Tonight was the opening keynote of Oracle Open World 2009 – presented by Scott McNealy, chairman of SUN Microsystems and hosting several specials guests like James Gosling (considered the father of Java), John Fowler (executive vice president SUN, among other things responsible for platform innovation and as some source state the new nr. 2 at Sun in terms at least of media exposure after the step back by Jonathan Schwartz ) and a guy from Oracle – Larry Ellison. With the lawyers hot on their heels and the EU watching closely, they could not say too much in detail about the Oracle-SUN merger, but they still sent out a pretty clear message. In fact, there were so many messages that I could have picked any from a number of (sub) titles for this article. See which one you like best:
- Oracle + SUN = Innovation
- Eat your heart out IBM!
- Sun is hot because of FlashFire
- SUNday at Oracle Open World
- Larry in good shape – what’s in store for Wednesday
- Oracle will continue the work of SUN – with more money
- Smart Hardware/Software appliances are the next thing for the database center
- SPARC is the best hardware to run Oracle on – and we will make it even better
- Lessons learned from Apple
- The World Record set by SUN + Oracle
- 27+ years of innovation merging into Oracle
- It’s a MERGER not an ACQUISITION
- "Technology has the shelf life of a banana"
- They call it: Power Systems – no we know why!
- Go after IBM! "IBM, we are looking forward to competing with you in systems, hardware and infrastructure"
- Who wants to earn $10M
Note: you can watch part of the keynote on YouTube: http://www.youtube.com/user/OracleVideo.
James Gosling and Java
Gosling was adamant about the great contributions Oracle has been making to the Java community over the last few years. By participating in almost every JSR that is going through the Java Community Process, by donating software to the open source domain and by helping to create the reference implementation for JEE. "My God, did Oracle help!". He was convinced the stewardship of Java would be in good hands with Oracle. If for no other reason than the plain fact that they really depend on it themselves:
He cited the old joke about the pig and the chicked and Ham & Eggs: The chicken is involved, but the pig is commited. When you look at Oracle, …. they are commited. When you look at their product suite, all of their fast growing software products are big bags of Java. They are really commited!
[Afterwards their was some discussion among attendants whether he had been suggesting he himself would not be part of that; that was definitely not the feeling I got, especially when towards the end he stated: I have never worked for a software company, so that will be an adventure. – to which Scott McNealy commented: "By the time we are done with them, they will not be a software company, I can tell ya!"]
James Gosling – when so asked – could name only one area where he might have some worries: the volume and sheer size of the Java community that in his opinion dwarfed Oracle’s community of technology fanatics. He mentioned the download numbers for Java – 15M downloads of JRE per week (largely as browser plugin JVM), which is quite somewhat higher than download numbers for Oracle EBS and RDBMS although of course the two do not compare very well – and hinted that the same applied to the sizes of the developer communities. Sources at Oracle denied that difference: Sun boasts of a Java community of 4.5 M developers – the Oracle Technology Network has over 6M professionals involved.
With clarity comes vision
A number of things became clear in this keynote – that by the way had the best performance by Larry Ellison in several years of OOW conferences.
Oracle is serious about hardware. Oracle does not just buy Sun because of Java and chucks out the hardware divisions. Oracle sees a lot of potential in creating hardware appliances – such as the Exadata Database Machine V2 and the Oracle Service Bus Appliance from Layer 7 (see: http://xml.sys-con.com/node/1133676) – where hardware and software are engineered together and tailored/optimized for each other. The comparison was made with Apple, where – even though you get a closed system, not standards compliant and proprietary in the exterme – you get a systems with a perfect balance between hardware and software. Using SUNs SPARC technology and the Solaris operating system ("the world’s leading operating systems for the enterprise"), Oracle intends to provide the best performing , prepackaged configuration for the Oracle Database.
SPARC is at the heart of the Oracle/SUN platform, together with Solaris. A new innovation from Sun is called FlashFire, a solid state disk that can be used for example to implement a FlachCache that sits between the SGA (memory) and the actual disks. FlashFire is packaged for example in the F5100 FlashFire Storage Array, which is loaded with 80 NAND flash modules [which equates to a whopping 1.8TB of solid-state capacity]that Fowler claimed runs on only about 300 watts of power. "This single array is comparable in speed and capacity to thousands — yes, thousands — of disks," Fowler said. "This new storage system will have four times the throughput as anything comparable on disk, yet cut power use by about one-fourth." Creating a FlashChache for the database – which you can do without having to buy the database machine, but only on (Unbreakable?) Linux and Solaris – will give you up to 4 times shorter response-times.One clear benefit – in fact a huge benefit – from the solid state disks is their extremely low power consumption compared to conventional storage with moving parts. That will save hugely on the energy bill, not just for the storage cabinet itself but also for the cooling otherwise needed.
Larry says: MySQL is a great prduct; we want to keep that. By the way, MySQL competes with Microsoft SQL Server, not with Oracle products. MS SQLServer does not really live in the enterprise space.
SUN brings the data center to the party: servers, networking, storage, infrastructure software – Oracle brings database, middleware and application software. Together they will put together a wonderful cloud …
Oracle through Larry promises to step up the development investment for the Sun products: Oracle will invest more money in the development of MySQL, Solaris, Java and SPARC.
War with IBM
The Sun/Oracle combination took over the TPC-C (wold record) benchmark for OLTP. It shattered the previous record – by 25% in terms of overll throughpuit and a whopping 7 times faster response time (from 1.22s down to 0.08 seconds. The TPC-C benchmark was run using a 9-standard rack of servers with the Flash Data Drives. IBM set the record originally using 76 standards racks with servers and network and storage. The difference in power consumption between these two configuration was huge: a factor of 6 was quoted. (and the floorspace required for IBMs configuration apparently was 8 times the area required for the Oracle/SUN set up.
IBM has been quite nasty about Sun (and the great upcoming Sun set) recently, making a lot of noise of customers apparently deserting Sun and pushing organizations to get rid of their Sun hardware or at least their Sun orientati
on. Larry and Oracle – as well as Sun – are quite willing to fight back. They already have been running ads about the TPC-C Benchmark (Oracle/Sun is faster in TPC-C than IBM) even before they actually (officially) did that – and were fined because of it. Now they will run again ads in the Washington Post not only claiming the world record – but also putting a challenge out there – for anyone: if your database (application) does not run at least twice as fast on Oracle+SUN, you will get $10 Million. IBM is very much welcome to enter itself into this competition.
The TPC-C benchmark also indicates that the IBM configuration consumes much more power than does the Sun machine. Larry joked: " now we know why these chips are called Power chips). (in the light of IBMs recent campaign on building a smarter planet – focused on the power consumption and the challenges that will bring to the US society and with drilling for oil as the key solution, apart from exploiting the atom, wind and … SUN – that is a little painful for big blue).
Somebody had not been using their spell checker very diligently: on two of the slides projected across the stage to an audience of maybe 10,000 was stated how ‘fault tolerent’ the SUN Sparc configuration for the TPC-C benchmark was. I am curious to see whether there will be video material from that session.