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Red Hat CEO suggests Oracle is feeling the heat

Hemos posted more than 8 years ago | from the can-you-feel-the-heat dept.

81

Rob writes "The previously rosy relationship between Oracle Corp and Red Hat Inc appears to have soured following Red Hat's acquisition of JBoss Inc and Oracle CEO Larry Ellison's suggestion that his company could move into the Linux business. Red Hat's chief executive, Matthew Szulik, has written in response to a recent interview with Ellison in which Ellison suggested the company would be interested in distributing and supporting Linux. "Is it possible that the dominant provider of databases feels pressure from its long-time partner, Red Hat, because of our recent purchase of an open source middleware company, JBoss?" Szulik asked, although he also played down suggestions of a "showdown" between the two companies."

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Nothing to worry about? (0)

crazyjeremy (857410) | more than 8 years ago | (#15189387)

Red Hat / JBoss has all kinds of geeky cool stuff and have fully reached the open source community, but could Oracle be in any serious risk?

From the article:

"Oracle generates more interest income than Red Hat generates in annual revenues and Red Hat's planned acquisition has little to do with future strategies to enter an already commoditized database market,"

Re:Nothing to worry about? (1, Interesting)

baldass_newbie (136609) | more than 8 years ago | (#15189420)

Really, Oracle is the second biggest tech company in the world while Red Hat, er, uh, makes a Linux distro.
Compared to JD Edwards or PeopleSoft, a pure RH acquisition by Larry would go faster than the could order his second Mamosa for breakfast.

I love when folks try to stir tech controversy that isn't there, like Apple threatening desktop share or OpenOffice beating Microsoft Office in features.
Cute, but totally misses the point.

Re:Nothing to worry about? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15189543)

What does this have to do with Apple products, such as Macintosh, which is the REAL focus of this technology web site? Oracle is teh ghey since my Birkenstocks are much more relevant to my dream life than icky database drivel could ever be.

Re:Nothing to worry about? (2, Funny)

2names (531755) | more than 8 years ago | (#15189999)

Eh Hem...

It's Mimosa, and they are served with Brunch, you ghastly heathen. :)

Re:Nothing to worry about? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15190801)

You can't compare prorietary software companies with free software companies by size.

Not where I work. (1)

Bender Unit 22 (216955) | more than 8 years ago | (#15190936)

If we could not run Oracle on Redhat(=no support), we would rather choose another OS. The decision to drop Oracle would not be based on OS. All Red Hat are doing are making it more difficult to get Linux inside.
Now luckily it does not matter much to me because we use SUSE for webservers, databases, SAP etc.

Link to the actual letter. (5, Interesting)

Whiney Mac Fanboy (963289) | more than 8 years ago | (#15189393)

If anyone feels like reading the actual letter Szulik sent to the Financial Times, they can read it here. [ft.com]

There is also a no-reg-required mirror [zoss.org.zw] at the zimbabwe open source software society.

The most intersting part of the letter is where szulik puts a new twist on the (always perfect) car / computer analogy
I have a much better appreciation of the challenges the Japanese carmakers faced when attempting to break into the domestic US market while competing against historical industry practices and the personal networks that stood in the way of customers having access to a lower-cost, higher-value alternative. Open source software and Red Hat continue to face similar challenges. But in the end, through innovation and a commitment to the customer, the Japanese automakers delivered choice to the customer. The US automotive industry is a good case study, in comparison to the state of the domestic US software industry.
Well put.

Re:Link to the actual letter. (1)

moro_666 (414422) | more than 8 years ago | (#15189523)

i don't think that the car analogy matches here.

  very many of todays projects are today started on linux/jboss combo just because of the low startup cost. if the project becomes massive, it will become cheaper to have oracle than maintaining an complicated jboss combination with many dependancies from different software producers.

  i don't even see these products in the same league, redhat+jboss isn't really comparable with oracle if you take a look deeper what oracle has to offer. sure it's expensive, but it also does things that aren't that simple in big&complicated solutions. ofcourse for little tasks it's very very much the other way around.

  it's not like comparing a little and a big car. it's like comparing a common trucking service versus DHL. with some help from external companies the trucking service can definitely do the same thing, but the cost to run and cost to develope raises exponentially while DHL can keep it reasonable and more controlled.

  this is just my opinion, you are free to disagree.

i avoid oracle on every step that i can, i'm not trying to build a telecom here
 

cars (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15190047)

The amazing breakthrough with japanese cars in the US came about from an industry practice known as dumping. They sold very well engineered cars and trucks below the cost of production for several years. They were bargains. They worked well and got good mileage, grabbed some customer loyalty and mindshare, because they were right there when the opec embargomade high mileage a priority over large horsepower.. So we'll never know if they would have been as successful if they had been priced to try and turn a profit from the beginning. This is similar to when the hybrids first came out, they were selling below cost. The japanese were pretty smart in that regard. they also make US makers jump through a LOT more hoops trying to get their products into japan, for a long time it worked out to close to a 100% tariff.

None of that negates both US car company management and labor both constantly shooting themselves in the foot, but it is a prime factor in the consideration of how the market got altered.

Re:Link to the actual letter. (1)

bigpicture (939772) | more than 8 years ago | (#15201588)

The Japanese auto manufacturer analogy is very good, for those of us old enough to remember. Their first auto import efforts were absolute garbage, a kind of laughable joke, when compared to the North American autos.

But along came an oil shortage and high gas prices, and coupled with the "continuous improvement" cycles of the Japanese auto manufacturers, in a matter of years they had arguably a better product than the domestic autos. Wooing the customer with things like no argument warranty also got them market share.

