This Editor is once again attending the Oracle Open World conference here in San Francisco and Supply Chain Matters is publishing impressions throughout the week. As a reference, our prior blog commentaries included:

Highlights of Oracle’s Q1 FY17 financial performance last week

Our initial on-site Commentary One posting

Our Supply Chain Matters Commentary Two posting.

Our Supply Chain Matters Commentary Three posting.

On Tuesday, Oracle icon Larry Ellison delivered his second keynote and he did not disappoint the conference and live online audience regarding grabbing attention. His two key themes for his second keynote were advances in Cloud based database technologies as well as Cloud infrastructure.

Ellison reiterated to the audience that Oracle database technology has transitioned through three major transitions of computing starting with the original RDBMS that ran on Digital Equipment technology, through iterations of client-server and Internet technology, and now a complete transition to the Cloud. By formally announcing Oracle Database 12C Release 2 for the Cloud, Oracle is literally throwing down the gantlet in direct dead-to-head competition with Amazon Web Services (AWS) as well as all other database technology providers. As a means of reference context for many of our supply chain functional readership, AWS is the IT hosting platform service that Amazon provides, and many software technology firms utilize AWS for hosting.

Two of the compelling technology features of this new database application beyond its Cloud native platform is increased support for multi-tenancy, allowing up to 4000 databases to be managed as one.  What that implies is the potential for dramatically lower database maintenance needs as well as increased opportunities for added automation of database management and backup. Ellison flatly declared that this new release should dramatically lower business costs and make database administration far simpler. The other compelling feature is greatly enhanced in-memory capabilities for columnar store along with Active Data Guard services. With the features and functions of this native Cloud Oracle database release, IT teams should have the flexibility to host databases on the Cloud, as well as on premise, with the ability to interchange at any time. The on premise database is claimed to be technically, the exact same as that within the Cloud.  Both will be provided with the data security and encryption capabilities that Oracle claims is industry leading.

Most of Ellison’s remaining keynote was a litany of direct citing of current performance benchmarks of Oracle database performance in response time, transactional and OLTP loads in direct contrast to AWS performance.  He challenged Amazon to respond if they disagreed with Oracle’s analysis.  Tech bluster aside, SAP ERP, supply chain, as well as other best-of-breed software users should focus on the fallout and implications of Oracle’s announcement this week.

From our lens, make no mistake, this will once again change the competitive dynamics and technical performance options for the database market.  With supply chain and product management applications so data and transactional centric, database technology advancements are key enablers.  The market is already benefitting from newer in-memory database performance capabilities and the performance potential now increases. More importantly, Cloud based and enhanced multi-tenancy opens up more profound opportunities for the savings in overall IT hardware and software investment, deployment and ongoing support costs.  Oracle further provides rather strong arguments for not getting locked-in to specific database platforms but rather adopting database technology that can run in any Cloud platform, ERP focused or otherwise.  We therefore urge our functional readers to check-in with your respective IT and database technical support teams to ascertain their viewpoints and perspectives regarding this latest database technology related announcement by Oracle.

The most significant gauntlet of this week’s announcement is whether Oracle with now drive more aggressive overall pricing for its new Cloud based database.  To take advantage of the OpenWorld opportunity, an entry level version of its Cloud database, claimed to have significant technical features was announced as $175 per user. That may be an example of new and more customer friendly approach that Oracle executives declared during OpenWorld but the proof resides with consistent customer application of such practices.

If Oracle does reduce overall pricing in database technology, it will have market-wide implications. From this author’s view, it implies longer-term lowered cost and improved data analysis performance for supply chain planning, sales and operations planning, analytics and more demand-driven analytics needs.

In our next commentary, we will address summary observations and our takeaways from this year’s event.

Stay tuned to our continuing coverage of Oracle OpenWorld 2016.

Bob Ferrari

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