UPDATED 23:20 EDT / JULY 22 2010

Scoop: Oracle Gets “Spark Plug” for Converged Datacenter and Cloud Play with QLogic Deal

Is Oracle going hard at Private Cloud? Yes they are.

I just confirmed that Oracle has done a deal with QLogic for FCoE in their stack and will be branding it Oracle.  According to the QLogic earnings call its CNAs will be used in Oracle SPARC M Series servers, Oracle SPARC T Series servers and Oracle x64 platforms. These QLogic-sourced CNAs are branded as Oracle 10GE FCoE PCIe Converged Network Adapters, and mean that QLogic FCoE technology is playing a key role in the Oracle integrated product stack, providing connectivity for virtualized data centers. QLogic now has technology that is part of Oracle’s vision for next generation data centers—providing a fully integrated product stack from application to disk.

Oracle Playing Hard in Datacenter and Cloud

Oracle is moving fast to a converged datacenter and private cloud play with a strategic deal with QLogic for converged networking.  Today, Stu Miniman covered their earnings call and there was a big surprise in that announcement – Hello Oracle deal. (Thanks Stu for pointing it out).

According to QLogic’s earnings call as blogged by Stu Miniman today, it appears as if the QLogic converged networking technology will be fully integrated into the Oracle stack. This deal looks to be exclusive. I tweeted to QLogic for a comment on this deal and got @QLogic to respond.  @QLogic responded with  “No Comment” – which means it’s exclusive.

According to Stu Miniman’s research blog post covering the QLogic earnings, he writes about the Oracle deal:

Desai (QLogic’s CEO) mentioned that Oracle began revenue shipment of QLogic CNAs.  QLogic has long been a supplier of FC for Sun, but this is the first that I’ve heard of Oracle supporting FCoE.  As I wrote on the Wikibon wiki, “The battle for the vendors is to get OEM design wins with server manufacturers and the acceptance of customers who adopt the next generation 10Gb Ethernet based solutions.”  Oracle is working to vertically integrating their stack and this design win by QLogic is significant (especially if it is exclusive, some vendors do dual source, but Sun tended to single-source).

Oracle Stack Wars – QLogic The Spark Plug for Oracle Cloud
Last May, I talked about the Stack Wars mainly around the big players like HP, SAP, VMware, EMC, etc. In that discussion we talked about how Oracle has a monolithic approach that is closed. If this Oracle deal with QLogic plays out, then it appears that Oracle is collapsing the stack at the storage and network level to have a complete end to end stack offering for their HUGE installed base.

A big win for Oracle on the product side and a huge win for QLogic on the business side.

QLogic: Rising Brand In The Datacenter and Cloud

QLogic in just one year has become a new leading datacenter brand with FCoE design win after design win. QLogic is a company that I started tracking early this year after they started scoring huge wins with big players like HP in the converged datacenter area.  I really like this company.

Now a massive Oracle exclusive win for QLogic—this Oracle deal puts QLogic clearly on top of Emulex and Brocade in the important FCoE changing landscape.

Brocade continues to get trampled in the converged networking market, losing the FCoE switching business to QLogic for HP’s Virtual Connect FlexFabric module last month and now losing out on the Oracle Converged Network Adapter business for its integrated stack. While QLogic and Brocade compete for the end-to-end networking business at all the big OEMs, the only thing Emulex sells is boards and they still managed to lose the Oracle deal to QLogic.

All Engines Need a Spark Plug

FCoE is a key enabler in the private cloud play. As storage becomes more and more important in the digital world. FCoE properly engineered and integrated into the new datacenter operating system products and frameworks (like HP and Oracle) make it a compelling solution versus an obsolete technology.

It’s no secret that Oracle is building purpose built hardware to support an end to end converged datacenter solution. QLogic’s FCoE now becomes the key part of that formula for the Oracle converged datacenter and Oracle’s Private Cloud play.

QLogic is the “spark plug” with this deal in the overall Oracle “stack engine”.

Customers Care About Stack Wars – They Want Solutions Not Hype
According to industry analysts the most interesting development occurring in the stack wars is the virtual integration that’s occurring with some vendors. EMC’s acquisition of VMware has put the company in the center of the conflict, allowing it to partner closely with Cisco and services firms such as Accenture, CSC and Deloitte. EMC and VMware are betting on Intel hardware and as such Intel becomes a de facto member of the virtual stack. The VCE coalition and EMC, VMware, Cisco joint venture called Acadia are further examples of virtual integration and most recently, EMC and SAP have announced a tighter partnership. With SAP announcing it is acquiring Sybase, the virtual stack is now more complete. And HP acquired 3COM and OEMed QLogic Fibre Channel stackable switches to strengthen its integrated server-storage-networking stack while it got divorced from Cisco.

The pending enterprise stack wars pit highly vertically integrated companies against a virtually integrated whole. In theory, the vertical approach can be more easily managed because its owned by a single company. However the virtual approach is more open and potentially has more industry reach.

Customers Care – Reality In Cloud Computing
In May, I sat down with the CIO of Levis Strauss Tom Peck to talk about Stack Wars. This is what Tom said…

Peck said his team pays close attention to the leading IT companies and how they’re beefing up their arsenals of technology assets. Specifically, Peck indicated that the stack wars heavily influence Levi’s procurement strategies, negotiations, choice of partners and how his team aligns with large suppliers.

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Integrated Stacks

The first deployments of integrated stacks were found in mainframe systems. The mainframe system integrated all the major software components into a single stack and designed the hardware to operate the software more efficiently, with particular emphasis on performance, high availability, and security.  This trend is clearly the battleground in the cloud and converged datacenter technology market.

In the open systems area, integrated IT infrastructure stacks are seen as a key trend to reducing IT infrastructure costs and improving availability and security. Many IT companies are investing heavily in creating such stacks, with EMC, VMware, Cisco, HP and Oracle currently being the most discussed and having the most aggressive roadmaps. These stacks include all the operating system, data management, backup, security, and manageability components integrated into a single package. In the case of Oracle, database software is also included—a key advantage over the other vendors. The main idea of the integrated stack is to encapsulate the application together with the metadata that defines the application service level requirements (SLAs) and the resource requirements of the application.

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