OOW2012 so far...

It's now half way through Oracle Open World 2012 and I thought I would write up a brief update of what has happened so far. Last year saw the announcements of both Exalytics and the acquisition of Endeca, I didn’t expect the same sort of excitement this year for Business Intelligence and Data Warehouse, however there has been a huge amount of change in the IT industry as a whole and I think that was reflected in the what has been announced here.

Larry Ellison’s keynote on Sunday evening outlined the big changes this year. Before I summarise what they are, a few comments about the keynote. There is always a bit of a comparison between Larry and Steve Jobs, who were reported to be great friends, both rock the black roll neck look, eulogise about their company, lambast their competitors and unveil new products. I always thought this was a bit unfair on Larry in a way as iPhone’s are always going to be sexier than enterprise software and hardware, however I have seen a few lacklustre performances by Larry in the past. This year was different, I thought Larry had upped his game, he had a clicker, the subject of about 50% of the Twitter feed at the time, so no more ‘next slide’, and what he said was more dynamic and the products he discussed were very relevant to the industry. So what did he announce?

  • Oracle 12c Database - The latest version of the database has been announced and could be available as early as the end of the year. We don’t yet have a full list of features, however one the of the key ones is multi-tenancy, the 12c database will act as a sort of database container where individual databases will be able to be plugged in an out with ease. You can see the product direction is very much being defined from by the cloud strategy discussed above.
  • Exadata X3 - The final announcement is that Oracle is launching a new version of the database machine. From a hardware point of view one of the big change is the memory, X3 now boast 26TB of ‘memory’, however this is split between DRAM and Flash, with DRAM accounting for 4TB (I think), the key thing here is that X3 will be positioned to compete directly as an in-memory database with Sap HANA, maybe that will stop Exalytics being compared with HANA so much. From a software side its looks like the flash cache can now accommodate writes as well as reads, I can think of a few places where this would be useful. This feature will also be made available to X2 customers through a software upgrade.
On a personal level I saw a great talk by Jeremy Harms on using BI Publisher for Financial Reporting, it made a lot of sense and Jeremy clearly had done his prep and wasn’t just reading out a marketing deck of slides, so always enjoyable to watch. I also saw an interesting presentation on how both Roomkey and Dell had used Real Time Decisions (RTD) to great effect, what was interesting was that RTD made sense to both Roomkey as a startup and Dell as one of the most established tech companies in the world.

Finally its been good to catch up with other people in the industry and see the kinds of projects and direction Business Intelligence/Data Warehouse/Analytics have taken over the last year, and how they are getting along with products like Exalytics and Endeca, I learned an interesting gotcha about the new virtualisation offering within Exalytics - apparently OVM doesn’t support Infiniband yet - so if you were going to use that approach and attach to Exadata, you won’t be able to yet.

So 2 more days left, and I’m sure more to see and learn - I’m keen to find out more about the Data Integration toolset and if/when we will see ODI 12c, plus some time to reflect on what sort of impact announcements about Oracle’s approach to the cloud will have on our world, I’ve always been interested in the potential of BI in the cloud (see my paper from last year warning: it’s a >5MB PDF), so this could be another step in that direction.