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Oracle Businesses Databases Programming Software Hardware IT

Oracle To Sell Database Hardware 93

qazsedcft writes "In a move the company is billing as its first foray into the hardware business, Oracle Corp. said Wednesday it will begin selling server computers that come with its database software pre-installed."
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Oracle To Sell Database Hardware

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  • No Surprise (Score:5, Interesting)

    by stoolpigeon ( 454276 ) * <bittercode@gmail> on Thursday September 25, 2008 @02:01PM (#25154469) Homepage Journal

    One could now conceivably have a datacenter with Oracle machines, running Oracle OS for Oracle database, Oracle apps and Oracle middleware. This was pretty much the last piece.
    Will everyone buy in? I doubt it - but they can now provide everything a business needs from top to bottom, if that business is so inclined.

    • I run MSSQL/Greatplains on my Xbox farm. I don't see why everyone else doesn't buy in.
    • Re:No Surprise (Score:5, Interesting)

      by _Sharp'r_ ( 649297 ) <sharper@booksun[ ... m ['der' in gap]> on Thursday September 25, 2008 @02:08PM (#25154561) Homepage Journal

      Why wouldn't Oracle just throw in the hardware with the costs of the license?

      Hardware is so cheap and the licenses so expensive that you'd think the sales guy will be on the golf course with the CEO saying, "Tell you what, you buy the unlimited user license for your website for four processors and we'll have our guys build the servers, install the software (really just a drive image) and deliver it ready to go to your datacenter, all for free."

      • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

        by msimm ( 580077 )
        Oracle's always been more a blood/turnip company.
      • Re:No Surprise (Score:5, Informative)

        by cerberusss ( 660701 ) on Thursday September 25, 2008 @03:06PM (#25155457) Homepage Journal

        Why wouldn't Oracle just throw in the hardware with the costs of the license?

        That's pretty funny. Maybe the hardware you use at home is cheap. And maybe you even have a couple of throw-away Supermicros in a datacenter. But the Sun and/or EMC kit that, say, a publisher buys is not cheap. Just a couple of 16-way Sun servers with a decent SAN with backup possibility starts around 250K. After negotiating, that is. Now, you can say that this doesn't matter when your Oracle licenses run up to 2,500K but it still isn't pocket change like you're making it sound like.

        • Re:No Surprise (Score:4, Interesting)

          by Kamokazi ( 1080091 ) on Thursday September 25, 2008 @04:01PM (#25156295)

          That's pretty funny. You don't understand that most of the hardware you just mentioned is considerably cheaper to the manufacturer than what you pay (Aside from some of the stuff in the Sun boxes...but those aren't really necessary for a lot of businesses that would still have uses for Oracle). I would say the majority of the cost is for support and to fatten their wallets. Enterprise-grade anything has insane profit margins.

          SANs are expensive because of the software/firmware that runs the controllers, failovers, etc. The hardware in them is relatively cheap...most of the components are standard, it's just the controller board that gets custom-designed, which is still not an overly expensive process. (SANs use the same chips that are in $1-2k NICs from Alacritech and others, and even cheaper RAID controllers from LSI, etc.)

          Now I don't see making it free, but it would be a good way for them to make it seem like they are giving huge discounts. Take that 40k SAN and cut the cost to 10k and break even. Maybe on lower-end servers it would can easily spec out a throw-away Supermicro for $2k that could handle a hundred or so DB users without flinching.

          • That's pretty funny. You don't understand that most of the hardware you just mentioned [...]

            OK, I get it. Reading back, the tone of my message was condescending. But yes, I understand that the hardware is considerably cheaper to the manufacturer. That's why I mentioned 'after negotiating' because I've seen there's a lot of room for that when buying Sun or EMC equipment (and Oracle licenses for that matter).

            Still my original point stands, and that is that the hardware still is not pocket change compared to the Oracle licensing. Sure, smaller than before. But not what the GP makes it out to be

            • Yeah, agree with you there. Some low-mid stuff they may be able to give it away depending on what they buy, but the big stuff still is worth some dough.
        • The last Oracle licenses I purchased cost $1.5 million and the clustered hardware we ran it on cost less than $100K. I know Oracle has lowered some of their pricing since then, but I think they could still afford a 10% or less "discount" and cover hardware for people.

