virtualization plans develop over the coming months, and if it will prove effective in competing against virtualization kingpin, VMware.]]>
But when will we actually see these proposed changes take place?
We’ll be one step closer to knowing the answer to that question next month, when Sun stockholders will meet to vote on Oracle’s proposed acquisition. Sun announced today that this meeting will take place on July 16. If it goes through, the approval will mark the end of more than seven months of negotiations between Sun and interested buyers such as Oracle, IBM and HP, according to eWeek.
Oracle first announced its agreement to acquire Sun on April 20. Until now, the software giant has remained tight-lipped on the deal, with only a brief mention of it at the Collaborate ’09 conference in May.
But now, even with the recent announcements at JavaOne, many questions remained unanswered about the future of Sun, especially surrounding what exactly Oracle plans to do with Sun’s hardware business.
An article today in ComputerWorld suggests that Sun customers remain skeptical about Oracle’s plans for Sun and the assurances made by Ellison at the JavaOne conference.
The Sun customers interviewed in the ComputerWorld article were concerned about the future of a variety of Sun’s technologies, including Java, its Sparc architecture and its free GlassFish open-source application server.
Others were nervous not just about the technologies, but the future of the JavaOne conference itself. One attendee was quoted as saying that the conference had “the look and feel of being the end of the road for JavaOne… It was hard not to get a sense that this was the last one.”
In a recent blog post, JavaWorld’s Dustin Marx also speculates that Oracle will not continue to hold the annual conference. First, he points out that in the current economy, it may not be feasible for Oracle to hold both Oracle OpenWorld and JavaOne and still make money. Marx also points out that Oracle already has many Java-related presentations at its Oracle OpenWorld conference, and simply expanding those offerings would not be too difficult.
We’ve already looked at how the Oracle-Sun deal will affect you, but as the approval of the proposed acquisition gets closer, new questions are beginning to emerge, on everything from Oracle licensing to the future of Java and JavaOne.
As more details of the Oracle-Sun deal start to surface, what new questions or concerns do you have? As an Oracle customer what do you think about what the Sun customers have to say? Are their concerns justified? Leave a comment or talk about this in our Oracle-Sun discussion on the IT Knowledge Exchange.]]>
Then today’s your lucky day.
A new version of Oracle Warehouse Management, released June 1, allows users to deploy the warehouse management application as a distributed product. Users no longer have to be an E-Business Suite customer to use the application, as was required in earlier versions.
Oracle Warehouse Management can now either stand alone or be deployed as a module within E-Business Suite, giving customers the choice between an integrated or standalone product, according to Oracle’s Warehouse Management blog.
And that’s not its only enhancement — Oracle Warehouse Management will also be integrated more closely with Oracle’s transportation management application. According to Managing Automation, Oracle recently announced that Oracle Warehouse Management and Oracle Transportation Management have new integration points — such as load sequencing and cross docking — that indicate a plan to offer the applications together as a best-of-breed logistics management suite.
Other new capabilities with this release include advanced wave planning, task planning, demand-driven forward pick replenishment and high-volume performance, according to Oracle.
What’s behind all these changes?
Oracle Warehouse Management was originally built for industrial manufacturing and high-tech sectors. However, the product has evolved to have more appeal for higher volume environments such as wholesale distributors, food and beverage, life sciences and consumer packaged goods, according to Jennifer Sherman, Oracle senior director of logistics product strategy, in this Logistics Management article.
Moving forward, it will be interesting to see how new features such as these allow Oracle to compete with best-of- breed warehouse management systems. If you’re an E-Business Suite user (or a non-EBS user who can now use the application), how will these extended capabilities help you?]]>
What is the future of MySQL now that it’s in the hands of Oracle?
This question about the highly popular open source database is being debated in the Oracle and Sun communities — some are insistent that Oracle won’t kill MySQL, but other open source executives are split. Some point out that this is Oracle’s chance to innovate and prove it’s serious about open source; however, the software giant has not shown a commitment in the past to open source even as it’s grown in popularity, according to the ZDNet article.
Collaborate ’09 presenter and Oracle and MySQL DBA George Trujillo addressed the question Monday at the conference in his session, “What Every Oracle Professional Needs to Know about MySQL.” Trujillo said he could not say exactly what was going to happen with Oracle and Sun, but he did know one thing:
“I will tell you MySQL is not going to die,” he said.
Trujillo said because of the simple fact that MySQL is an open source database — a free source code available to anyone — it will continue on no matter what Oracle decides to do with it.
So, maybe MySQL is not as much in the hands of Oracle as we are think it is.
“It’s open source — if we wanted to get together tonight to get the source code and create our own version to start selling tomorrow, we could do that,” Trujillo told session attendees. He said what’s more important is that whoever is the leader of open source has to be innovative.
Trujillo also discussed common misconceptions users have about MySQL, one being that the database can be compared with Oracle. He said comparing MySQL to Oracle is like comparing a fast speedboat to an aircraft carrier — if you bought one, it was probably for a reason, and you won’t be happy switching to the other.
So, maybe the real question is not will Oracle keep MySQL, but what will the software giant choose to do with it? How innovative will they be? Is there anything you would like to see Oracle do with the open source database? How do you think, or would like to see, Oracle will market itself to the open source community?]]>