Eye on Oracle

February 13, 2008  10:24 AM

Salesforce.com acquisition speculation persists

Shayna Garlick Shayna Garlick Profile: Shayna Garlick

With neither company willing to confirm nor deny, we can only speculate as to whether the rumored buyout of Salesforce.com by Oracle holds any truth to it. And there has been no shortage of such speculation ever since Tom Foremski, a former Financial Times reporter, posted in his Silicon Valley Watcher blog:  

“I’m hearing from a reliable source that Salesforce.com has approached Oracle to gauge if there is any interest in a sale at $75 a share.”

That single statement has sparked reaction in both the blogosphere and the stock market, with yesterday’s Salesforce.com stock shooting up almost 10%, closing out the day at $54.45 a share.

Many agree with Foremski that such a deal would make sense for Oracle. For some, this idea isn’t new — back in November, Mary Hayes Weier posted “Five Reasons Why I Think Oracle Will Buy Salesforce.com” on InformationWeek.com’s CIO blog. She points out that what Salesforce.com lacks in profit margin it makes up for in mindshare and customers. Foremski writes that by acquiring Salesforce.com, Oracle could build on its online apps and software as a service offerings, improving itself as an SAP competitor (though one could easily argue that SAP could make a bid for Salesforce.com as well).

But is this enough to convince Oracle head Larry Ellison (who already holds a majority share in Salesforce.com competitor NetSuite) to make the deal?

Cowen and Co. analyst Peter Goldmacher surely doesn’t think so. In a note to investors, he writes:

“While we would not be surprised if Salesforce made such an overture, we would be very surprised if Oracle didn’t laugh them out of the building.”

Maybe Oracle will surprise us with an announcement in the coming weeks. But it seems almost just as likely that this rumor is just that — a rumor — and will quietly fade into the background. If Oracle doesn’t buy Salesforce.com in the near future, it may be very likely that someone else will (think SAP, Google, or Microsoft). After all, Oracle is done acquiring all the large companies…right?

February 6, 2008  11:12 AM

No more big acquisitions for Oracle?

Derek Kuhr Derek Kuhr Profile: Derek Kuhr

A new report from Forrester Research Inc. predicts that Oracle, IBM and other large vendors are done making major acquisitions and will instead set their sites on smaller fish.Well, I don’t know about you, but I’ll believe it when I see it.

Of course, maybe I’m just in bitter denial. It’s just that I have grown accustomed to waking up, thinking I’m going to have an easy day at work, and then suddenly having to go crazy coming up with coverage and analysis of Oracle’s latest major buy.

If Forrester is correct, however, then it appears those adrenaline-filled days are over.

Say it ain’t so, Larry.

February 6, 2008  10:54 AM

Oracle Accelerate delivers new industry-specific application bundles

Derek Kuhr Derek Kuhr Profile: Derek Kuhr

The Oracle Accelerate program appears to be making some forward progress.

According to Oracle, Oracle partners have created 49 new industry-specific application bundles through the program within the last five months. That brings the total number of Oracle Accelerate bundles to 90, for those that are keeping count.

The Oracle Accelerate program is geared toward midsize businesses and government entities that require low-cost and pre-configured applications that are can be deployed quickly. The vertically oriented Accelerate offerings are created by Oracle partners or resellers and then reviewed and approved by Oracle itself.

Oracle Partners are delivering the bundles across multiple industries including aerospace and defense, consumer products, automotive, engineering and construction, high-technology, industrial manufacturing, financial services, life sciences, media and entertainment, natural resources, professional services, oil and gas, public sector, travel, retail, and transportation and utilities.

The 49 new Oracle Accelerate solutions include ABS, ATOS Origin GmbH, BizTech, Business & Decision, C3, Cedar HR, Conacent, Crocus, DCS, E-Frontech, Explorer, Fusion5, Hand, Hexaware, ICE, Intelligroup, ISP3, Lucidity, Percipient, pharmasol, Pyxis Consulting Group GmbH, RCM, Satyam, Solbourne, Sonata, Terillium and Zanett, according to Oracle. 

