Oracle World Wrap-Up
Oracle’s AppsWorld 2003 user conference morphs into LinuxWorld West as the company touts Linux solutions powering its Oracle Outsourcing offerings
For perhaps the first time ever, Oracle Corp.’s AppsWorld user conference—held this week in San Diego—was overshadowed by LinuxWorld.
But Oracle’s user event was by no means devoid of interest, as the software giant touted the introduction of two new hosted applications services, along with the disclosure of additional products and services designed to help customers more effectively implement its 11i E-business Suite software.
AppsWorld also featured a Linux angle, as Mark Jarvis, Oracle’s senior vice president and chief marketing officer, used the opportunity of his keynote address to “strongly recommend that [customers] take a look at Linux.”
For starters, Jarvis began by acknowledging that only last year—at AppsWorld 2002, in fact—Oracle CEO Larry Ellison had suggested that Linux wasn’t yet ready for mission-critical Oracle deployments.
In a year’s time, he suggested, the situation has changed dramatically: “Not only will Linux lower the cost of your hardware, but it will make your system perform better at the same time.”
To be sure, outsourcing was a hot topic at AppsWorld 2003, but in this respect, as well, Oracle’s outsourcing offerings were promoted with a Linux angle. At this point, Jarvis indicates, “Every single [Oracle Outsourcing] customer is running on Linux Intel systems, all of them identically configured, and configured for best performance. With those outsourcing customers, they’ve also seen a dramatic reduction in the time taken to solve a problem.”
In the three years since Oracle Outsourcing was founded, says Jarvis, customers who host their E-business Suites with Oracle report that they typically see a 40 percent increase in the performance of their applications—to say nothing of the cost advantages. “We believe that outsourcing will not only improve your e-business suite investment, [but] it will also lower the cost of it,” he suggested, citing a 2001 Gartner Inc. study finding IT organizations typically spend as much as 79 percent of their budgets on maintenance of existing systems.
To that end, Oracle unveiled two new outsourcing programs at AppsWorld 2003, Oracle-All-In-One and Oracle e-Business Suite Subscription Edition, each targeting a different customer set.
Oracle All-In-One, for example, is a program whereby Oracle promises to offer customers an exact price for a complete outsourcing solution that includes software licensing, implementation, and hosting costs. “We will take and quote you the exact price of the software, the exact price and the time of the implementation, and exactly how much it will cost to run that software day in and day out, monthly, for the period and life of that software,” Jarvis promised.
Oracle e-Business Suite Subscription Edition, on the other hand, is an initiative designed primarily for small businesses—companies between $10 and $25 million in revenues—and which require only fixed applications. For a monthly subscription fee, Oracle will host a set of inventory management, procurement, or financial applications for these customers. “What it gives you is a fixed set of applications ranging from financial applications through to inventory and a little bit of inventory software…and they come to you via Oracle Outsourcing at a fixed monthly cost.”
The company acknowledges, however, that it will not offer customization options to customers who enroll in this service.
For customers who haven’t been bitten by the outsourcing bug, but who wrestle with integration difficulties of their own, Oracle unveiled 26 new Oracle Business Flow Accelerators that it says can help to reduce implementation times for its E-business Suite by up to 60 percent and implementation costs by up to 30 percent. Business Flow Accelerators are integrated application components designed to enable end-to-end business processes that would otherwise require customized integration.
Also this week, Oracle introduced version 5 of Daily Business Intelligence, an E-business Suite technology that provides customers with a snapshot view of their businesses, including inventory levels, headcount, revenue and expenses, and other key performance metrics. Previous versions of Daily Business Intelligence required IT organizations run their data warehouse as separate from their transactional databases, but Daily Business Intelligence v5 eliminates this requirement. Oracle plans to make the new version of Daily Business Intelligence available to pilot customers in February.
Oracle and EMC Partner for E-business “Clones”
Also at AppsWorld this week, Oracle and EMC Corp. announced a new whitepaper—"Quickly Cloning Oracle Applications Release 11i with EMC TimeFinder and Oracle AutoConfig"—that describes a certified joint best practice for rapidly creating, or cloning, copies of Oracle 11i application environments. The whitepaper is available at http://www.emc.com/partnersalliances/pdfs/h883_interstitial.jsp.
The two companies outlined several scenarios in which IT organizations might want to “clone” their 11i environments, including for the purposes of testing, upgrades, business continuity planning backup and recovery or data warehouse loading, among others.
The joint whitepaper describes a series of steps by which customers can exploit EMC’s TimeFinder backup software—which creates multiple copies of data in a single storage system—along with Oracle’s Automatic System Configuration Utility, to create point-in-time “clones” of their 11i Application environments, both companies said.
Stephen Swoyer is a Nashville, TN-based freelance journalist who writes about technology.