September 30, 2013

Turning Setbacks Into Comebacks

by Ash Sethi, Associate


Oracle CEO Larry Ellison once famously quipped, “I’ve heard everything was supposed to destroy us.  Open-source will destroy our business.  Mini-computers will destroy us.  The cloud will destroy us.  Who writes this nonsense?  When will this idiocy stop?”

After a legendary back from the dead comeback, following everything from penalties to a string of defeats, Ellison can now add Team New Zealand’s 2013 America’s Cup sailing crew to the list of failed would be assassins of Oracle.  The climax of the races was so enthralling that it very nearly shadowed several interesting developments at Oracle OpenWorldtaking place less than a mile from the sailing.

Michael Dell, himself fresh from going 15 rounds with investors to re-privatize the company he founded in one of the largest LBO’s the IT industry has ever seen, announced at OpenWorld that Dell and Oracle will be taking a number of steps to deepen their relationship—with clear intent to get an edge over rivals IBM and HP.

In addition to integrating its OpenManage inside Oracle’s Enterprise manager, Dell will be offering Active Infrastructure for Oracle Linux and Oracle VM and will deepen integration of Dell infrastructure into Oracle’s Engineered Systems, specifically for Exalogic and Exalytics.  For many this was confirmation that Dell has decided its future lies in enterprise services rather than consumer products.  This could actually be good news for HP as it struggles to hold market-share in the shrinking and low margin PC segment.

Business Analytics continue to be a strong play for Oracle, with over 200 EPM, BI, Analytics, Big Data and Exalytics sessions delivered by Oracle, its customers and partners at OpenWorld.  Though channel consolidation is still very much en mode, what Oracle wants is more partners selling up and down its technology stack and driving Oracle products into the midmarket where its direct sales teams, and many of its solution provider partners are weak.

Cloud services are still the hot property in the M&A space and Oracle this year migrated a number services to the cloud, including database as a service, Java, and business intelligence capabilities.  Oracle has also launched a platform to develop mobile applications in the cloud. This service enables developers to create mobile APIsallowing developers to integrate their applications with enterprise data and services.  The convergence between enterprise services and mobility is likely to be the main technology disruptor of the next several years, similar to how the web enabled desktop software to move to the cloud.