Tuesday, September 28, 2010
As well as partners there were of ourselves several customers and attending and some presenting. We were able to speak to one or two:
- Damian Walsh, Chief Operating Officer of Melbourne IT talks about the company's IT transformation project
- John Olzewski, Operations Infrastructure & Architecture Manager, Information Technology Services, Bunnings Group Limited talks about his upcoming presentation about his company's use of Oracle
The final day is of course traditionally the day of Larry's final keynote and he devoted half of this to reprising the announcement both he and Mark Hurd had discussed earlier in the week: Exalogic. IBRS Analyst Kevin McIsaac was luckily able to take out of his day before the keynote to put some context around the new platform when he spoke to us outside the keynote hall.
Larry also introduced keenly awaited Fusion Applications demonstrations following his announcement on Sunday that they would GA early in the new year.
Thursday, September 23, 2010
What piqued my interest was his announcement of Exalogic. You might think to yourself, what is so special about Exalogic, isn’t just Weblogic Server in a box?
Exalogic goes way further than that. It essentially provides an elastic computing platform that can support from departmental applications, right through to the most demanding ERP and mainframe applications, including the many 3rd party apps that can run on Linux or Solaris.
So what makes Exalogic special? For me, Larry’s keynote left me with two points:
- Exalogic provides extreme Java performance and is designed to cater for the most demanding applications in a scale out approach,
- It is integrated, managed, tested and patched as a functioning unit. This means a reduction in operational cost, improved performance and reduced time to deploy,
While there are so many technical advances made in Exalogic, incorporating both hardware and software, I always like to know what the bottom line is and what it might mean to businesses in Australia and APAC.
If I look at the current market place, renewed interest is being placed on the role the data center plays in an organisation. On the one hand organisations are looking for agility from their data center to respond to changing market conditions, while on the other there are still continual pressures to optimise data centers and reduce cost. I believe that Exalogic caters for both these requirements at the same time. Exalogic provides the platform that can facilitate transforming IT to an as-a-service model, while at the same time directly attacking operating cost / maintenance by providing a platform that will facilitate consolidation from disk to application.
If you want to scratch beneath the surface, check out the new site on Exalogic.
Later in the day, Brett Winterford of iTnews - during a Q&A with APAC SVP Steve Au Yeaung and a later interview with Frontline MD Steve Murphy - learned about plans for a new Oracle On Demand Datacentre in Sydney.
There are more than 400 delegates attending from Australia and New Zealand, and during the day we spoke to a number of partners about their businesses. Unfortunately technical glitches have spoiled the recordings of many of them, but this video puts some useful perspective on how Oracle works with its partners, on Oracle's cloud heritage and the value partners get from Openworld:
Tuesday, September 21, 2010
As delegates returned to Moscone North, South and West for the first full day of proceedings at Oracle Openworld, the dust was still settling from the announcements from the night before. An Australian journalist attending the show, Brett Winterford, has already filed his perspective of the announcements with these storties:
Oracle releases its own Linux kernel and Oracle releases monster "private cloud" box
And an Australian Blogger and Oracle ACE, Richard Foote brought his perspective to the show also:
Mark Hurd made his debut as an Oracle Executive up on stage first thing in the morning with his Keynote bringing more detail to the Exadata announcement Larry began the previous evening and was joined by Oracle's Systems lead John Fowler who talked about the latest release of Solaris as well as updates on SPARC and ZFS. (Our resident reporter was able to write this up also for the folks back home.)
Mark Hurd was not the only first appearance of the day either with The America's Cup taking up residence in Moscone North also.
Later that day we got the chance to speak to Oracle ANZ MD Ian White to get another Aussie perspective on the show:
The day drew to a close with Thomas Kurian presenting a keynote to the JavaOne conference focussing on the Java platform and developer tools acquired through Sun such as Netbeans, JavaFX and Glassfish and introduced guests who demonstrated the application of these tools in various game development including Star Wars: The Old Republic; proving that Mr Ellison's company really had become Ora...cool!
Monday, September 20, 2010
The first announcement of the day was an interesting one, and is sure to build confidence for the open source community - Oracle Announces MySQL 5.5 Release Candidate: - and is bound to be the topic of discussion as the two developer conferences that run parallel to Openworld open up, Java One and Oracle Develop.
