Oracle tries ‘too hard’ to align with new market trends

by CXOtoday News Desk    Sep 23, 2013

Oracle OpenWorld conference

The annual Oracle OpenWorld conference is an event that most tech enthusiasts and marketers eagerly await every year. But the important question on everyone’s mind this time is whether Oracle is really geared up for the future. Is the company doing too little, too late? Is Oracle losing out on the edge that it enjoyed once upon a time?

“Those of us who were around in the 1980s remember when Oracle, Sybase, and Informix were cutting edge companies. Now Oracle seems tired, increasingly a legacy vendor, like those old flat-file database companies that it replaced,” writes Bert Latamore, a veteran tech writer and analyst. “The big question as Oracle OpenWorld opens is will this be the year that Oracle moves into the future, or will it be another celebration of closed systems, structured data, and monolithic control…”

Asserting more power?

In his keynote speech at the conference, CEO Larry Ellison explained in detail about how the company has shifted to the in-memory technology which will significantly increase the processing speed of databases by 100 times. “Things that used to take hours can now be done in seconds,” he said. Ellison also announced a string of new products including an appliance for database backups, new systems based on a new generation of the SPARC processor, the M6, which is much more powerful than before.

SAP, which had launched its in-memory based product HANA earlier this year, was quick to react to this. “It’s great to hear Larry singing from Hasso Plattner’s playbook, but Oracle is still missing the mark. They are still trying to make queries run faster but missed the chance to simplify the data management at the same time,” SAP spokesman Jim Dever was quoted in a report published by Allthingsd.com

The report further says, “Oracle has generally struggled with the hardware business it acquired from Sun Microsystems in 2010. Its commodity hardware business has been on the decline while its new engineered systems lines — that would be the Exa- family of products — hasn’t grown fast enough to replace the slowing sales of the other.”

Missed opportunities

Despite Oracle’s traditional strengths in database software, the company has been slow in moving on emerging trends like Cloud, Mobile and Open Systems. Market analysts believe that the company has already lost out on precious time as competitors have moved ahead. “How much longer can Oracle ignore the huge changes that are happening in the IT industry? And will Larry Ellison allow any concessions to the present realities of Cloud, Mobile, and especially Open Systems,” asks Bert Latamore. “While Oracle has so far done its best to ignore the new IT realities, IBM is embracing them wholeheartedly…”

IBM has also started looking beyond its ‘do-it-all’ approach and is now forging partnerships and devising new strategies to keep up with the changing market environment. So far, Oracle has believed in the acquisition route to gain new strengths. But looking at the experience with Peoplesoft and Sun Microsystems, it seems Oracle will really have to rethink its strategies to brace itself with the new market realities.