          Using your numbers, Oracle licenses of $2.5 million and hardware of $250K is still only 10%. They'll give you that just to make their end-of-quarter sales quotas.

          On those $1.5 million Oracle licenses, the "list" was at least 25% higher than wha

    • Will anyone afford it?

    • Re:No Surprise (Score:5, Informative)

      by fm6 ( 162816 ) on Thursday September 25, 2008 @02:22PM (#25154775) Homepage Journal

      RTFA. There's no "Oracle machine." This is a cobranded HP/Oracle product.

      • yea, it's a co-branded product, but unless they're just taking HP servers and slapping an Oracle logo on it, it's still an Oracle machine. i mean, they say they've been working on this product for a while now. unless they just mean business negotiations rather than R&D, then that would imply that this is a new line of hardware distinct from what HP has been selling.

        i guess there really aren't enough details out right now to confirm it either way. the article states that it will fetch data from Oracle da

    • Some PHB will []

    • by ptrace ( 1078855 )
      IBM did this for decades. Hence the term, "IBM Shop".
    • O... O.. O... Ohhhhh.

      I'll bet the board room deliberated this one carefully... LOL

      (Reminds me of the time years ago when one late night at work i called a company to get address information. I hit one extra digit. The something vox system said, "There IS no extention: Two-OH-four." I tried again. Got same response. Tired, antsy, and wanting to go home, I was up for fun and games. I hit -rapidly- something like: 12000000, and she responded, "There IS no extension: One Two OH OH OH OH OH OH OH...." (Eventuall

  • Core business (Score:3, Informative)

    by qoncept ( 599709 ) on Thursday September 25, 2008 @02:04PM (#25154511) Homepage
    I don't see Oracle being successful moving in to areas that aren't it's core business (hardware vs software), especially one that's already saturated. The insurance company makes a lot of acquisitions, and the first step is always unloading everything the new company does that isn't insurance, no matter how profitable they've been.
    • Re:Core business (Score:5, Insightful)

      by eln ( 21727 ) on Thursday September 25, 2008 @02:10PM (#25154593)

      What about all those insurance companies that decided to become investment banks, like AIG? That worked out pretty well, right?

      Seriously though, this could work for people that like to hand over the keys to one company and wipe their hands of the whole mess (a non-trivial number of companies), but any company that likes to handle most of its own IT is probably not going to go for it unless Oracle has come up with a way to optimize the hardware for the Oracle DB that no one else has.

    • Re:Core business (Score:5, Interesting)

      by Red Flayer ( 890720 ) on Thursday September 25, 2008 @02:15PM (#25154671) Journal

      The insurance company makes a lot of acquisitions, and the first step is always unloading everything the new company does that isn't insurance, no matter how profitable they've been.

      Where've you been the past few years? Insurance companies used to be forbidden from operating in certain other areas. Not so anymore... look at Prudential. They have diversified bigtime.

      As for Oracle in particular... this is not an unrelated product. Providing hardware for their software could potentially reduce their support costs significantly. I haven't seen any numbers, and I'm only slightly familiar with Oracle's pricing structure for support, but it seems to me that some of their clientele might prefer one-stop shopping... as they then save money on installation costs.

      So rather tha seeing this as Oracle moving away from their core business, maybe a better perspective would be to think of this as supporting their core business.

      One other thing to note -- Oracle's core business is no longer software, it's services. While the services business is largely dependent on their software offerings, take a look at their recent revenue figures... and take a bigger look at where their projected growth is.

    • Re:Core business (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Shotgun ( 30919 ) on Thursday September 25, 2008 @02:19PM (#25154725)

      Could be that you have a limited view of what their core business is. Is it selling databases? Or, could it be selling database services?

      For a given number of dollars, what is the optimum hardware to run a database? How much memory of what type vs how much/many hard disks? Which OS? Which drivers?

