Oracle OpenWorld: Hardware, Fusion, big data talk, SaaS on tap

The theme of Oracle's OpenWorld is engineered innovation, which roughly translates into a heavy dose of Exadata talk.

Oracle OpenWorld: Hardware, Fusion, big data talk, SaaS on tap
Oracle kicks off its annual OpenWorld powwow on Sunday and the conference is likely to be very hardware centric with a dash of Fusion, the company's next-gen applications, mixed in.

The theme of OpenWorld is engineered innovation, which roughly translates into a heavy dose of Exadata talk.

Among the key items to watch: New SPARC systems: Oracle CEO Larry Ellison said on the company's recent earnings call that the company will unveil new SPARC systems.

He said:

In Q2, we will accelerate that trend when we introduce four brand-new engineered systems products. Each of these new engineered systems optimally combines Oracle software, Oracle silicon, and Oracle hardware to deliver extreme high performance, fault tolerance, high reliability and improved ease of use. The largest of these new engineered systems is the fault-tolerant SPARC SuperCluster featuring our new SPARC T4 microprocessor that runs up to 5 times faster than the T3 microprocessor it replaces. Our new feature-rich Solaris 11 operating system and the ultra-high performance Exadata flash disk storage system. The SPARC SuperCluster runs the Oracle database applications faster and less expensively than anything available from IBM. We expect that many customers in our large SPARC Solaris installed base will be upgrading to SPARC SuperClusters.

Details about the Oracle Database Appliance, which has a list price of $50,000. Last week, Oracle outlined its Oracle Database Appliance, essentially a baby Exadata. The entry-level appliance uses Oracle Database 11g R2 and Oracle Real Application Clusters on Sun servers. Customers will license only what they need---2 cores to 24---but there's only one flavor of the appliance. Oracle promised more details at OpenWorld.

Big data additions to the Oracle database. Ellison noted that Oracle's database strategy is to find new technologies and then absorb it. Right on cue, Oracle is planning demos of Hadoop connectors and a NoSQL database.

Fusion chatter will revolve around customer wins and Oracle seems to be a bit occupied with Workday. Ellison said on Oracle's earnings conference call:

We've been working on Fusion apps for almost six years now and we have about 200 customers using Fusion apps.We're going generally -- before the end of this calendar year, we're going to have general availability on Fusion and we have a number of wins against not only SAP using Fusion but some of the newer competitors like Workday using Fusion where people have compared our user interface to their user interface, our SaaS offering to their SaaS offering, our cloud infrastructure to their cloud infrastructure. So, we think it's very important that we're out in the market now, not only with our traditional applications which we'll continue to support for years to come, but also an all new generation of Fusion applications, something that SAP, our largest applications competitor doesn't have.

Mark Hurd, Oracle's president, said the company is focusing on HCM as well as CRM on-premise and as a service. On the CRM front, it's worth noting that CEO Marc Benioff is delivering a keynote adjacent to OpenWorld. Consider the talk counter programming. Hardware distribution partners. Oracle will offer its Oracle Database Appliance direct and via the channel. Dell CEO Michael Dell and EMC CEO Joe Tucci are on tap for keynotes so look for partnerships and announcements with Oracle, EMC and Dell.