Reminds me of an IBM training course I took several years back. The general theme was that no company will be able to differentiate themselves in the market on a price or quality basis in the future, because of the relatively short periods that they can hold a price or quality advantage. So their contention was make the best and competitively priced products, but compete on customer service, and that will be your competitive edge. "delight your customer" was the slogan.

What a comoditized market means. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15189423)

It means that the price of the goods moves to the marginal cost of production. For open source software, that marginal cost of production is zero.

Oracle's biggest product is a high end database. As the performance of its open source competitors improves, that means there is less and less room for Oracle. In other words, Oracle gets chased up-market. Eventually it ceases to exist.

Re:What a comoditized market means. (1)

KarmaMB84 (743001) | more than 8 years ago | (#15189527)

Didn't you just describe what unfair competition means? ;p

Re:What a comoditized market means. (1)

Decaff (42676) | more than 8 years ago | (#15189994)

Oracle's biggest product is a high end database. As the performance of its open source competitors improves, that means there is less and less room for Oracle. In other words, Oracle gets chased up-market. Eventually it ceases to exist.

Flawed logic. What happens is that the demands of the high-end continually increase, and the performance of both open source competitors and Oracle improve at the same time. Oracle retains its margin. The things that oracle's database can cope with are awesome. I have heard of uses which involve tables consisting of thousands of columns, not merely thousands of rows. Sorry, but I really don't see PostgreSQL or MySQL dealing with this sort of demand in the near future.

Re:What a comoditized market means. (1)

SwashbucklingCowboy (727629) | more than 8 years ago | (#15190374)

You're both partially correct. While the high-end does increase as you say, it typically does it not increase linearly. Thus, the number of users that something like MySQL or PostgreSQL can satisfy will grow more quickly than the those that need or even want high-end features. This will leave an ever dwindling number of users whose needs Oracle can uniquely satisfy.

Re:What a comoditized market means. (1)

Decaff (42676) | more than 8 years ago | (#15190504)

You're both partially correct. While the high-end does increase as you say, it typically does it not increase linearly. Thus, the number of users that something like MySQL or PostgreSQL can satisfy will grow more quickly than the those that need or even want high-end features. This will leave an ever dwindling number of users whose needs Oracle can uniquely satisfy.

What evidence do you have that it increases in a particular manner?

Sorry, but I just don't believe the 'ever dwindling' argument. It seems to me to come from people who generally don't understand the requirements of serious commercial software. I really like postgresql, and use it a lot, but there comes a time (when I want very high uptime and garanteed commercial support) that I switch my applications to Oracle, or some equivalent. The price of these databases is insignificant compared with the potential costs if the application failed.

Re:What a comoditized market means. (1)

SwashbucklingCowboy (727629) | more than 8 years ago | (#15192232)

What evidence do you have that it increases in a particular manner?

A couple of examples:

  1. Look at the number of people who are still using Microsoft Office 97. Why don't they upgrade when "better" versions are available? Because the version they have fulfills their needs.
  2. Similarly, the number of companies still using Exchange 5.5 is staggeringly high. Why haven't they upgraded? Because the version they have fulfills their needs.

There will always be some customers that want/need faster/better, but rarely can you build a $13 billion (Oracle's revenues last year) company on them.

Re:What a comoditized market means. (1)

Decaff (42676) | more than 8 years ago | (#15192287)

A couple of examples:

      1. Look at the number of people who are still using Microsoft Office 97. Why don't they upgrade when "better" versions are available? Because the version they have fulfills their needs.
      2. Similarly, the number of companies still using Exchange 5.5 is staggeringly high. Why haven't they upgraded? Because the version they have fulfills their needs.

There will always be some customers that want/need faster/better, but rarely can you build a $13 billion (Oracle's revenues last year) company on them.


These aren't the same type of market at all. Take the example of Office 97 - people aren't typing orders of magnitudes faster than 10 years ago, so there is no major need for increased functionality in terms of word processing. However, consider something like banking. We have moved from mass use of cheques and transactions at local branches to real-time 24-hour on-line banking. The demands on servers and databases has increased by orders of magnitudes. There are plenty of other examples where IT customers need faster and better.

Re:What a comoditized market means. (1)

SwashbucklingCowboy (727629) | more than 8 years ago | (#15194248)

Thanks for agreeing with me ;-)

Re:What a comoditized market means. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15190412)

"Sorry, but I really don't see PostgreSQL or MySQL dealing with this sort of demand in the near future."

Ahll be back...

Re:What a comoditized market means. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15192974)

> thousands of columns

Sounds like a bad (or compromised for performance) database design.

(not a guru but I can speak as ex oracle corp developer, trainer and consultant)

Re:What a comoditized market means. (1)

utlemming (654269) | more than 8 years ago | (#15190635)

However, Open Source databases are not nearly as feature rich as Oracle Databases. For example, the PL/SQL language is very attractive and makes Oracle look good just because of what you can do with it. Oracle also has some very useful and powerful functions and procedures that MySQL doesn't have like synnonyms, native Java support, role privelages, dedicated web server, and XML support to name a few.

So the real question is whether or not open source can innovate fast enough and provide people with an incentive to switch. For example, if a shop is relying on PL/SQL scripts are they going to rewrite everything to switch for less functionality when they are using that functionality? Granted MySQL kicks the pants off of Oracle in simple queries, but what about nested correlated subqueries (which, by the way, Oracle is the only DBMS that supports correlated subqueries), or to be fair, a nest subquery that performs several joins? If you need the data, you need the data. Having the data and not being able to get to it, is pretty aggrigavating. Worse is if a solution is chosen that doesn't allow a person to get to it when there is another solution that will.

