Oracle OpenWorld: Larry will be Larry

Larry Ellison, Oracle's CEO, kicked off the conference Sunday night with his annual keynote. The company announced the release of the new Exadata X3, up to 20 times faster than the previous database appliance, and at the same price point. They brought a newer, smaller Exadata (1/8th of a rack) to market, although there were few details and it probably means it will not have RAC for redundancy. They also announced a new version of their database program, 12c, which cloud based and allows for multitenancy. Although the keynote was relatively tame (and felt more like a sales pitch than a vision of the company's future), Larry still took a few shots at his competitors as well as his partners.

While the keynote didn't bring along any attacks like last's year's attack against Salesforce, Ellison still had a few barbs ready to go. While comparing the new Exadata product to IBM's HANA offering, he quipped that Oracle's appliance has 26TB of memory, while IBM's has only 0.5TB and is "a small machine." He also dismissed Salesforce again, saying that Oracle's cloud competitor is actually Amazon's elastic cloud, and not Salesforce. Mark Hurd later said, "Remember, Salesforce only does one process - sales automation. Glad they use Oracle database and middleware, but still..."

The real fireworks from the keynote were when Ellison began comparing the Exadata storage speed to that of EMC. He noted that the EMC VMAX is much faster than any of their competitors, but compared to a full rack of Exadata, it's roughly half as fast and when compared to a fully loaded eight racks, is almost 16x slower. He ended that section of the keynote by declaring storage arrays may no longer be needed. Normally you'd shrug this off, but EMC is a strong partner with Oracle, and are one of the main sponsors of OpenWorld. We can imagine that Joseph Tucchi, CEO of EMC, was probably not smiling during this exchange.

But that's who Larry Ellison is, and nobody can deny that he's a clever businessman. While many people call him "Crazy Uncle Larry," it's clear that he's crazy like a fox.

Image Courtesy of PeopleSoftTips

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The absolute lies here are freaking hilarious.
Lie A) Larry claims he has 26TB of memory.
Lie B) The claim that the IBM P780 is an "appliance" is utterly and completely false. There is zero truth to it.
Lie C) The claim that the IBM P780 has only 512GB (0.5TB) of DRAM is also completely and utterly false. On a level that's likely to earn Oracle another advertising ban and a lawsuit.

Fact A) Okay. What he leaves out is that to achieve that 26TB they fudged the hell out of what counts as RAM and used a whole shedload of boxes with smaller amounts of memory (512GB-1TB.) Yep, they're counting flash as RAM - uh, no. Not even with RDMA, guys.

Fact B) The IBM Power 780 is an upper midrange system (situated WELL ABOVE Oracle's absolute top of the line M9000, I'll note) and also not even the top of the line - the top of the line is the IBM Power 795. By the way: it STARTS at 1TB of memory in base configuration - or twice Ellison's claim. The IBM "appliance" Ellison is trying to bash? Doesn't exist; at least not in that form. (Maybe try IBM PureApplication System?)

Fact C) The Power 780 is a MUCH bigger box than Ellison's precious Exadata. As mentioned, the BASE configuration is 1TB and it scales to 4TB with 64 cores at 4.42GHz or 128 cores at 3.72GHz with 24 PCIe 2.0 slots (total lane count of 214 as I recall, too.)
The correct response to this is "HOLY CRAP, THAT BOX IS WAY BIGGER!" Because it is orders of magnitude larger.
It's also not the top end of IBM's POWER offerings. No, that crown belongs to the IBM Power 795 packing up to 256 cores at 4.0GHz and 16TB of DRAM. All of which is addressable as a single instance; something Exadata is simply not capable of.

Oh, and he's also dead wrong on VMAX being the fastest. It's just not. (Show me the SPC results proving it? Ah that's right - EMC considers SPC to be 'biased and unrealistic' as opposed to 'making up benchmarks from whole cloth.')

Really? Are people still taking him serious about any technology?

He spent years trying to dismantle more technology than his company ever created.

