Oracle invades San Francisco

Welcome to San Francisco for Oracle's takeover of a different sort of entity; a city.

Welcome to San Francisco, California, for Oracle's takeover of a different sort of entity; a city.

The enterprise software giant is again holding its annual conference extravaganza, Oracle OpenWorld, in San Francisco's Moscone Center and surrounding hotels, which draws over 40,000 staff, customers, partners and media for most of the week.

If you've never been to OpenWorld, the size of the event is a stark reminder of the stranglehold Oracle has on the business computing world (see pictures below).

The city is littered with advertising for the event, roads next to the Moscone Center are closed to traffic, the conspicuous grey delegate bag is everywhere, and keynote queues several hundred metres long stretch out onto the street. The queue for Oracle president Charles Phillips' opening keynote on Sunday night stretched several football fields in length.

Occasionally the Australian accent, as well as others, can be heard among the throngs milling around the Center; a reminder of how many delegates have travelled from abroad.

On the roads, almost every bus seems to carry advertising for the event. Over 180 OpenWorld buses are driving delegates to OpenWorld every day.

And if you can't leave your hotel, Oracle has its own television channel set-up in many of them for you to keep an eye on proceedings.

The event has become so big that OpenWorld uses giant tents to extend the conference area, and for the first time has this year used nearby hotels to stage sessions -- the entire area is almost two acres.

All this has some OpenWorld veterans suggesting the event has outgrown San Francisco, and needs to be moved somewhere with greater capacity.

The size of the queues for keynotes and the amount of time it takes to exit these halls suggests likewise.

OpenWorld 2007 is still scheduled for San Francisco, however.

Steven Deare travelled to San Francisco as a guest of Oracle.

Oracle OpenWorld
One of the buses transporting delegates to OpenWorld

Oracle OpenWorld
Charles Phillips' keynote on Sunday created a queue of several hundred metres

Oracle OpenWorld
Delegates pack the main keynote hall

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