I am a huge open source fan, but the problem with many of us open source advocates is that we fail to see where open source fails and close source commercial products pick it up. Performance is not everything; don't believe me look to Microsoft. Reliability, scalability, support and accountabilty are important. A large enterprise is going to choose Oracle or SQL Server because if something needs to be fixed FOR THEM they can get it fixed for them quickly and not have to employ someone to fix it or wait for the community to fix it. That is the reason that Redhat is so successful -- they provide the support for open source products.

I would love to see MySQL and PostgreSQL succeed. But the documentation for both sucks pretty bad (generally speaking many open source products have poor documentation). Oracle on the other hand has a ton of documentation. MySQL and PostgreSQL may be just fine for a small and even mid-size shops, but there is a reason why large enterprises don't use them.

Re:What a comoditized market means. (1)

BillAtHRST (848238) | more than 8 years ago | (#15191643)

"the documentation for (MySql and PostresSQL) sucks pretty bad ... Oracle on the other hand has a ton of documentation"

Which also sucks pretty bad, just because there's so much of it (the proverbial "needle in a haystack" problem). Just try to figure out how to use some of the advanced features (e.g., LogMiner) from the Oracle docs. More doesn't necessarily mean better.

Showdown? (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15189467)

Will Larry fucking kill him? Has he done it before, and will he do it again?

Re:Showdown? (1)

sharrestom (531929) | more than 8 years ago | (#15190318)

A Russian MIG and various Gulfstreams modded with weapon stations? Yes, I'd give Oracle odds on a win in a Red Hat Exercise.

Showdown? lol (3, Funny)

Toby The Economist (811138) | more than 8 years ago | (#15189468)

Oracle could swallow Redhat without even needing a context switch.

Re:Showdown? lol (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15190006)

yeah, that's cute. Rate a company by its market cap. by your logic microsoft > everyone.

noob.

Re:Showdown? lol (4, Insightful)

Jason Earl (1894) | more than 8 years ago | (#15191586)

There's a funny thing about market economies. The market produces what people have shown an interest in paying money for. If Oracle were to buy Red Hat with the intention of shutting Red Hat down, then you can basically guarantee that several other "Enterprise" Linux distributions would spring up as if by magic. This is especially true if Oracle paid current market prices for Red Hat. The source code in question would still be available, and there would be a large community looking for a new home.

In the long run Oracle is likely to have the same problems as Sun. Like Sun, Oracle's real problem is that Red Hat offers a software stack that is competitive with Oracle's software stack while maintaining an R&D budget that is a couple orders of magnitude smaller than Oracle's budget. Oracle's size is precisely the problem. As commodity software becomes more and more widespread the ridiculous profit margins that Oracle needs to survive will get harder and harder to produce. Sure, there are lots of Oracle customers that can't really afford to move to a lower cost but less featureful software stack, but Oracle is going to find that an increasing number of its customers are unwilling to pay for features that they don't really need or use. Lots of technical folks get all excited about "Enterprise" software, but in the long run inexpensive commodity software that actually gets used tends to move up the technology stack and crowd out software that relies on the huge profit margins that can be found at the high end of the spectrum. Red Hat's cost structure is designed around taking advantage of the much lower profit margins associated with commodity Free Software. Oracle's cost structure, on the other hand, is designed around the much higher profit margins that Oracle has historically been able to squeeze out of the market. Oracle can pretend that it can compete with Red Hat, but really it can't, not without shedding a lot of its workforce. If Oracle were to lower its workforce so that it was competitive with Red Hat then customers that are currently paying huge margins for Oracle products and services would undoubtedly take their business elsewhere.

Re:Showdown? lol (1)

dodobh (65811) | more than 8 years ago | (#15193575)

Lots of technical folks get all excited about "Enterprise" software, but in the long run inexpensive commodity software that actually gets used

s/technical folks/clueless managers/ [1]

[1] clued managers don't get excited about "enterprise" stuff. They use the best tool for the job, regardless of what the salescritter says.

Windbags (2, Insightful)

Billosaur (927319) | more than 8 years ago | (#15189476)

While not exactly a declaration of hostility, the letter is provocative given the change in relationship between Red Hat and Oracle noted by Goldman Sachs. Ellison had the first words with his statement that "they're not supporting the customers very well," now Szulik has responded.

And so the pissing contest begins. Why? Of what possible use is it? None. Look, Oracle wants in to the Linux market, so it can compete both within the open source arena and have a chance at digging into Microsoft's market share. I've said repeatedly this move is about 5 years overdue. Since it appears Oracle is not interested in Red Hat or Novell (I said appears; never let it be said Ellison couldn't change his mind in a heartbeat), they'll go after someone else, like Ubuntu. This doesn't stand to hurt Red Hat or Novell; any Linux distribution they swallow up is going to end up having its creativity choked off by the bloated development structure that is Oracle.

Move along -- nothing to care about here. We'll see how it pans out in the marketplace when and if Oracle takes the plunge. Sabre rattling at this point is just silly.

Re:Windbags (2, Insightful)

SeeMyNuts! (955740) | more than 8 years ago | (#15189658)

"Of what possible use is it?"

These things at least get decision makers to stop for a moment and have "Oracle" or "Red Hat" enter their thought stream.

