Oracle OpenWorld 2011 – Sunday and Monday Recap

Oracle OpenWorld (OOW) is under way. I attended a full day of sessions on Sunday and Monday. In addition, I saw Larry Ellison’s keynote address Sunday night and the Monday morning keynote by Oracle Presidents Safra Catz and Mark Hurd, EMC CEO Joe Tucci, and Oracle EVP of Product Development Thomas Kurian.

The big trend of the show (at least for the keynotes) has been the nearly total dedication to hardware. Ellison and Kurian both talked almost exclusively about the trio of Exadata / Exalogic / Exalytics. [See below for Exalytics details] We heard lots of details about how they work, why they’re so fast, and how they will dominate the competition.

Ellison’s keynote was 100% focused on hardware: Exadata, Exalogic, and the newly announced Exalytics Business Intelligence Machine. His delivery was aggressive (especially toward IBM) and his demeanor was more superior, more confrontational, and more smug than usual (which isn’t easy!). General reaction among Twitter observers seemed to be pretty negative.

Here are some follow ups to my predictions from last week:

Exadata / Exalogic / Hardware
o My Prediction: There’s been a fair amount of analyst speculation that Oracle is planning more Exa-whatever announcements at OOW. It seems a pretty safe bet that we’ll see something new. Meanwhile, Ellison will probably continue to explain “why Sun Microsystems was a successful acquisition.”
o What Happened So Far: The big announcement so far is the new Exalytics Business Intelligence Machine. I’ll give myself a B for this one – I guessed that there would be a new Exa- device.

Larry Ellison and Salesforce CEO Marc Benioff
o My Prediction: I don’t expect Ellison to let Benioff get the last word here. There’ll be more theatrics (and probably some more dismissive comments about SalesForce) in Ellison’s keynote.
o What Happened So Far: Nothing yet from Ellison related to SF or Benioff. It hasn’t been completely silent though – Benioff tweeted a few barbs in response to Ellison’s keynote Sunday night:
• “A low bar has been set. See you Wednesday at 10 AM”
• “In what some are already pegging the worst keynote ever, Larry’s opening speech was perhaps more boastful than usual” [Quoted from this article.]
Meanwhile, others are anticipating some more fireworks from Benioff on Wednesday.

I’ll give myself an incomplete grade here – the story isn’t finished.

Fusion Applications
o Prediction: Ellison (and probably Thomas Kurian, in his keynote) will repeatedly emphasize the point that “Fusion is ready” (even if it isn’t). However, I don’t expect any significant new announcements here.
o What Happened So Far: Nothing – Ellison didn’t address Fusion at all. Neither did Hurd or Catz. Kurian mentioned it only in passing. This seemed strange. There have been lots of Fusion Applications sessions, but the “public” emphasis has been near zero. It’s likely that this will change in Ellison’s second keynote on Wednesday.

So far, I get a D here, but I have a chance to raise my grade with SVP of Application Development Steve Miranda and Larry Ellison’s upcoming keynotes.

Oracle BI 11g
o Prediction: I don’t expect many new announcements in this area either, although there will be many conference sessions providing real-life details about Oracle’s BI products. Any BI focus for OpenWorld keynotes will probably be part of a larger discussion of Fusion Applications.
o What Happened So Far: I missed this one completely – the Exalytics announcement is all about BI. There’s a new OBI EE release planned to support the new BI machine and it’ll have new features to take advantage of the massive performance improvements that Exalytics will provide.

Nearly all of my time has been spent in BI sessions, getting updates on the product road map for various parts of the Oracle BI product family.

Another D.

Hewlett Packard and Oracle
o Prediction: Ellison (and others) will focus on “HP as a competitor we want to destroy” and possibly attempt to portray HP as an even larger villain than SAP.
o What Happened So Far: So far, I’m wrong here too. Ellison’s focus on Sunday was IBM, not HP or SAP.

I get an F for this prediction.

For now…I’ll leave you with this thought:

The focus so far has been hardware and “Engineered Systems.” My prediction grades are really bad, but I’m hopeful that they’ll rise before the end of the show.

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