      Selling the hardware will let them present an entire solution that is optimized for the one thing that they want to do...serve data as quickly as possible. The customer is presented with an appliance that will offer the maximum database performance for a given dollar point. Well, at least as optimized as anything can be with an Oracle Database stamp on it.

  • Well, it's gotta be better than installing Oracle yourself.
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by jedidiah ( 1196 )

      Yeah... cause using an InstallShield style GUI wizard installer is "just so hard".

      • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

        by Anonymous Coward
        No, it's the stupid fucking Java-based installer that they insist on using that runs like shit on every system I've ever seen it on, no matter how beefy a box it is. Fuck those fucking fuckers in their fucking asses.
      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        by Colin Smith ( 2679 )

        I can tell you have vast Oracle experience...


        • by jedidiah ( 1196 )

          Perhaps you should update yours.

          Perhaps try something other than Solaris or version 7.

          The issue is not how easy it is to set up the thing
          to melt a hole in the floor or set a new TPC record.

      • Yes, installing Oracle is simple.. You could even install Oracle's E-Business Suite easily. The hard part is configuring it and its even harder to configure it for performance.

        Behind an environment built for performance is network, SAN and OS. If the admins for theses services aren't familiar with your application or databases then chances are its not configured optimally. You wouldn't believe how many arguments I have had with OS and SAN admins who believe that they can use the same generic configurat

      • It's been a while since I installed Oracle (since 9i) but the GUI wizard installer does not increase the maximum number of semaphores, shared memory stuff etc. While it's not so hard, it also isn't clicking next-next-finish.

        • by jedidiah ( 1196 )

          It really depends on the Unix.

          Solaris is stupid about this sort of thing.

          Linux and AIX is not.

          Unless you're going to be running the sort of app where
          a guru of some sort will be needed, you probably won't
          need to do anything but "run the installer" on Linux or

  • Great, now we have a quality product where both software+hardware come from the same source, like Sun's Solaris boxes and Apple's Macs.

  • So this is more like what SecureComputingdoes with their firewalls when they just rebadge off the shelf dell server?

  • The article doesn't give much information. If the objective is just to rebrand Proliants, it's not interesting. If the objective is to create a "database appliance" pre-optimized for Oracle, easy to administer and cluster, that would be a lot more interesting.

  • Actual Information (Score:5, Informative)

    by fm6 ( 162816 ) on Thursday September 25, 2008 @02:15PM (#25154681) Homepage Journal

    It would be nice if submitters took a moment to find some actual information, instead of just submitting the first (usually content free) blurb that they see. A tiny amount of Googling would have turned up this Oracle product page [] with full technical specs.

    It's worth mentioning that this product is not a computer. It's a 42U rack stuffed 8 dbms servers, 14 storage servers, and 4 switches. Which means a lot of low-end 1U servers. Not exactly a lot of computer power. One or two 4U dbms servers and 3 or 4 4U storage servers (like Sun's X4600 and X4500 boxes) would seem more to the point.

    • by More_Cowbell ( 957742 ) * on Thursday September 25, 2008 @03:16PM (#25155613) Journal

      Which means a lot of low-end 1U servers. Not exactly a lot of computer power.

      You could have gone one step further and actually read the specs [] before deriding them...

      8-HP Proliant DL360 G5 database servers, with
      2 quad-core Intel Xeon Processor E5430 (2.66GHz)
      32GB memory
      1-HP InfiniBand Dual Port HCA
      4-146GB SAS 10K hard disk drives
      4-24-port InfiniBand switches

      14-HP Exadata Storage Server Hardware--each is an HP ProLiant DL180 G5, with
      2 quad-core Intel Xeon Processor E5430 (2.66GHz)
      8GB memory
      1-HP InfiniBand Dual Port HCA
      12-300GB SAS or 12-1TB SATA disk drives

      Now I won't argue that Sun doesn't put out more robust hardware (for that matter HP does, the DL line is far from their top end), but this is not exactly 'low end' computing power here...