Re:Windbags (1)

Bloke down the pub (861787) | more than 8 years ago | (#15189909)

Since it appears Oracle is not interested in Red Hat or Novell (I said appears; never let it be said Ellison couldn't change his mind in a heartbeat), they'll go after someone else, like Ubuntu.

Who says they need to go after anyone? They could simply take the source and fork off of it, like Whitebox and Centos did.

Re:Windbags (0, Redundant)

Hognoxious (631665) | more than 8 years ago | (#15189989)

They could simply take the source and fork off
Fork off yourself!

Re:Windbags (1, Interesting)

TallMatthew (919136) | more than 8 years ago | (#15190774)

Ellison's right. RedHat is horrible at support. Practically useless.

I worked at a company with a large Oracle installation (8xCPU, 12 TB of data) running on RedHat. The machine would freeze every once in a while, requiring a costly reboot. We talked to RedHat who told us we needed to use a program to dump the machine state (there was no core file as the box didn't oops) so they could examine it. There was a way to do this through the serial port, but with 32 GB of memory dumping the machine state would take an eternity. They provided a workaround ... a program that would pass the data over Ethernet. The program didn't work.

We spoke with Oracle, who told us we needed to participate in some joint venture they had with RedHat for Oracle support in order to get high-level engineers. They were actually very nice about it. We did that, and the RedHat crew sat on our ticket for days before insisting there was nothing to do without the system dump that required an application that didn't work. They had nothing else to offer and kept closing our ticket when we tried to reopen it. Abominable.

The problem turned out to be related to a bad device driver for a fiberchannel HBA, but by the time we figured that out, management decided to move the system to AIX.

RedHat is not Linux and Larry knows it.

mysql? (2, Insightful)

NynexNinja (379583) | more than 8 years ago | (#15189477)

I really don't think Redhat or Jboss has anything to do with Oracle or any pressure that might be put on them forcing change in their business. If anything, MySQL is largely responsible for this... When you have a database that a) is faster than Oracle and b) supports all the features of Oracle and c) can be clustered easier than Oracle and best of all d) it does not cost $200,000 per copy. I would be concerned too.. Their market share is fading away. I think Redhat is only referencing this to make themselves feel like part of the game, when in fact I'm not sure that they are even involved in any of this. Does Redhat write database server software? Not the last time I checked...

But who needs SQL at all? (1)

expro (597113) | more than 8 years ago | (#15189485)

Certainly not most people who are using it.

Re:But who needs SQL at all? (1)

KarmaMB84 (743001) | more than 8 years ago | (#15189572)

What am I supposed to use to access my db?

A path? (1)

expro (597113) | more than 8 years ago | (#15192648)

The implication is that most apps that use relational databases don't need them.

Re:But who needs SQL at all? (1)

cant_get_a_good_nick (172131) | more than 8 years ago | (#15192828)

I think mauve has the most RAM....

Re:mysql? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15189573)

You're forgetting that J2EE Application Servers are a big piece of the software-dev economic pie.. JBoss was already a strong contender, but RedHat has the upper hand if they can push an OS & App Server as one integrated package, and presumably for a lot less $ than Oracle. Oracle wants to integrate with an OS to simplify installation. I wouldn't be surprised if they also created a stipped-down free version of their Application Server (like IBM Websphere CE), so that the barrier to entry is low. They can worry about getting money from their customers later.. turning every IT department into an "Oracle shop" results in long-term income.

Re:mysql? (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15189619)

a) No.

b) LOL.

c) Riiiiight.

d) Oracle doesn't cost 200k per copy.

Damn. Quit spewing lies man.

How the hell did this get mod'd +5? Insightful? LOL! Damn troll.

Re:mysql? (2, Insightful)

adolfojp (730818) | more than 8 years ago | (#15189621)

MySQL and Oracle are two different products aimed at two very different markets.

While MySQL will be more than enough for many uses, there are some situations where using it instead of something like Oracle is irresponsible, if not downright criminal.

Saying that MySQL can compete with Oracle in terms of speed, features, and clustering capabilities is an argument that is not grounded in reality.

Re:mysql? (4, Interesting)

fireboy1919 (257783) | more than 8 years ago | (#15189639)

Umm...nobody who uses databases ever claims B). On the constrary: MySQL has less features than most of the database engines out there.

However, nobody cares about most of the extra features. So let's change B) to: supports all of the features of Oracle that most people care about

Did you know that Oracle comes with something to do a text search on almost any document type, including those accessible through URLs? And that you can do fuzzy searches based on that, and that the database can learn to give better results via an expert system? It's a pretty nice search engine. Does MySQL come with a search engine?

Also, if I've said it once, I've said it a million times: don't exaggerate. The personal use version is free, and Oracle is $5k per copy for the one-processor, coarse-grained security model. The high-end one for clustering that you seem to be thinking of is $40k, not $200k.

My guess is that the market share of stupid people who buy Oracle when all they need is MySQL is dying. However, there really are people who want to do extremely sophisticated stuff that only Oracle is providing. Oracle's real up-and-coming competition for their real market is Google, I think.

If Google will do all the indexing and does a better job of managing your data without you having to even configure it, then why should you manage it with Oracle?

Re:mysql? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15190027)

Perhaps you should have looked at a recent Oracle quote...for any system less than 4 CPU's the cost is 50K per CPU. For any system with "the ability to run" more then 4 CPU's it is $200K per CPU...looking at the quote right now.....

Re:mysql? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15190188)

From the commercial price list: $40k for the software licence. $8.8k for support.