January 30, 2008  8:45 AM

DBAs react to Oracle CPU blog

Derek Kuhr Derek Kuhr Profile: Derek Kuhr

In a recent blog post, I looked at some new survey results and asked if database administrators (DBAs) really care about installing the latest Oracle patches in a timely fashion. Here are a couple of the more interesting responses:

“My employers or customers have regularly installed the patches since the practice began, so here’s one vote in the minority,” wrote a commentator named Dave. “What the survey fails to specify is whether or not the respondents had responsibility for managing the patches. Yes, I haven’t done the patches for years – but also yes, someone else has done them.”

Meanwhile, Ravi Krish had an interesting approach to patching:

“In my last job as DBA for a huge IT consulting multinational I was leading a half yearly CPU patch application project for all the clients. We used to apply if not regularly at least half yearly the CPU patches. Quarterly is a bit too frequent and requires way too much time and effort considering there were hundreds of databases on multiple clients,” Krish wrote. “In my current job for a government agency, there has not been a single CPU applied. I’m proposing to apply one now and in future look forward to applying as they are released. There are only about 5-6 databases here and it’s not too time consuming to apply for about 5 databases every quarter.”

Thanks for writing in, folks.

January 30, 2008  8:24 AM

What Oracle’s January CPU means for E-Business Suite users

Derek Kuhr Derek Kuhr Profile: Derek Kuhr

Oracle E-Business Suite users take note:

The good news about the latest Oracle Critical Patch Update (CPU) is that like the last few Oracle CPUs, there aren’t any new Oracle Application Server or Developer 6i patches needed for Oracle E-Business Suite 11i, according to a recent post on Integrigy Corp.’s Oracle Security Blog.

“There is a significant Oracle Jinitiator patch that fixes a previously discussed vulnerability,” Integrigy wrote. “The key part about upgrading Jinitiator is that all previous versions must be removed from the client PC since every new version of Jinitiator is a unique install and does not remove the previous version.”

The post went on to say that for E-Business Suite Release 12 users, Oracle has created a cumulative Oracle Applications patch which was included in the 12.0.4 update.

“Oracle continues the push to keep all customers on recent versions by only certifying the CPU patches with,,, and for the database and RUP4, RUP5, or RUP6 for the Oracle E-Business Suite 11i,” Integrigy says.

Just a heads-up.

January 28, 2008  7:43 AM

Calling all middleware users

Derek Kuhr Derek Kuhr Profile: Derek Kuhr

The results of a new Oracle Applications Users Group (OAUG) survey suggest that the majority of Oracle-based enterprises intend to upgrade to Oracle’s Fusion middleware infrastructure within the next two years.

Now, that’s not particularly surprising. But this is:

The survey, which generated 449 responses from OAUG members, also found that two out of every five Oracle-based enterprises will increase spending on middleware in 2008, despite the fact that many enterprises still aren’t sure of middleware’s true value to their operations.

Taken together, the results suggest to me that at least some companies out there are spending money on middleware without fully understanding the reasons for doing so.  And with Oracle’s acquisition of middleware giant BEA Systems Inc. still fresh on our minds, I think the issue deserves further examination.

I’m researching a new article on the OAUG survey for publication later this week and really need to rally the SearchOracle.com troops in an attempt to understand this potential phenomenon. Do the results make sense to you? Why or why not? And why is middleware important, or unimportant, at your organization?

Maybe it’s simply a matter of business folks getting ahead of the IT groups, or vice versa. Or maybe the survey results simply don’t hold water. Whatever it is, I want to hear from you.

January 22, 2008  9:29 AM

Tech pundit thinks Oracle had a hand in MySQL deal

Derek Kuhr Derek Kuhr Profile: Derek Kuhr

I just came across what is definitely the most interesting take on Sun Microsystems’ planned $1 billion acquisition of MySQL, the Swedish open source database management system provider.

In a recent column entitled “The Sun-MySQL deal stinks,” Tech industry columnist John Dvorak says that he believes Oracle founder Larry Ellison had a hand in the deal. Now that seems incredibly funny to me, but could it be true?

In the column, Dvorak rhetorically asks how a company like Sun can afford to pay $1 billion when the MySQL only brings in about $60 million a year in revenue. The answer, he said, is that the Sun couldn’t do it without Oracle’s help.

