In Possibly His Worst Keynote Ever, Larry Ellison Unveils “Exalytics”


Larry Ellison (in his worst keynote ever?) announced Exalytics today, an appliance for in-memory analytics.

As I reported on Friday, the hardware/software integration is the next permutation of Exalogic, what Ellison last year called a cloud in a box. Ellison said Exalytics is based upon Times Ten, which Oracle acquired in 2005.

This keynote seemed made for the old guard – it was all about the hardware – appliances.  As Ray Wang tweeted, it had nothing for the next generation CIO. It seemed more like a product demo than a vision of the future.

The keynote had fits and starts, ending with Larry running off the stage. He read the slides. He had no encompassing vision. At its best, we heard Larry talk about how Oracle plans to “parallel everything.”

As ZDnet points out, the new Oracle hardware is a parallel configuration of servers, networks and storage. The software is the virtual machine, operating system, database and middleware. It’s this parallel everything approach, combined with hardware/software integration, that competitors lack.

What is it, though – this Exalytics?

Ellison said the new Exalytics analyses relational, multidimensional and unstructured data in any combination. It’s an in-memory analytics machine, that looks like a competitor to SAP HANA.

To Oracle’s credit, the Exalytics system is pre-engineered for what Ellison says is easy deployment. That should give the SAP team some pause. Ellison made the point that Exalytics requires no fine tuning. It just runs. That’s an Oracle theme and a proven winning approach.

Ellison said Exalytics has one terabyte of DRAM with 40 cores compute in parallel. A scan compresses five terabyte databases in five seconds with fast connections to Exadata. It has 40 gigabytes per second (Gbps) InfiniBand and 1-10 Gbps ethernet.

The software uses in-memory parallel analytics, in-memory parallel version of the Essbase OLAP server and in-memory parallel Times Ten.

Here’s the problem, though, as Michael Krigsman and Paul Greenberg sees it. And I have to agree.

Ellison showed off Exalytics but did not show off any customers. There is no connection between the technology and the vision for what this means for Oracle. On the other hand, Curt Monash makes the point that SAP was also wildly optimistic when it launched HANA. Fluff is definitely a shared attribute.

Services Angle

Ellison focused on parallel computing as the main theme for his keynote. He talked a lot about making things faster.

He called out IBM as a competitor he looks to beat. But did we hear about a grand vision for the next generation of leaders whose careers are tied directly to the big data themes we read about every day? I didn’t hear anything in that respect. There was not one mention of services. And that’s the future isn’t it? A future that dictates IT becomes a service. Very few companies can afford these kinds of machines. Most are looking to services as their future.

Larry did not show the mojo that we have come to expect from him. No passion. Just a lot of talk that sounded a lot like what we heard last year.

I will give this to Larry. Hi son got married last night. Congrats. He said he had not really slept since Friday. Okay – he deserves some slack. But, still, Larry read slides to his audience.  I can’t ever seeing Marc Benioff do that.

So, you have to wonder, is Oracle ready for the race or is it showing that it might really have a match in this new generation of service providers? And is that a race that Larry really wants to run?