Eye on Oracle

November 7, 2007  11:45 AM

Bloggers gearing up for OpenWorld

Ken Cline Profile: Clinek

Bloggers are gearing up for OpenWorld next week, including the somewhat controversial paid-for bloggers invited by Oracle. Here is a sampling of what they are saying:

  • Andrew Clarke – “I think the key thing is to make the best use of the opportunities for personal contact. A lot of the conference resources will be available as downloads, podcasts, blog articles and whitepapers. So don’t get hung up on attending presentations (although make sure you do go to some, just in case your boss asks). Instead, take advantage of the main thing which online can’t offer: talking face to face with actual people. I think the evening events tend to be rather too crowded and noisy for networking. So look to some of the extra-mural daytime sessions, particularly the OTN Unconference and the No-Slide Zone which should provide useful arenas to engage with like-minded delegates.
  • Jason Jones – “It seems like anything big that’s going on at Oracle in the second half of the year gets queued up so when OpenWorld attendees ride the escalator down into the Moscone on Christmas… I mean Monday… morning they will have shiny new presents to unwrap.” Read on for some helpful advice for surviving OOW…
  • Lee Kroon – “If you’re going to be attending the JD Edwards program at Oracle OpenWorld next week, I have some good news and some bad news for you. The good news is that the folks in Denver have assembled an incredible lineup of sessions for you. The bad news is that you may not be signed up for them.”
  • Floyd Teter – “I need one thing from Oracle OpenWorld above all others: information on Fusion Applications. . . . Now, however, we’re getting relatively close to the planned 2008 releases. Like many customers I’ve talked with, I’m getting frustrated over the limitations on my ability to plan due to the lack of available information on Fusion Apps. I’ve worked hard to read the tea leaves, search the Gartner reports, make projections bases on Fusion Middleware directions, guess on the basis of 10-second sound bites, and so on…it’s not enough anymore. “
  • And dozens more

I’ll see you in San Francisco!

November 5, 2007  12:17 PM

Patching Oracle: Readers respond

Ken Cline Profile: Clinek

As I wrote last week, ask any Oracle DBA and they’ll tell you that the bane of their existence — well, one of them at least — is keeping up with Oracle’s continuous stream of patches and upgrades. Will the fixes actually work? Will they break other unrelated systems? Welcome to the life of the DBA!

I asked for your opinions of the process and suggestions for improving it and received some interesting responses, such as:

  • “Haven’t we always wanted Oracle to do a better job regression testing their released code? And haven’t we always wanted to know about a critical flaw before RMAN is involved?But who has the time to pour over metalink looking for possible (recent) hits? I think they’re going in the right direction, with automated patch downloads and SR generation. Human DBAs will never be able to scale the possible permutations to predictively find an appropriate available patch. Let alone the ramifications of applying it.”
  • “Patching was a real pain until we came up with a technique for creating a Gold Oracle home and cloning this home. This technique saves a LOT of DBA time, reduces system downtime, and makes patches easy.”
  • “Patching the RDBMS is manageable . . . [if you] download and install it on TEST server first. . . . As for automatic patch update like Microsoft Windows, forget it.”
  • “Oracle has a tool that does patch management: it’s call Grid Control.”
  • “Life would be much easier as a DBA if the products undergo extensive security tests and fixes before release.”
  • and a lot more

If you have any additional thoughts, tips or best practices, let’s hear them!

Cheers, Tim

October 31, 2007  10:37 AM

What an Oracle-BEA merger would mean for the IT market

Derek Kuhr Derek Kuhr Profile: Derek Kuhr

Oracle’s bid to take control of middleware provider BEA Systems Inc. appears to be off for the moment. But it wouldn’t surprise me if we heard more about another Oracle attempt to take over the company in the near future.

I recently got an e-mail from Forrester Research Inc. principal analyst Ray Wang, who had some interesting thoughts on what an Oracle-BEA merger would mean for the IT marketplace and for Oracle. Here’s what he had to say:

From Ray Wang:

Oracle added fuel to fire in the rapidly consolidating enterprise software market recently with its $6.7 billion unsolicited bid for BEA. Here are a few quick thoughts:

Oracle seeks to dominate middleware
Middleware platforms provide the nexus for software ecosystems. 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 for vendors. Whoever owns the future platform, an applistructure on middleware or a SaaS platform like SalesForce will emerge as winners in the post Internet era.

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

Oracle should expect a fight for BEA
Other vendors like SAP, IBM, and HP need BEA more than Oracle does. SAP’s NetWeaver is among the weakest of middleware platforms, despite one of the strongest ecosystems. IBM will be threatened by an Oracle dominance in middleware. HP could use this as an entry point to gain traction in the market. Oracle’s potential acquisition takes away the last remaining independent major middleware platform provider leaving future competitors without a large install base and a third party player.

