Oracle Open World 2009

Interesting times. Although I did not attend the Oracle Open World 2009 in San Francisco, I watched some of the keynotes in the web. With 37000 attendees and the rain storm, it was a challenge in terms of logistics.

The main highlights are hard to pinpoint, as there were so many sessions, news items, announcements. With $40B worth of acquisitions during last 6 years, one has a hard time keeping up with various products. But one that makes the most noise is “Fusion Applications”. Some people have dubbed it as “ConFusion” before. The main focal point was of course the Oracle, Sun merger that is currently held up by the European Council. But Sun was there in full force – Scott McNealy, James Gosling(father of Java) and many others. There were discussions on NetBeans which was anathema before. Marc Benioff gave a session on SalesForce.com – he is supposed to be competition to Oracle On-Demand and Larry’s other investment NetSuite. But SFDC uses Oracle database for its own operations, so they are partners too. Michael Dell was there extolling the virtue of Oracle technology at its data center. Oracle claimed it runs 20 thousand Dell servers. Again with Sun servers, there is co-opetition (competition + co-operation). Infosys CEO Kris Gopalkrishnan gave a keynote which people twitted as dry and dragging.

The usual buzzwords were there – SOA, Web 2.0, Cloud, SaaS, PaaS, Web Services, BPEL, CEP, etc. Fusion apps are almost ready and will be GA next year, which means much work is yet to be done. The new Data Warehouse appliance Exadata on Sun with fast performance was much bragged about with challenges to IBM to match the run-time performance. Such bravado is good fodder for the media to write about. IBM should be clever to ignore such noise. The image of a barking dog at a calm elephant walking comes to mind.

During my days at Oracle this event used to draw 10 to 15 thousand users. Of course those were the pre-acquisition days at Oracle. Now with all the new users from Peoplesoft, Siebel, BEA, and others, the number gets close to 40 thousand. People come for networking and party. It’s a good escape from the workplace. Oracle does a great job putting this event and this year was no exception. Even the governator Arnold Schwarzenegger made an appearance to add pizzazz.

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