10 Takeaways From Oracle OpenWorld


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A lot went on this week at Oracle OpenWorld: 45,000 attendees, hundreds of sessions, dozens of press releases and quite a few shiny, new products. What were the big messages, particularly in the server and storage arenas?

1. Oracle Wants to Host Big Data

The Oracle Big Data Appliance is designed to hold an awful lot of data from blogs, social media feeds, sensors and other devices that generate unstructured information that isn't accessible in enterprise data warehouses and business intelligence (BI) applications. It includes an open source distribution of Hadoop, the Oracle NoSQL database, Oracle Data Integrator Application Adapter for Hadoop, Oracle Loader for Hadoop and an open source distribution of R Enterprise, which deals with statistical analysis. Those using Hadoop MapReduce processing can rapidly load analyze unstructured data within the Oracle Database 11g.

"With the explosion of data in the past decade, including more machine-generated data and social data, companies are faced with the challenge of acquiring, organizing and analyzing this data to make better business decisions," said Andrew Mendelsohn, senior vice president, Oracle Server Technologies.

2. Oracle Wants to Analyze Your Stored Data

The Oracle Exalytics Business Intelligence Machine is a hardware and software combo engineered to run analytics faster and broaden the adoption of BI though the introduction of interactive visualization capabilities. It includes an Oracle SunFire server with 1 Terabyte of RAM and 40 cores of Xeon E7-4800 processors, as well as BI software that can analyze Oracle or non-Oracle relational, Online Analytical Processing (OLAP) and unstructured data sources.

"Everything runs faster if you keep it in memory," said Oracle CEO Larry Ellison.

3. Oracle is Expanding its Storage Horizons

When Oracle (NASDAQ: ORCL) bought Sun almost two years back, there were some who thought the company was only after certain software properties and it would sell off much of Sun, especially its storage assets. How wrong they were.

John Fowler, executive vice president for systems at Oracle, reminded everyone, for example, about its recent acquisition of Pillar.

"We acquired Pillar to round out our SAN offering," he said.

Clearly, Oracle is viewing its storage heritage from Sun as a strategic asset and is intent on leveraging it.

4. Oracle is Gunning for EMC

Fowler boasted about the multi-tenant capabilities of the Pillar Axiom 600, how it can take all apps and assign different attributes to each.

"You can have Online Transaction Processing (OLTP) and lightweight file serving sitting on Pillar with different qualities of service for each," he said.

He then threw the gauntlet down to EMC,claiming that the Axiom 600 was four-times more scalable than a comparable EMC product and two-times more efficient.

5. Oracle is Gunning for NetApp

Oracle continues to invest in storage, and it seems to have its sights set on tempting some users of NetApp NAS.

"Oracle is changing the dynamics of the NAS market in a single step, enabling storage customers to achieve business results and reduce cost at levels other NAS solutions can't match," said Fowler.

Accordingly, the company is overtly promoting how its Sun ZFS Storage Appliances are superior to comparable products from EMC and NetApp. Ellison noted that the ZFS Storage 7420 Appliance delivered two-times the performance at less than half the cost of NetApp's FAS 3270A, based on the findings of the SPC-1 benchmark.

Oracle's latest range of ZFS products includes enhancements to its Hybrid Storage Pool technology to speed IOPS performance under heavy use. They also harness InfiniBand, which is four-times faster than 10 Gigabit Ethernet, as well as 15,000 RPM SAS-2 drives with 300GB and 600GB capacity.

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