I can remember getting caught in speeches of his in the 90s that instead of talking about the new database technology they were promoting, he would go on and on and on for the majority of the presentation of how horrible Microsoft was. I don't even remember why their database server had any relevance, and myself, like most, gave it the finger and moved on.

I do remember his technology politics and how his direct hatred for Microsoft started. Microsoft's SQL server and Access technologies were a direct assault to the Oracle business model.

Prior to the more modern database server technologies, Access and ODBC Applications, the world that ran Oracle was locked into their application UI, like DBase.

Back then having 'experience' using Oracle meant you went to training, to learn their Ctrl-End and F1-12 combinations that were so far outside the normal CUI that anyone used it took trained people to add records or lookup information.

Oracle made as much money from 'training' people to use their software and certification and experts teaching the software than they did on the database technology itself. (This is back when they were fighting hard with Sybase for the top spot of the Database world.)

Microsoft's model that they pushed beyond just SQL was universal access from existing software and a simple way for applications to access data that later became ODBC.

Microsoft's Access was a simple database UI builder, but the strength was in it file format that had fast and elegant localized sharing, that no longer had the need for a centralized database server, just a file location for low to medium transaction environments.

So people could literally build quick and easy applications to use Access or MSSQL that had a friendly front end or be built into existing corporate software, rather than have users work in a stand alone application that was just for data entry/management.

So instead of a company have to send their employees to learn how to use Oracle, they could instead create applications that worked like they wanted. This was far easier on employees, and was part of the boom that came with the Internet era. Imagine having to 'know' Oracle conventions or syntax or use their customized App instead of a simple web form. Note the universal connectors are still used today in ASP.NET and PHP.

This was a major threat to Oracle, and Ellison is not a 'kind' person. When NT and MSSQL started spanking Oracle in performance in the 3.1-3.5 era, before NT was even hitting its optimization point at 4.0, it was embarrassing for Ellison, as he was the Database genius (in his head) that came from the CIA.


Ellison is the epitome of technology politics, and used every bit of influence and partnerships they had to kill off technologies they saw as a threat, over and over again. Even sticking their nosed into things unrelated to them at the time, like Microsoft Office and Web standards later on.

We lost a lot of good technology and progress because of his personal crusade against advances that they were not involved or hurt their business model. Even when IE was introducing stuff that is common in HTML5 today, like font tags, it was Oracle, Sun, IBM, and Netscape that killed the adoption of many of the standards proposed by Microsoft to the W3C. Which is insane, since they were adopted several years later and are now important. Even XHTML and Ajax technologies from the 1990s that Microsoft proposed were killed, only to be reinvented/introduced several years later.

Ellison proudly has stated that his personal motto is, “It's not sufficient I succeed. Everyone else must fail.”

Sadly he has done too well with this, and hurt the consumers and developers and the entire technology industry.

When his private jet was too big/loud and violated San Jose's late night air traffic noise curfew, he sued the city, not only attempting to get the fine removed, but to get 'special' permission so he could fly in and out at night, even if it did wake up residents of the city.

Egomaniacal dick.

Yeah but IBM's DB2 vs Oracle's Oracle - the winner is clear, and it's the one that didn't have a pretty huge security lapse 3 years ago that allowed anyone to get full access to an admin account on the DBMS by using a blank password. Oh and then there's ~$1m/year licensing cost to use oracle (if you pay that you really are a mug).

well I'm just glad Java is being given the kiss of death with its inability to run on iOS and win8RT. plus with html5, the need for java is long gone so oracle can keep it on server racks which is where it belongs and not in people's machines opening up Pandora's box of security flaws.

the best java is the one you don't have to install.

neonspark said,
well I'm just glad Java is being given the kiss of death with its inability to run on iOS and win8RT. plus with html5, the need for java is long gone so oracle can keep it on server racks which is where it belongs and not in people's machines opening up Pandora's box of security flaws.

the best java is the one you don't have to install.

The only reason I have Java installed is for MineCraft. Otherwise I've never had to use it for anything else.