Nobody actually pays as much as the price list says.

Re:mysql? (1)

Tenareth (17013) | more than 8 years ago | (#15190482)

It's a flat $40k per CPU + additional $20k per CPU if you want cluster (RAC). That's list, but unlike most other companies... while you can get good discounts, it's not unheard of to have multi-billion dollar companies only get 30% discount or so. Though, I've also seen 45% discounts, and of course non-production you can get closer to 80% sometimes.

Maintanence is 22% of purchase cost annually, which is also pretty high industry-wise. That I've never really seen altered, has always been 22%... but it is purchase price, not list... so that's why it is even more worth it to fight for a higher discount... it saves you every year.

It's been that way for a while.. 8i had more "pieces" you had to buy, such as InterMedia (ConTEXT at the time), Partitioning, etc. A lot of that has been thrown into the base product, except Partitioning and RAC.

But yeah, it's expensive. If you are building a 10g cluster on quad AMD systems, the cost of the Oracle will trump the hardware costs by several factors :)

Re:mysql? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15190685)

http://www.oracle.com/corporate/pricing/eplext.pdf [oracle.com]

Nothing that Oracle sells cost $200k per CPU.

Re:mysql? (1)

BadassJesus (939844) | more than 8 years ago | (#15190088)

You can do fulltext searches with MySQL too, you only need to switch to Google-style indexing, and this "dictionary" indexing is so easy to implement and has no rival in performance (like in MSSQL those guys still dont have a clue). As for "fuzzy" logic, in this case you only need to maintain bigger cache and this design grants that everything goes smoothly even on databases with millions of large text entries, the only drawback is space consumption, but in the times of gigabyte hardisks that is not an issue here.

Re:mysql? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15190127)

Sure you can do fulltext searches in MySQL. You only need to throw away transactions.

Re:mysql? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15190631)

Atomicity? Who needs that!

Re:mysql? (1)

fireboy1919 (257783) | more than 8 years ago | (#15191638)

It can fetch and parse webpages, parse doc, pdf, powerpoint, rtf, and about 150 other file formats?

No. And there isn't anything near an expert system front-end on searching in MySQL. It doesn't know file systems, and all it can do is the equivalent of a fuzzy grep to search text. Fuzzy is a relative term, and in this case, I mean more when I say fuzzy than what MySQL does.

Don't get me wrong, though: I currently only use one app that needs Oracle. All the rest are much more highly suited for MySQL.

Re:mysql? (1)

synth7 (311220) | more than 8 years ago | (#15190364)

I work for a mid-sized university, whose primary finance/management package is SCT Banner. The back-end database is hosted on an 8-way Compaq Galaxy System (GS-80) cluster (running VMS... don't ask.) Yes, the licensing costs for Oracle alone approach half a million per year.

That being said, license costs are not the most expensive part of the equation. The developers and DBAs that support these systems are more expensive than the systems themselves.

Yes, software can be pricey, but developers and administrators are even more pricey. I won't say that Oracle is worth every cent, but I will say that the developers and DBAs who are extremely competent with Oracle *are* worth every cent. I've ceased to be surprised how many "large scale critical systems" are so much duct tape and bailing wire to hold them together... and it's the people who support these systems that keep them from imploding messily every quarter.

Google, Oracle address different markets (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15190819)

Oracle's real up-and-coming competition for their real market is Google, I think.

If Google will do all the indexing and does a better job of managing your data without you having to even configure it, then why should you manage it with Oracle?

Impossible. Google handles unstructured data, Oracle handles structured relational data. These are two separate areas and, while in some applications they will appear to compete, a further, more expert examination will reveal that only one is appropriate for a given application. In some cases, both will be used.

Oracle's primary FOSS competitor is PostGreSQL, which has many, if not most, of the features you list for Oracle.

Re:mysql? (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15189748)

Idiot.

Re:mysql? (1)

snero3 (610114) | more than 8 years ago | (#15189760)

When you have a database that a) is faster than Oracle and b) supports all the features of Oracle and c) can be clustered easier than Oracle and best of all d) it does not cost $200,000 per copy

I think out of all of those reasons it is d) is the one making more than 90% of the impact on oracle's business.

Most companies are starting to realize that they don't need the 5 million features that oracle offers (and charges for). So they are looking around for something cheaper/easier to manage etc... Hell look at the number of "cut down" versions/licenses of oracle you can get now (person, standard, standard one, named user etc...). Oracle like SUN before it is starting to lose the market from the bottom up.

Re:mysql? (1)

theborg1of4 (863815) | more than 8 years ago | (#15190643)

I think out of all of those reasons it is d) is the one making more than 90% of the impact on oracle's business.

Gosh, I'll say - if it in fact costs that much. Oops, it rarely does - a quick check of Oracle's web site could have refuted the original claim.

Most companies are starting to realize that they don't need the 5 million features that oracle offers (and charges for).

It's fascinating to see this line of reasoning. I have two counterpoints:

1) Have you noticed that MySQL is striving to include more and more of those seemingly unecessary features with each new release? So as MySQL approaches more and more of the functionality of an Oracle or a SQL Server, will you start to fault it as well? Will you then look towards the next underdog relational database solution that only implements a few features?

2) The fact that a single customer may not need all the features of a product should not be translated to mean that the product has "too many features". A person that extrapolates the scope of their own personal use of a product on the entire population is a little narrow-minded. A thousand different users might each only use a small subset of a tool's functions - but each could use different subsets. Furthermore, a customer that might not need a feature today might in fact need it tomorrow; not having the foresight to realize that could be rather expensive if the alternative is switching from product to product as each new feature requirement rears its ugly head.