      • but this is not exactly 'low end' computing power here

        It might be from the grandparent's perspective. If so, perhaps we could, uh, borrow some things from his datacenter?

        • by fm6 ( 162816 )

          Actually, you can borrow stuff from my datacenter. You just have to promise to consider buying it!


          • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

            by TheRaven64 ( 641858 )
            I can definitely promise to consider buying it. Do I have to promise to be able to afford it too?
            • yes you do.
              They do a thing on your credit card (maybe debit card too) that doesn't remove the money but checks if it could.

              OR , cause I just had a flash in my mind, they take it and then either undo the transaction or put it back (I only heard recently that people could put money straight back in your card)

              I took a x86 AMD Opteron workstation.
              Kept it for a while, like few months and then called them up about 10/15 days before the end of the "consideration trial".
              I basically bought my self some time before g

      • by fm6 ( 162816 )

        I did read the specs. I even quoted them. We're talking a bunch of 2-processor systems. In the server world, a 2P system is definitely low end.

        The Sun X4600 is an 8P, 4U system. So 2 X4600s have the same number of processors and the same amount of rack space. Having all 8 processors in one system makes the whole a tad more efficient and cheaper.

        I'm not suggesting that HP doesn't have something equivalent to the X4600 — I'm sure they do. I just happen to be more familiar with Sun x64 systems because th

    • I wonder what their approach to maintenance and service will be. These tasks tends to be rather critical for a database system. I also expect that for many of Oracle's customers, running cost would be the decisive factor, and not purchase cost.

      Maintenance costs vary rather wildly from the around 3% of purchase cost per year you expect to be charged for next-business-day-on-site service purely for computer hardware, over the about 10% per year that a supplier of really high-tech stuff will charge you, to the

    • by awgupta ( 638380 )
      It's not about the particular HW config. The point of the machine is that it moves a portion of querying to the disk, so the disk is shipping back matching tuples as part of the parallel query, rather than blocks. There are a couple of CPUs, 4 cores each on each disk. The great problem in high-scale data warehouses is in shipping blocks across the interconnect. This reduces that.
      • by fm6 ( 162816 )

        OK, that's an argument for having a lot of (relatively) sparse storage servers instead of a few dense storage servers. But why have 8 2P1U DBMS servers instead of just 2 8P4U DBMS servers? You're getting less processing power for more money.

        • by awgupta ( 638380 )
          The pipe is the bottleneck, not the compute server. I assume they do this because more servers allows more pipes between storage and dbms.
          • by fm6 ( 162816 )

            Why does more servers mean more pipes? You can easily add additional network interfaces to any system with spare PCIe or PCIx slots. And 4U systems typically have more spare slots than 1U systems.

            • by awgupta ( 638380 )
              Would that not push the bottleneck to the bus on the compute server? I haven't gone through the specs to see whether that it would saturate out otherwise, but that would be my guess.
  • More information (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Bill, Shooter of Bul ( 629286 ) on Thursday September 25, 2008 @02:16PM (#25154685) Journal
    The posted story didn't have many details. Look here for more []. As you can read, nothing inside is that crazy, but its a nice configuration with massive storage and massive bandwidth. Its not just a simple 1U proliant with oracle.
  • by thered2001 ( 1257950 ) on Thursday September 25, 2008 @02:22PM (#25154777) Journal
    Maybe not so good for the customers, though. This seems almost like the mainframe world where peripherals and upgrades often cost more than they should. I envision more than one support contract being voided by adding 'non-approved' hardware to one of these machines.
  • by The Dancing Panda ( 1321121 ) on Thursday September 25, 2008 @02:23PM (#25154787)
    That will be nice, though I don't know how they plan on doing it. As far as I can tell, it's impossible to install Oracle on anything.
  • by tlambert ( 566799 ) on Thursday September 25, 2008 @02:33PM (#25154933)

    Except it's not really their first foray: []

    This was the company that Larry invested in to build massively (for the time) parallel machines to run Oracle better. He even relocated them to Foster City to get them loser to Oracle corporate headquarters.

