Oracle’s Big Show Will Be BEA’s Coming Out Party

Larry Ellison

CEO Larry Ellison

Olympic swimming champion Michael Phelps will pop in to Oracle OpenWorld 2008, but the emphasis will be on BEA, BEA, and BEA all the way. The conference will be held at the Moscone Conference Center in San Francisco today through Thursday.

The emphasis will be on BEA because its middleware products are key to Oracle’s Oracle’s service oriented architecture strategy and middleware is Oracle’s fastest growing business segment, as CEO Larry Ellison pointed out during the company’s first quarter FY 2009 earnings call last week. Oh, and also because BEA customers are still nervous about Oracle’s plans since it bought BEA for $8.5 billion in January

Tied into BEA is Oracle 11g, Oracle’s first release of its Web and SOA platforms. The next major upgrade of 11g, scheduled for release by end May 2009, will incorporate several features from BEA, and Oracle co-president Charles Phillips said at the first quarter earnings call that the company will unveil several 11g updates to its database at Oracle OpenWorld 2008.

Oracle(NASDAQ: ORCL), now billing itself as “the information company”, will also push into information management, going head to head with IBM’s (NYSE: IBM) Information on Demand (IOD) strategy, which tackles how companies store, organize, retrieve and visualize data. IBM acquired business intelligence vendor Cognos for $5 billion in February to boost its IOD efforts.

Highlighting Oracle’s drive into information management, senior vice president for Oracle Fusion Middleware, Thomas Kurian, will give a keynote speech titled Your Information @ Work at Oracle OpenWorld 2008 on Tuesday.

The foundation of Oracle’s SOA strategy

Although Oracle has publicly declared that BEA will form the foundation of its SOA strategy, it has also been hedging its bets with respect to integrated development environments (IDEs) . It is supporting both BEA’s open source Eclipse-based Workshop and its own JDeveloper, and BEA customers are reported to be concerned. Oracle’s stand is that it is giving customers a choice.

One other area of interest will be Oracle’s Green Program. Yes, every vendor claims it’s going green, but Oracle has some serious chops here. With 84,000 employees worldwide, 32,000 servers, six petabytes of storage, it had more than 40 datacenters, which it consolidated to three purely to keep costs down.

Then it launched a virtualization initiative that increased CPU utilization from seven percent to 73 percent, and slashed the amount of hardware needed so it is now using one-sixth as much hardware as it would have before virtualization. It also standardized its networks, processes and applications globally.

The result was that profitability jumped. Profit margins increased 15 points, and the consolidation contributed to Oracle’s 20 percent compound growth rates in each of the past five years, company Chief Information Officer Mark Sunday said at the Next Generation Data center conference, held last month in San Francisco.

Oracle OpenWorld 2008 will see an army of 43,000 descending on San Francisco, whose Municipal Transportation Agency (MTA) shut down Howard Street, which runs by the Moscone Convention center, from last Thursday (Sept. 18) through September 26 for preparation and cleanup, and is rerouting traffic from surrounding streets.

Various other city agencies and departments, including the San Francisco Fire and Police Departments and the Department of Public works, are working together in a committee to manage the city for the duration of the conference, MTA spokesperson Kristen Holland told

Check back for further coverage of the conference this week.

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