“I’m close to being convinced that Oracle wanted to buy MySQL to kill the product, but knew that it couldn’t pull off the stunt itself. It would be too obvious, especially to European Union regulators. So it sent in a stooge to do the job,” Dvorak wrote.

The columnist went on to point out that Sun would be a likely candidate for such treachery.

“This deal stinks from top to bottom,” Dvorak wrote. “Sun and Oracle, have been strategic partners for years.”

January 22, 2008  7:19 AM

Oracle to buy ECM vendor Captovation

Derek Kuhr Derek Kuhr Profile: Derek Kuhr

Oracle will add Captovation — a Minnesota-based vendor of enterprise content management (ECM) strategies — to its ever growing list of acquired software companies.

Oracle — which has acquired well over 30 companies over the last few years, including CRM giants PeopleSoft Corp. and Siebel Systems Inc., and just last week announced plans to acquire middleware pioneer BEA Systems Inc. for $8.5 billion — said Captovation’s software will become a key component of the Oracle Enterprise Content Management Suite. The deal is expected to close next month and financial details were not disclosed.

The company says the new addition will help Oracle ECM customers reduce transactional management costs and simplify the process of complying with federal data retention regulations. 

Oracle has done a lot to expand its content management capabilities in recent years. In 2006, Oracle acquired Stellent Inc. and last October released a new version of Oracle ECM based on Stellent’s technology.

We’ve been looking closely at Oracle’s content management plans. Here’s a list of articles we’ve run that should serve as a primer on what Oracle is doing in the space:

I’d be interested to hear comments and reviews from Oracle ECM customers. What do you think of Oracle’s offering? Does the company need to improve the ECM Suite in any way? Post your comments here and I may contact you for a possible news article on the topic.

January 21, 2008  8:31 AM

MySQL, BEA acqusitions have serious implications for Oracle

Derek Kuhr Derek Kuhr Profile: Derek Kuhr

Sun Microsystems’ bombshell $1 billion acquisition of open source database management system vendor MySQL has serious implications for Oracle, including the possibility that it may lead to a database price war.  

Sun’s MySQL purchase could boost the open source DBMS’s credibility with large, deep-pocketed organizations, according to IT industry analysts. And if that happens, the big three proprietary database technology vendors — Microsoft, IBM and Oracle — may respond by coming up with new database offerings that can better compete with the low total cost of open source.

Even if a price war doesn’t come to pass, Oracle could still be facing a far more serious competitor in MySQL in the long term. The reason, said one analyst, is because the needs of MySQL’s customer base — which consists mostly of smaller organizations — are growing. As their needs become more complex, so will the MySQL product, and that could mean a more robust DBMS that is better equipped to take on Oracle.

Sun announced plans to buy MySQL last week, just after word hit the street that Oracle will buy middleware pioneer BEA Systems Inc. for about $8.5 billion.

A new Wall Street Journal column points out that both acquisitions come amid increased fear about a possible recession in the U.S. that could hurt technology spending. Large software vendors like Oracle and Sun, the article said, are responding by buying companies that help customer build Web-base software and services — areas that are expected to remain hot regardless of the economy.

Does the Wall Street Journal’s assessment make sense to you? Do you think that a price war is a real possibility? Does MySQL stand a chance of becoming a direct Oracle competitor? Tell us what you think.

January 16, 2008  11:58 AM

Do DBAs care about Oracle’s latest Critical Patch Update?

Derek Kuhr Derek Kuhr Profile: Derek Kuhr

Oracle yesterday released its Critical Patch Update fixing vulnerabilities across its database and application product lines. But do Oracle database administrators really care?

The Oracle security update contained patches for 27 flaws, including eight flaws in Oracle Database, and six new security fixes for Oracle Application Server. The most serious database flaws included SQL injection vulnerabilities and an XML DB handling error.

Recent research, however, indicates that many DBAs may not install the new fixes at all. Database security company Sentrigo surveyed 305 DBAs, developers and consultants and found that two thirds had never installed an Oracle critical patch update.

I’d like to hear from some DBAs on this topic. In your experience, is failure to implement these updates truly a common practice? Or, do you think these survey results skewed by the number of consultants and developers responding? Let me know what you think and we’ll hopefully use your comments in an upcoming news story.

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