    A company where I worked (Whistle Communications, and, after they were acquired, IBM) shared the same building with them. When they closed the Foster City office 2002 (after Larry stepped down as CEO), they dumpstered a large number of 19" racks full of interesting hardware.

    -- Terry

    • He even relocated them to Foster City to get them loser to Oracle corporate headquarters.

      Freud got you again!

  • I predict they will be as successful as they were with Unbreakable Linux!!

    (not very)

  • Resellers make a lot of consulting dollars just on doing the Oracle db install and "tuning" for the applications going on top of the db. Now that Oracle can come pre-installed, this levels the playing field with respect to IBM's DB2 and MS SQL-Server. It would be interesting to know whose idea this was initially: Oracle's or HP's, and to find out who each of them believe this is going to benefit more.
  • Given the size of the codebase, and how I've seen Oracle used in the past, does this mean that we are now going to see Oracle hardware the size of the old UNIVAC Mainframes?
  • I hope Oracle includes some sort of automatic patch tool with this distro. There quarterly patches are quite a pain. Although I admit they are getting better as of late.
  • by tramm ( 16077 ) <> on Thursday September 25, 2008 @03:39PM (#25155943) Homepage
    Oracle had a previous venture into the database hardware business, the nCube []. They bought the parallel computer company and attempted to build a database / video-on-demand server from it.
    • nCube is still around to some extent and is at the core of some of the VOD products for one of the major players in this market. nCube rolled into Broadband Management Solutions, which was purchased by C-COR who in turn was purchased by Arris.
  • by C_Kode ( 102755 ) on Thursday September 25, 2008 @03:50PM (#25156137) Journal

    I've already ordered my iOracle Mini for a low low price with no money down...

  • Oracle used to sell specialized Oracle hardware back in the day. They bought a company in Landover, MD, I think they were called Gould Systems, but they made machines to run Oracle.

    Oracle later re-named them the Oracle Complex Systems Group, then later still, axed the whole thing.

    Seems someone in PR doesn't know their own company's history...

  • In 5 to 10 years, people will sneer at Oracle the way we all like to sneer at Cobol today. Sure, there will be a lot of Oracle jobs out there but the cool hombres won't touch it.
    • by Ant P. ( 974313 )

      Why wait 5 years? Oracle's a niche product already with its price tag; everyone else just uses Postgres.

  • Rats; I thought it might finally be Raw Iron, but it's Oracle Enterprise Linux. I wonder if their branded linux runs the database faster than Redhat or proprietary unixes?
  • I think some of you here are missing the point of the product. It is an appliance of sorts that is meant to compete with the likes of Netezza [] and Teradata [], i.e. massively parallel, share nothing database architectures meant for datawarehousing. Typically, that means long running queries over gigabytes and terabytes of data.

    Note the name of Exabyte. The prefix "exa" is greater than the prefix of "tera" in Teradata. They are trying to compete with Teradata.

    Sure, it also claims to have good OLTP capability

  • by SixDimensionalArray ( 604334 ) on Thursday September 25, 2008 @07:39PM (#25159459)
    This might be a response to the fact that Microsoft recently purchased a company that sells integrated hardware/software for databases/data warehousing supporting massively parallel processing, named Datallegro []. They are currently integrating it with SQL Server 2008. Somewhat exciting, in my opinion!
  • Seems pretty clear to me, baby!

    If I am Joe Hardwarewhore, pitchin' HP or Sun solutions, this really ought to piss me off. Oracle selling hardware, is tantamount to Microsoft selling pre-installed Exchange Servers, something that would end up in a Dell or HP lawsuit in a MINUTE.

    Now, admittedly, VARs have literally written the book on how to fail, so I can see where Oracle might want to strike out on their own, but its bad business. If your VAR channel fails, it is your job to train them, stoke them, incen

  • I suppose if Sun can sell hw, os, and database; Oracle has to say they can do the same thing.

    I can remember when it was normal for the same company to provide all hw and sw.

I've got a bad feeling about this.