Oracle “Exalytics” – the Frankenstein Follow Up to Cloud in a Box?

Yesterday I reported that Oracle will launch a NoSQL database at Oracle OpenWorld. In addition, the company will unveil a Hadoop data loader and in-memory store.

So is Oracle becoming a true big data company? I say “true” because Oracle gets a lot of criticism for its double speak about cloud computing. In the past CEO Larry Ellison has derided cloud computing, famously pondering about its vaporous nature.

At Oracle OpenWorld last year, he unveiled a “cloud in a box,” called Exalogic Elastic Cloud. What’s on tap for Oracle OpenWorld next week? Well, Scott Tiazkun of Pierre Audoin Consultants says Oracle’s new Frankenstein is what Oracle code-named “Exalytics.” It is designed, supposedly, to embed analytics into the hardware appliance.

Exalogic has not exactly been a runaway hit. You can say that’s in part due to the shallow demand for private cloud offerings. But I’m not so sure about that. VMware seems to know its direction, working with public service providers to offer what I’d call more of an extended data center offering. And OpenStack just keeps building. It just released Diablo with a dashboard, APIs and more features that seem to organically grow from its deepening developer community. I’m hearing about some very big companies and Web services starting to use OpenStack to build out their infrastructure.

Then there’s IBM with Netezza and EMC with Greenplum. Not to mention SAP, which has a hit with HANA. As far as I can tell that seems to be what Oracle is targeting.

I spoke to one Intel executive at the Intel Developer Forum who said that SAP is positioning HANA to sit next to Oracle inside the enterprise. In that scenario, data would flow from Oracle’s database engine and into HANA for data analysis. Eventually would that negate the need for Oracle?

And so Oracle needs a strong analytics option. For it’s not just SAP. It’s a disruption that we see everywhere with the big data explosion.

Dave Vellante, my colleague and co-founder at Wikibon, made a comparison to the days of data sparseness. In those days, you paid a bundle to manage data.


Back in the day – if you had a data problem you’d pay Oracle a lot of money to license its database. And you’d buy the biggest SPARC or HP Unix server you could afford. If you had any money left over to do anything else you’d be lucky.

Today – the starting point for data problems is not Oracle – it’s NoSQL. This is a clear and disruptive threat to Oracle. Everyone’s been asking – what’s Oracle’s Hadoop strategy? What’s Oracles NoSQL strategy?

Really, what’s the reality?


Is Oracle just trying to freeze the market or does it have a substantive solution here? Where will open source fit? Oracle generally is closing the ranks on hardware partners, open source and the like (e.g. the lawsuit with Google over Java, the back and forth with HP over Titanium, etc). Because NoSQL is disruptive to Oracle’s traditional DBMS business it’s likely Oracle is throwing its hat into the ring to head fake the market or at least show that it has a solution and keeping it’s loyalists locked in.

But where are the customer success stories? SAP has a few. Here’s why. As Tiazkun points out, HANA is an appliance with analytics, a database and application platform built in one. The data is stored in columns as opposed to records.  It can run queries under standard SQL, fitting under any relational database.

I saw Hasso Plattner show off HANA at SAP Sapphire earlier this year. The technology is lightning fast. It’s a game changer. All of the data is in the memory of the application itself.

The success is already apparent. Tiazkun points out wins at Chrysler where SAP is using HANA to calculate real-time profitability per car sale at dealerships in the U.S. Oracle does have a customer panel at Oracle OpenWorld. We’ll see who they show off. So far, I see a panel with one executive from Banco De Chile who will be there with three Oracle executives.

Services Angle

This is a huge moment for the services world. Who are you with? Will you align with Oracle? That’s still a viable option. But my bet remains in line with the trends that are hitting like the sun in your eyes at sunset. Companies realize the big data juggernaut is here and the last thing they want is to lose flexibility. Costs are a factor. So is security. But most important is how to innovate and get the most out of your data.

For that, who are you going to trust?

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