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Software giant Oracle has kicked off its annual OpenWorld conference in San Francisco with a big keynote speech by CEO Larry Ellison, during which... Oracle Openworld New Hardware, Faster Databases

Software giant Oracle has kicked off its annual OpenWorld conference in San Francisco with a big keynote speech by CEO Larry Ellison, during which he said the company has significantly boosted the speed at which its databases can run.

In a 90-minute presentation, Ellison went on considerably about how Oracle has changed to “in-memory” technology to speed up systems by as much as 100 times the databases that are the building blocks of the company’s business. “Things that used to take hours can now be done in seconds,” he said.  Ellison also announced new Oracle hardware products, including an appliance for backing up databases, and new systems based on a new generation of the SPARC processor known as the M6. The systems can support up to 32 terabytes of DRAM memory, allowing them to run entire applications in memory!


Ellison appeared in an especially good mood, no doubt due to the Oracle Team USA winning its two America’s Cup races, forcing a 13th day of competition.  Usually Ellison slams the competition but did little of that, though he did poke IBM a couple of times. However, that did not prevent Oracle’s competitors from having rebuttal statements ready.

“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 said in an emailed statement. SAP is in competition with Oracle in the area of business software and has recently also added in-memory products known as HANA.

Ellison continued to criticize the conventional wisdom of building data centers around commodity hardware. “If you look at where data centers are going, everyone seems to want to buy Intel-based servers running virtualized Linux and core Ethernet. The conventional wisdom says that it’s cheap and good for anything…It is cheap but it is not good for everything,” he said.  He argued that specialized hardware like Oracle’s Exa line can be combined with the commodity materials for running specific applications, and doing so would yield some advantages.  “We think by designing the hardware and software together you get extreme performance and therefore you need fewer of them, and you spend less buying them. You use less floor space and less electricity running it. And you use less labour maintaining them,” he said.

Oracle has generally been struggling with the hardware business it acquired from Sun Microsystems back in 2010. Its commodity hardware business has been declining, while its new engineered systems lines, the Exa family of products, have not grown fast enough to replace slowing sales harware.

[Image via: siliconangle]