Mod parent up +5 Funny! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15189838)

supports all the features of Oracle

Dude, I haven't laughed that much in months! Good joke :p

Or perhaps you're yet another one of those MySQL fanboys that drank a little too much of their koolaid. You badly need a reality check. (whoever modded that up insightful clearly doesn't know better either)

a) NOT so! MySQL might be faster for apps where there are few writes and that the queries are simple and the load not huge. But as your queries get more complex (and get tuned by qualified people), running on serious hardware and such, real DBs just slaughter MySQL in terms of execution speed (be it Oracle, Sybase, MS SQL, PostgreSQL or DB2). That's a typical ignorant MySQL fanboy argument, which only shows how little you know about DBs in general.

b) That's like the most ridiculous statement I've heard this year. MySQL is *NOWHERE NEAR* serious DBs (like those mentionned in point a). Not even a blip on the radar. Unless you meant features like "don't throw errors, just accept invalid data and mangle it"? Then indeed it might even be leading. That and some of the worst proprietary SQL usef by any DB.

c) How cares? If installing windows is easier than linux (I'm not saying it is), does that make it a better OS or something? Didn't think so either. The places that need clustering usually have tons of data (and can't tolerate MySQL mangling it) and are big places that can afford to hire a consultant to make it happen if they wanted to or lack the experience or whatever. And MySQL's "clustering" hardly deserves to even be called that, i mean, the whole thing's gotta fit in memory! (well, I guess I gotta get myself some motherboards that'll take hundreds of GBs of RAM!) It's a monumental joke.

d) Yes, Oracle is expensive, BUT, in some cases it's the only thing that'll work, or the price is just not much of a consideration, or it'll end up being cheaper despite the large licensing fees as it'll perform better or such (licensing fee is only a small part of the TCO figures or performance/price ratios). And there are more alternatives than just Oracle or MySQL (again, DB2, MS SQL, Sybase, etc). Quite frankly, MySQL is one of the DBs I'd pick last for most projects I've worked onto.

Oracle's market is somewhat fading away, as OSS and free DBs are catching up slowly, and some people realize they don't need Oracle's best and can get by with something cheaper. But MySQL isn't the answer to everything/as good as Oracle/isn't perfect/whatever. I don't know what will happen in the future (about InnoDB), but they still have a looooooooooooong way to go to be a real "corp grade" DB. Their future seems rather uncertain...

And RedHat isn't involved in DB servers, but they are getting involved in app servers, and Oracle already is - that's what they're not liking much (even mentionned in the summary)

Re:mysql? (0, Offtopic)

NineNine (235196) | more than 8 years ago | (#15189897)

+5 Troll. The whole thing. Yor entire post, is 100% Troll. That's pretty damn awesome.

Re:mysql? (2, Interesting)

kpharmer (452893) | more than 8 years ago | (#15190427)

Ugh, you're unfortunately wrong on just about every account:

> a) is faster than Oracle

The only situation that mysql can beat oracle in is probably highly-indexed read-mostly content management use with its caching front-end. In reporting read-only environments mysql's lack of parallelism & partitioning means that Oracle can easily be *40x* the speed of mysql.

> b) supports all the features of Oracle

Don't even know where to start on this one. MySQL doesn't even support all the features of Postgresql yet, let alone Oracle. Of course, that's ok - nobody says that it needs to support all of the features. But it doesn't, and that means that there are plenty of uses for oracle that won't work well for MySQL. For example: financial auditing regulations and increasing government security requirements are driving quite a bit of features in oracle. It has extensive capabilities here that are completely missing in mysql. That are required for many applications in these industries.

> can be clustered easier than Oracle

wait, you mean to compare the mysql cluster that requires all data to fit into memory with Oracle RAC? Well, sure - Oracle's cluster set up is more complex. Then again it solves general real-world problems of uptime with zero data loss. The MySQL solution is only useful for a small niche of databases (tiny data volumes that can afford to lose data).

> it does not cost $200,000 per copy

yeah, neither does Oracle. Which can be free for small databases, can cost a few thousand for something a little bigger, can cost what? $32-40k list / CPU at the high-side. And probably $60k/CPU if you want some additional features. Sure that's a ton of cash, but that's list - with frequent 50% discounts and isn't $200,000 / copy.

> If anything, MySQL is largely responsible for this

No, i think jboss is responsible for this. It will compete directly with oracle application servers.

> Their market share is fading away.

Yeah, eventually. Eventually, Postgresql/MySQL/etc will be fast enough, have enough features, secure enough, etc. By that time Postgresql will still be free, who know's what the mysql licensing will look like. Or what storage engine they'll be migrating users to, or if oracle will own them.

Re:mysql? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15190796)

MySQL ... supports all the features of Oracle

That is so off the mark it's not even wrong.

Re:mysql? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15194313)

a) & b) : you must be joking. or you've never worked with a 'real' database (i.e. terabytes of data). c) : you've read it on Slashdot last week so you think it works. d) : There is a cost for all this technology. Oracle is lightyears ahead of the game. In fact, it's not so much *how far* ahead they are, it's the fact that these OSS DBs will never rival with the Oracle ARCHITECTURE. Finally, people thinking that the RedHat acquisition of JBoss is huge are sadly mistaken: JBoss is a toy, and it doesn't do anything for RedHat in the long term: it's a Java product, the JBoss team is a bunch of pompous assholes. The day Marc Fleury gets pissed off, JBoss is over. RedHat will dump this turd faster than you can recompile the Linux kernel. Good day.

