Oracle's plans for 2007
With lots of people publishing about Oracle's accomplishments in
2006, very few analysts have discussed Oracle's upcoming plans and
Motley Fool recommends a "buy", and
with Oracle stock over $17 and the fusion of acquired software going
well (Peoplesoft, Siebel, ReTek, etc.), we see increased confidence
in their corporate direction. But what direction will that be? Oracle Corporation
operates in a very mature and competitive market and Oracle faces many competitive challenges in
- Applications challenges
- Oracle's eBusiness suite is threatened
by competitors IBM and Microsoft.
- Open source database
threats - PostgreSQL, MySQL and
EnterpriseDB remain threats to Oracle database sales.
- Middleware competition - Oracle nemesis Red Hat has just
purchased the popular JBOSS middleware.
Oracle's plan for 2007
In order to address these challenges, Oracle is seizing on these
market trends, firming-up their newly-acquired applications
(PeopleSoft, Siebel) with "fusion middleware" and focusing on
expanding within some very specific markets. The major focus
of application interoperability with MySQL, SQL Server,
EnterpriseDB, PostgreSQL and DB2, will allow Oracle to quickly
tie-in to their competitors systems, a foot-in-the-door approach
that gives Oracle leverage in migration proposals. We also see:
- 11g Database enhancements
- The Oracle database does not have any "huge" new features,
and the Oracle 11g database is currently
11g beta testing, scheduled for final release late in
2007/early 2008. Preliminary new features announcements at
Oracle OpenWorld 2006 did not reveal any "major" architectural
features except "fusion middleware", and some speculated that
the next release might be dubbed Oracle 11f. For a
detailed list of Oracle11g new features, see
my notes on the specific Oracle 11g new Features.
- Single-source shopping - Just as IBM earned billions
of dollars by offering soup-to-nuts service (with no
cross-finger pointing when things go wrong), Oracle is now
offering complete software solutions by incorporating their own
- Windows push - Oracle has announced
world-record benchmarks on Windows, using the massive
Intel-based UNISYS ES-7000 servers, getting over a quarter
million transactions per minute.
- Leveraging industry verticals
- Oracle sees
opportunities to integrate within industry verticals, as noted
by their acquisition of ReTek and MetaSolv.
- Easy Migration to Oracle
- The ultimate way to drive-out competitors, Oracle appears to be planning
to make it easy to switch to Oracle from competing platforms by
offering lower prices combined with easy inter- operability with
several critical areas:
- SQL Developer - SQL
Developer is to offer ODBC connectivity to DB2, MS-SQL,
MySQL and EnterpriseDB.
- Oracle Migration
Toolkit - This tool allows fast migration of SQL Server
databases and even re-writes T-SQL into PL/SQL.
- Enterprise Manager
(OEM) - OEM now has ODBC connectivity to foreign
databases, and even allows advanced graphics like monitoring
for SQL Server and MySQL.
- Project Fusion -
The Oracle Fusion Middleware" is an CORBA-like tool to allow
standard communications protocols between foreign ERP's like
How Oracle will implement their 2007 plans
It looks like Larry Ellison thinks that Bill Gates has far too
many billions of dollars, and Bill Gates seems to feel the same way
about Ellison's wealth. Both Oracle and SQL Server are reliable
databases, but they are both chasing the same market, leveraging on
their respective benefits:
- Oracle drives down
- Oracle is driving-down into the
midcap and small database market with the free Oracle XE,
leveraging on their "automation tools", a brilliant umbrella to
make Oracle simple for the small business user. They also have
Application Express (a.k.a. HTML-DB), a super-easy application
development platform that can create working applications in
just a few hours.
- Microsoft Drives up - Microsoft is driving-up into
the large database market by using showing that SQL Server is
ready for enterprise applications, using huge Windows servers
like the UNISYS ES-7000 to show transaction rates of a
quarter-millions transactions per minute. Microsoft likes to note
that Windows is far easier than Linux, and Microsoft is also
enhancing their T-SQL language to compete with the more robust
Oracle migration tools for multiple database
There is a much bigger theme at play with Oracle's push into
multi-database support. Oracle's buying spree of applications
products turned-out to be a wise move, and Oracle knows that it's
the application selection that drives the choice of database. Oracle
has made great inroads with their "fusion middleware", and
interoperability layer that allows diverse products to communicate
via a uniform interface.
Almost all large shops inherit the underlying database from their
choice of vendor applications and they all have SQL Server, Oracle
and DB2, and MySQL is also making inroads.
While most companies buy their applications from vendors, there are
thousands of custom business applications running on DB2 and SQL
Server, a giant market opportunity. Oracle introduced their
migration workbench to convert non-Oracle systems, but the challenge
is to create software that will quickly replace foreign languages
with Oracle SQL and PL/SQL.
There is no reason that fusion middleware could not be extended into
competing ERP's like SAP and Microsoft CRM.
Oracle will address their plans by enhancing multiple Oracle
migration tools such as the Oracle Migration workbench, and the
HTML-DB (Apex) application migration workshop. We also see
interoperability being offered within SQL Developer.
Oracle's SQL Developer is easy to use and very robust, and
because it's free, it will get widespread adoption for it's basic
functions, but it's the new interoperability features that are the
most intriguing. Extending the SQL Developer browser to
support foreign databases is not a huge technical achievement, it lays the foundation
for migrating entire applications to Oracle. By using Oracle
migration tools, replacing foreign
procedural code with Apex and PL/SQL, and using fusion middleware,
Oracle is making major strides into their competitors database
allow existing applications to use Oracle as their back-end