Will Fusion Apps Still be Built on Fusion Middleware or BEA?
Recent rumblings about a delay in Fusion apps delivery and the future of leadership in delivering Fusion apps, add speculation to whether or not Fusion Middleware will still be the basis of Fusion apps. The BEA platform reaches out to more non-Oracle shops and provides a truly open platform for integration with less lock in at the meta data and process levels.

The bottom line
Oracle’s long term M&A strategy centers on gaining the biggest install base around not only business applications, but also middleware. At the end of the day, its still about selling more database and gaining the largest share of the IT wallet. With so much liquidity in the market, expect continued and accelerated consolidation along key battle grounds of middleware platforms such as MDM, BI, Portals, BPM, and other information management tools. Don’t expect the competitors or BEA to sit still!

Warmest regards,


October 31, 2007  10:25 AM

Fixing the IT “mess”

Ken Cline Profile: Clinek

Respected consultant and author Steve Jones wrote an intriguing and funny post recently about the contributors to the mess IT finds itself in. For example:

“First off is the view that new technologies and solutions will clean up the mess. This is wrong for the simple reason that in almost all companies this represents less than 20% of the total IT spend (often its less than 10% or even 5%). This means that 80% of the spend isn’t being touched or looked at. A simple 80/20 rule would tell you that this approach is wrong. Unfortunately IT continues to believe that yet more lipstick on the pig will make the pig attractive.”

Steve’s blog is definitely a worthwhile read in general, especially with other rants like these:

My favorite quote: “IT suffers from a massive dumbing down, people make arguments based on out right stupidity, a stupidity based on little or no understanding of the principles of computer science. The complexity of IT is ever increasing but the average intelligence is plunging. Things that were plain dumb 10 years ago are now being promoted as “best practice,” not because they have become good ideas but because there is a volume (as in barrel) of people who think that their mickey mouse experience is all that anyone ever needs to know.”

Tell us what you really think Steve!

October 31, 2007  10:03 AM

OpenWorld 2007 preview

Ken Cline Profile: Clinek

If you thought last year’s OpenWorld was an exercise in information overload, you haven’t seen anything yet.

How about 45,000 attendees, 1,500 technical sessions and 450 exhibitors? Enough information for you? It’s going to be a long, fun week!

We have a lot of great coverage planned, starting with our new podcast previews of key sessions:

  • The E-Business Suite user’s guide to Oracle OpenWorld 2007 – Oracle E-Business Suite expert Ray Wang talks about the latest E-Business Suite news and gives his picks for the best E-Business Suite sessions to attend at Oracle OpenWorld 2007.
  • Hyperion and performance management: An Oracle OpenWorld 2007 preview – In this podcast interview, John Hagerty, a performance management expert and vice president and research fellow with AMR Research, gives his picks for the most relevant and informative Hyperion-related sessions to be held at Oracle OpenWorld 2007.
  • The PeopleSoft user’s guide to Oracle OpenWorld 2007 – Oracle Applications Users Group president Jan Wagner talks about some of the latest news affecting PeopleSoft users and gives his picks for the best PeopleSoft sessions to attend at Oracle OpenWorld 2007.
  • The Oracle Database user’s guide to Oracle OpenWorld 2007 – Independent Oracle Users Group president Ari Kaplan talks about the latest Database 11g news and gives his picks for the best Oracle Database-related sessions to attend at Oracle OpenWorld 2007.
  • Oracle’s Application Integration Architecture: An Oracle OpenWorld 2007 preview – Integration expert Ken Vollmer gives his picks for the best Oracle Application Integration Architecture (AIA) sessions to attend at Oracle OpenWorld 2007, and explains how AIA fits into enterprises’ SOA plans.

Our OpenWorld 2007 Special Event page will be continuously updated throughout the week, so stay tuned for more dispaches from the show. Hopefully, you will be able to attend — for sheer volume of information, there’s nothing else quite like it for the Oracle geek. If you see any of us wandering around the Moscone Center — Mark, Barney or myself — feel free to pull us aside and tell us what’s on your mind.


October 31, 2007  9:56 AM

Post of the week: Installing 11g, Enterprise Linux 5 and VMWare6 on Windows Vista

Ken Cline Profile: Clinek

Dimitri Gielis wrote a an excellent post yesterday about his installation of Database 11g, Oracle Enterprise Linux 5, and VMWare 6 on his Windows Vista machine.

It took him longer than he thought, so “be warned.”

The post has detailed installation instructions, tips, and screen shots.  Nice work Dimitri!