Market Share (1)

Stu Charlton (1311) | more than 8 years ago | (#15201640)

"Their market share is fading away."

Firstly, that's just not true by any stretch of the imagination. Oracle makes more money than RedHat's , Boss, or MySQL's combined annual revenue in a matter of HOURS.

Let's also recognize that "market" implies economic exchange. Share of market is $revenue$, not merely downloads or usage. If everyone runs an unsupported copy of MySQL, it doesn't really hurt Oracle too much in the short run, as there's no money to be made there, and it's not Oracle's target market. It hurts them in the long run due to a shrinkage of the market due to commoditization.

Having said this, a Relational Database is much, much more complex than an operating system, and it's going to be at least another decade before it's close to commodity / unsupported status.

Open source's advantage is not in eating market share (which would take around 20 years, at best). It's in shrinking the size of the market by eliminating license revenue, and reyling mostly on marketing (not a salesforce) to drive subscription revenue. It's unclear if that's a sustainable business model, but it's the one that most vendors seem to be adopting (MySQL, JBoss, RedHat, etc.)

Linux Business? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15189511)

"his company could move into the Linux business"

Uh, every company on the planet is 'moving into the Linux business'.*

* Except Microsoft and Apple(who wish this whole Linux silliness would just go away and people go back to paying a lot of money for their OSes)

Everything old is new again (4, Interesting)

vallee (2192) | more than 8 years ago | (#15189540)

The thing is, this affair of Oracle considering entering the Linux support arena and even shipping its own Linux distro is not new. Not even close.

It dates from 1998, during the initial launch of Oracle 8i. Since then, and arguably for even longer, Oracle has had a consistent strategy of undermining the role of the operating system by taking on more and more of the critical duties into its own code base. Linux plays into this strategy marvelously well. Except, here's the rub. Redhat is not interested in the furtherance of this agenda. Redhat wants the operating system to remain a key part of the enterprise IT infrastructure.

I wrote an interesting article on my blog [pythian.com] titled "Oracle & Linux, Ancient History" on this subject last week, and the article links to the web archive of my original post about Oracle and Linux and Oracle's strategy to undermine the OS from 1998. The original article's title was "Why Oracle 8i Will Remodel the OS Landscape" and ultimately what we're seeing now in the tension between Oracle and Redhat is the materialization of Oracle's vision of the operating systems' role chafing on its longstanding partner.

Cheers,
Paul
P.S. Pythian DBAs post on our group blog at http://www.pythian.com/blogs/ [pythian.com] .

Re:Everything old is new again (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15189589)

I wrote an interesting article on my blog titled "Oracle & Linux, Ancient History" on this subject last week, and the article links to the web archive of my original post about Oracle and Linux and Oracle's strategy to undermine the OS from 1998.

    Interesting, and humble!

Re:Everything old is new again (1)

alienmole (15522) | more than 8 years ago | (#15190308)

Even if he does say so himself!

Good idea for Oracle (4, Interesting)

Bert64 (520050) | more than 8 years ago | (#15189571)

It would make a lot of sense for Oracle to produce a complete dedicated package that didn't require an OS already be installed. Most Oracle database systems are dedicated machines anyway, so having the entire package supported by a single vendor instead does make a lot of sense. No more Database vendor blaming the OS vendor :)

Re:Good idea for Oracle (3, Insightful)

WinterSolstice (223271) | more than 8 years ago | (#15189609)

That'd be nice, except that with IBM DB2 on IBM AIX running on IBM RS/6000 systems, they still point fingers. I have repeatedly been forced (as a customer) to make different divisions within IBM talk to each other. It would seem to be good, but it really is almost the same.

-WS

Re:Good idea for Oracle (1)

hackstraw (262471) | more than 8 years ago | (#15192033)

I have repeatedly been forced (as a customer) to make different divisions within IBM talk to each other. It would seem to be good, but it really is almost the same.

That is consistent with my limited experience with IBM hardware and software. IBM is so huge that nobody there knows more than 0.00001% of what is going on. This may have changed from November of 2000 when I first and last dealt with them, but that was only an install of a project that didn't go much further than an install. The install was rough, getting our apps running in Websphere, never really happened because the project failed before it ever really took off.

As an earlier slashdot article mentioned, Oracle is/was looking at buying Novell and Suse. And it would seem logical for Oracle to ship a bootable DVD that had Oracle and Linux already there for a particular platform. I've been looking for such a product for years.

Yes, a good sized Oracle DB is going to be on a dedicated box, that hopefully is comfortably housed on a private network and shielded from the net via a firewall.

Oracle is very demanding of an OS and hardware as well.

If I were as large as Oracle, I would have already either partnered or bought an OS and shipped the thing as an integrated product.

These things are becoming more ubiquitous with things like managed routers, printers with OSes on them, DVRs, consumer level firewall/NAT boxes, etc.

A DB/OS combo would probably be a very viable product. The only opposition would be from I guess people that believe that Windows/Solaris/insert OS of choice here is better, more compatible, or whatever than whatever Oracle chose as its OS. Its still possible, and probably a good idea for them to still sell a 3rd party add on DB like they do now for a host of OSes, but an integrated DB and OS would be welcome by me, and I'm sure a couple of others in the world.

Re:Good idea for Oracle (1)

Bert64 (520050) | more than 8 years ago | (#15223894)

However, IBM produce an AIX as a standalone OS, Oracle would be providing an OS for the sole purpose of hosting their database and appservers etc, therefore it's likely to be designed around and supported by the same group of people.

