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Oracle's Entry to the DWA Community - Just Some of the Snarkalicious Commentary

September 26, 2008

Okay I'll admit that my first posting about the new Oracle Data Warehouse Appliance (DWA) tonight was a tad on the "snarky" side. But I have to say that I think it was because of all influences in the environment all around me. Straight away since the announcement yesterday afternoon, there's been a healthy degree of skepticism from industry insiders.

Beyond his commentary on Larry Ellison's hairstyle, Gavin Clarke of the UK's Channel Register virtually flogged Larry for flogging the "Oracle server appliance alliance with HP". Some of the best snippets included:

  • Gavin's subtitle: "(Not) a hardware provider"

  • "And so to chief executive Larry Ellison, who Wednesday afternoon announced Oracle's third effort in 10 years bundling his company's software with someone else's hardware. This time, it's a high-performance, Oracle data and storage server stack locking arms with old favorite Hewlett-Packard."

And after taking several informative paragraphs to expound on Oracle's two previously-failed attempts at ‘appliantization' - most recently the "Network Computer" initiative circa-2000 - to draw the clear analogy to yesterday's announcement, Clarke closed out his piece with this stinger:

  • "In a telling sign of how much faith Ellison places in his latest appliance, he did not sit down for his traditional, open-mic smack-down session with OpenWorld attendees to field questions."

Analyst/blogger Curt Monash summarized more than a few skeptical digs in his Oracle Exadata and Oracle data warehouse appliance sound bites posting earlier today. For example, here are a few "bites" from Curt's post:

VP & Global Marketing CTO Chuck Hollis of EMC weighed in with a couple good shots on his Chuck's Blog post: Oracle does hardware (emphasis mine):

  • "Of course, there's little in the way of performance comparisons to help us evaluate just how fast this beast might go, except the ‘Up To 10x Faster' which smells a bit optimistic, never mind that it's Oracle comparing with itself, rather than other data warehousing appliances."

  • "Every year at Oracle Open World, we hear about many "new initiatives" from Oracle. Well, not to be harsh here, but it's my impression that very few of them get talked about at next year's Oracle Open World. I routinely dig up past announcements from previous years, and it's relatively consistent pattern. I think it's fair to ask the question -- just how serious is Oracle about all of this?"

ellisonOpenWorldExadata.jpg

But the lead cynic was none other than Oracle CEO Larry Ellison himself. After years of denying performance issues at scale with various generations of Oracle DBMS software for data warehousing, Larry dropped this 11g-megaton bombshell about Oracle's data warehouse scalability, pre-Exadata - laying out the fundamental reason why Netezza has become the industry leader in Data Warehouse Appliances (source: ZDNet's Larry Dignan):

"Ellison, speaking at Oracle's OpenWorld conference, said large databases are creating a fundamental problem: Disk storage systems can't cope with data that has to be moved off of drives to database servers. He called it a ‘data bandwidth problem.'

"As data gets larger the slowdowns become more unbearable. At one terabyte you will notice data bandwidth slippage. At 10 terabytes, storage systems crawl. ‘At one terabyte the problem rears its ugly head and it gets worse every year,' said Ellison."

And that's not all - the barbs, skepticism and "bites" go on in site-after-site, and commentary-after-commentary. So please forgive my snarky-ness - I blame it on the "nuture" of my environment, not my personal "nature", per se.