“We want to be the Apple of enterprise”

by Sharon Lobo    Aug 01, 2012

Adrian Jones OracleSince it acquired Sun Microsystems two years ago, Oracle has been focusing on engineering its software to work better with its hardware. In an interview to CXOtoday, Adrian Jones, SVP - Hardware Sales, APJ, Oracle talks about the company’s overall hardware strategy and the how it is focusing on providing a business solution rather than just hardware or software. Excerpts.

How successful has Oracle been in transforming its image from being a software company to now being a provider of hardware and software?
Oracle has been a software company and we do not intend to change the mind set of businesses who still consider us to be it. Instead, we want companies to think of us as providers of compelling solutions around software and hardware.

Close to two years ago when Oracle acquired Sun Microsystems, there were many reasons why we took such a move. Java was indeed one of the reason, however, quickly and clearly we realised that we had a bunch of hardware products with which we could do something in the industry. Since then our overall strategy has been to bring together software, which have been doing for many years now, and the hardware which we acquired to provide seamless solutions to our customers.

Currently, companies like Apple have done an incredible job of bringing a hardware and a software product to work together seamlessly for people like us. We see that Oracle do the same from an enterprise perspective so the customers can have one seamless solution.

So is Oracle following the Apple model, ‘My software on my hardware’?
We develop our own software and hardware, and if you see any company doing both, they usually do a good job. So yes, we do see ourselves as the Apple of the enterprise.

How has Oracle enhanced Sun’s hardware offerings?
Since we acquired Sun, it took us a year and half to integrate the two entities, which was a bit longer than expected. However, now having done all that, we have introduced many new hardware products in the market including the new SPARC T4 chip, which is capable of increasing performance and ROI.

Even before we acquired Sun, the company had great technology and loyal customer base. I know of businesses in India, who have been using SPARC and Solaris for many years and they don’t want to change. So we are building back on what Sun did many years ago. Sun lost their way when it came to driving new technology, and also lost a lot of good people. However, now we have regrouped all of that. We have invested close to $5 bn in R&D a year and are further going to expand our R&D capabilities.

Now we have the SPARC T4, later we will have the SPARC T5. However, it gets very interesting when the SPARC T6 is launched, as then we will be looking at the software layer being embedded into the silicon of the chip.

In India, we have seen a good adoption rate around the SPARC T4 chip and Solaris OS. And companies want these kind of technologies to run their mission critical applications. Currently, businesses don’t have many choices, particularly in the UX and UNIX world. Whether they would go on IBM AIX? They wouldn’t go to HP Itanium anymore. So, Oracle is pretty much the choice and going forward Oracle would be one of the only few choices in mission critical space in the hardware world.

What is Oracle’s roadmap for India in terms of offerings and pricing?
Compared to developed nations, India currently has a high infrastructure growth, thereby providing us a huge opportunity in the APAC region. We have lot of people here and we continue to invest a lot in the hardware business here. For us India is a big play, and I think it is all about bringing all the ingredients I talked about earlier and get the right recipe to be successful.

In terms of pricing, we find most countries in the APAC region being price conscious. As a result, we have the similar price strategy across the region whether it is India, China or South Korea.

Which industry verticals are you currently focussing on?
In terms of targeting specific verticals, I think healthcare and telcos are a big play. Though telcos are a bit slow here, but as 4G/LTE come to the market, we will see more growth from the telco perspective. The government sector too offers a huge opportunity, though it takes a bit long to penetrate this vertical and I believe we can do better in this space.