Re:Good idea for Oracle (3, Interesting)

DavidpFitz (136265) | more than 8 years ago | (#15189642)

It would make a lot of sense for Oracle to produce a complete dedicated package that didn't require an OS already be installed. Most Oracle database systems are dedicated machines anyway, so having the entire package supported by a single vendor instead does make a lot of sense. No more Database vendor blaming the OS vendor :)
Funnily enough, Oracle did this with the Oracle Appliance [google.com] for 8i and 9i. They never made an Oracle 10g appliance. It was exactly as you outline above - it's a preconfigured software stack to run Oracle. Everything already set up in a basic form. Made life very easy when needing to test a DB agnostic app against Oracle.

Oracle have since removed reference to it from their site.

Re:Good idea for Oracle (1)

MeepMeep (111932) | more than 8 years ago | (#15194166)

Funnily enough, Oracle did this with the Oracle Appliance for 8i and 9i. They never made an Oracle 10g appliance. It was exactly as you outline above - it's a preconfigured software stack to run Oracle. Everything already set up in a basic form. Made life very easy when needing to test a DB agnostic app against Oracle.

Oracle have since removed reference to it from their site.


Any speculation as to why they stopped developing it? (or am I missing something?)

Re:Good idea for Oracle (2, Interesting)

P3NIS_CLEAVER (860022) | more than 8 years ago | (#15190476)

I would agree 100%. I think linux distros will just be another tool that enterprise vendors will be obligated to provide as part of their whole solutions.
I wouldn't be suprised if Microsoft does this to remain competative.

Sheesh... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15189575)

These words sound like Red Hat is desperate to pull a SCO...

But that can't be... I hope...

Dear Larry Ellison (1, Funny)

layer3switch (783864) | more than 8 years ago | (#15189588)

You know, JBoss is still an open source and free (LGPL'd) just like innoDB. So you could still use it in your Oracle product.

Now, that's a consultant fee. Send me my check to my address.

Yours truely screwed by Oracle consultants,

Re:Dear Larry Ellison (1)

aquatone282 (905179) | more than 8 years ago | (#15190309)

Make sure you charge them a proper consulting rate [dba-oracle.com] , or they won't think they're getting their money's worth. . .

Just comments on other people's affairs (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15189796)

It is common now for everyone and their matter to comment on other people's affairs? And how exactly is this slashdot-newsworthy?
Nothing really was interesting. Looks like some kind of artifical playup from the "news magazines" - RedHat VS Oracle, round 1, or some shit.

In china a sack of rice was dropped from a truck; all of them 123.665 rice corns survived.

Linux Success Puts It in Oracle's Crosshairs (1)

frohsinn (863955) | more than 8 years ago | (#15189976)

There is a simple thesis/antithesis/synthesis process at work. The success of Linux is creating forces that oppose its own further success.

Already last fall, one might theorize that Oracle Corp. had decided it had been feeding Linux enough, and that it should start watering some other ecosystems:

Oracle Selects Solaris as preferred OS [oracle.com]

Re:Linux Success Puts It in Oracle's Crosshairs (2, Insightful)

PCM2 (4486) | more than 8 years ago | (#15191098)

Already last fall, one might theorize that Oracle Corp. had decided it had been feeding Linux enough, and that it should start watering some other ecosystems: Oracle Selects Solaris as preferred OS
Oh please, that was so obviously a bone thrown to Sun. I'm sure it was not done without some consideration given by Sun to Oracle. Plus, it's easy to announce that Solaris is your preferred OS when ... well ... Solaris is your preferred OS. The market for Oracle boxes running on Linux is growing rapidly and may overtake those running Solaris in the near future, but it hasn't yet. More people still run Oracle on Solaris than any other OS, last I heard.

What does Oracle want and what does Oracle need? (2, Insightful)

ahmusch (777177) | more than 8 years ago | (#15190614)

Oracle wants an OS that runs on commodity (x86) hardware, so that it can publish a virtual machine with Oracle preconfigured. (Reference the Oracle appliance of days of yore.)

Why?

Because virtualization is hot in databases. Having lots of servers spinning idle that you may need (and paying Oracle for the privilege) is costly, and Larry sees market share, well, if not eroding, then certainly being nibbled at. By shipping a distro with Oracle preconfigured, he:

1. Shows a commitment to his customers for a lower TCO. (Remember, the amount of time the IT staff spends installing and working through issues with the software stack counts.)
2. Punches SQL Server in the mouth.
3. Takes more control of his destiny by being able to more effectively tune the OS for database tasks, yielding better performance and price-performance in things like TPC-C and TPC-H.

Oracle needs to use a Linux distro that has traction within the data center, and in the US, that's either Novell (SuSE) or Red Hat. Those are the only distros officially supported by Oracle now, which probably helps to explain their traction within the data center.

Oracle will buy one. It's just a matter of which one.

And if I were RedHat's CEO, I'd be really careful pissing off Larry. It's not like Larry's afraid to, I don't know, buy your company so he can fire your ass. *cough*Siebel*cough*

Lemonade stand against Jane Bryant (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15190974)



Redhat v Oracle is like a lemonade stand against Jane Bryant and the Florida citrus growers.

Who cares about Red Hat right now? (0, Troll)

Builder (103701) | more than 8 years ago | (#15191056)

As long as they are backing restrictive IP legislation, Red Hat do not have my support in any form.
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