October 22, 2007  10:00 AM

Oracle patching: The bane of the DBA’s existence

Ken Cline Profile: Clinek

Ask any Oracle DBA and they’ll tell you that the bane of their existence — well, one of them at least — is keeping up with Oracle’s continuous stream of patches and upgrades. As we reported last week, the latest volley of patches included 51 fixes to security vulnerabilities in their array of database and app products. This quarterly CPU (critical patch update) included:

  • 27 fixes for the Oracle Database 10g and 9i, five of which may be exploited remotely without the need for a username and password. The fixes address flaws in the core relational database management system, SQL execution, Oracle Database Vault, and advanced queuing.
  • 11 security fixes plug holes in Oracle Application Server 10g release 2 and 3, seven of which may be remotely exploitable without the need for a username and password. The fixes repair flaws in Oracle HTTP Server, Oracle Portal, Oracle Single Sign-On and Oracle Containers for J2EE.
  • 8 flaws in Oracle E-Business Suite 11i applications were included. One of the vulnerabilities can be remotely exploited by an attacker without authentication. Areas affected include Oracle Marketing, Oracle Quoting, Oracle Public Sector Human Resources, Oracle Exchange and Oracle Applications Manager.
  • 2 flaws were patched in Oracle Enterprise Manager and three security fixes were released for Oracle PeopleSoft Enterprise products. The PeopleSoft Human Capital Management software and PeopleTools are affected.

Will all these fixes actually work? Will they break other unrelated systems? Welcome to the life of the DBA.

The most common complaint I hear when talking to DBAs is about patching and upgrading. What I don’t hear as much are suggestions about how to improve the process. Does Oracle need to implement automatic updating like Windows Update? Release better tested products? Or is the number of bug fixes manageable? Let’s hear your thoughts!

Thanks, Tim

October 18, 2007  9:37 AM

Bloggers react to Oracle’s BEA bid

Ken Cline Profile: Clinek

Oracle’s $6.6 billion offer for middleware vendor BEA has bloggers all a-flutter. Here is a sampling of the most substantive reactions:

Veteran analyst Judith Hurwitz – “I actually think that Oracle’s decision to buy BEA is a smart move. Oracle needs the depth of middleware and business process software that are two strengths of BEA’s platform. I have spoken with Oracle customers who have not been happy with Fusion middleware. Therefore, the BEA acquisition should strengthen Oracle’s infrastructure assets.”

Analyst Dana Gardner – “…a combined Oracle and BEA offers a strategic bludgeon to all three of Oracle’s main competitors — IBM, SAP and Microsoft. … Other vendors will be significantly impacted by the proposed merger as well. Red Hat, Sun Microsystems, and TIBCO will face a tougher market. That’s because Oracle will provide Linux and other open source value benefits (to blunt Red Hat’s differentiation), provide deeper proprietary transactional performance characteristics (to etch away at TIBCO’s differentiation), and offer one-stop shopping for a full and robust Java environment (to further demean Sun’s purported Java advantages).”

Consultant Derek Tomei – “This is a huge win for Oracle and for its customers that are running PeopleSoft. And, if you are running your PeopleSoft application on top of the Oracle Database, your entire stack will be Oracle’s products, with the exception of the Operating System. Think about it ….. The total cost of ownership will be dramatically reduced!”

Blogger Jeff Nolan – “History shows that whenever Oracle has bad news coming [the delay of Fusion] they divert attention through some action is fundamentally more interesting to the broader market. It’s like billion dollar three card monty and I actually admire their capacity to pull it off. . . . ”

If you still haven’t had enough opining, here is a roundup of even more responses to the potential deal.

Cheers, Tim

October 17, 2007  10:21 AM

Wookey out at Oracle

Derek Kuhr Derek Kuhr Profile: Derek Kuhr

The Wall Street Journal says it has confirmed rumors that John Wookey, Oracle’s well-known head of application development for Fusion Applications, is out. According to the report, Wookey will be replaced with Thomas Kurian, Oracle’s senior vice president responsible for Oracle’s Fusion Middleware.

All of this executive shuffling is leading many to wonder if problems have arisen with Oracle Fusion — Oracle’s plan to combine the “best-of” functionality from at least four different acquired application suites, including PeopleSoft, JD Edwards, Siebel and Hyperion, onto a single service-enabled platform.

It will be interesting to see what Oracle has to say about all this, but for now, the company brass is keeping quiet.

October 15, 2007  10:08 AM

Where are all the JD Edwards bloggers?

Ken Cline Profile: Clinek

As I wrote last week, there are hundreds of Oracle database and apps blogs out there, but the PeopleSoft blogosphere is relatively sparse. Well, the JD Edwards community seems even more bashful about blogging. Come on guys — it’s 2007! Jump on the Web 2.0 bandwagon!

Seriously, there are some worthwhile blogs, including:

Did I miss any? Let me know!

Thanks, Tim

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