With JavaOne Oracle has now closed a second street in San Francisco – as well as Howard between Moscone North and Moscone South , JavaOne has now meant also the closing of Mason Street next to the Hilton . The sheer scale of the conference was detailed by Oracle’s CMO Judy Sim during her keynote – and with 41,000 delegates to all three conferences, this is Oracle’s largest show and the in fact the largest show of its kind in the industry.
As the day grew older the excitement built and the queues to register stretched out the doors: Those getting in early to queue for Larry’s Keynote could enjoy the fun the marketing team have had with the Iron Man 2 collaboration: including Larry’s brief cameo in the movie. Then when the doors opened the crowds flooded in:
Larry’s Keynote was preceded by a short video celebrating the winning of the America’s Cup by his BMW/Oracle Team earlier this year, before he finally came onto the stage to discuss cloud computing – “another kind of extreme performance” he said making an allusion to his sailing triumph. Admitting that he’s been quite outspoken about Cloud Computing, Larry defined cloud as needing to be both elastic AND virtualised before announcing the Exalogic Elastic Cloud – 30 compute servers and 360 cores with an Infiniband 40GB/sec link. Like its Exadata cousin, the Exalogic machine represents software and hardware engineered perfectly together. Exalogic is – said Larry – completely fault tolerant with no single point of failure and is entirely secure – and is “by far the fastest computer for running Java”.
In tests, Larry said Exalogic has demonstrated 12x performance increase running Internet apps: 1m HTTP requests per second; and a 4.5x performance improvement running messaging apps: 1.8m a second!
Mr Ellison then moved on to address Linux, saying that a big problem for Oracle has been that the Red Hat Kernel of Linux on which Oracle Linux is based is “four years” behind the rest of the community, which is why Oracle is releasing the Oracle Enterprise Kernel for mission critical, large scale environments such as those which Exadata supports. He also previed the new Exadata OLTP Exadata machine that Mark Hurd and John Fowler will together announce tomorrow.
Finally Larry previewed his Wednesday keynote announcing Fusion Applications GA in early 2011 after a massive five year software engineering program to fuse the best of JD Edwards, Peoplesoft, Siebel and eBusiness Suite together. Key principles of Fusion Larry stated clearly was that it could be deployed on the public cloud or the private cloud and is based entirely on SOA, SaaS, Business Intelligence and open standards. “If you know Java, you know Fusion” he said before some brief demonstrations:
His final comment summed up the week ahead: "A whole host of cool things being announced this week at Openworld". Plenty to look forward to now the curtains have fully lifted. Stay tuned to this blog for summaries, and register for the APAC blog at Oracle MIX:
Tuesday, September 14, 2010
Here’s the space to watch for ANZ-based watchers of Openworld:
In the days around the largest IT conference in the world, we’ll be keeping you up to date with how the show’s content has relevance to Australian and New Zealand-based Oracle stakeholders: customers, partners, developers and employees alike – to save you the trip!
We’ll be picking out some of the more important announcements and trying to give them some local perspective.
Keep an eye on the corporate Newsroom for all the announcements coming out of the show: http://www.oracle.com/us/corporate/press/index.html
There’s more than 100 customers, partners and employees attending Openworld from Australia and New Zealand and we’ll be talking to some of the ANZ delegates at the show and getting their view of the show. You can look out for these at the Oracle ANZ You Tube Channel: http://www.youtube.com/user/OracleANZ
You can follow our Twitter Feeds for up-to-the-minute thoughts, quotes and links from the show: @oracleredroom, @mrgareth and @pennywolf
We’ll also be sharing news and features in the Oracle Red Room LinkedIn Group, so please take the time to join up: http://www.linkedin.com/groups?mostPopular=&gid=1983966
But checking in here at the Red Room at the start of each day will give you a quick digest on the proceedings overnight.
It should be an exciting show – the first after the acquisition of Sun so lots of news about what that integration is bring to customers and partners; not to mention of course Mark Hurd’s first outing as our new President and the visit of a very special guest – The America’s Cup!
Thursday, August 12, 2010
Are you going to Insync?
If you’ve somehow missed the marketing, its the largest ever Oracle User Group Conference in Australia and sees the various User groups like Quest , AUSOUG and OAUG all combine under one roof to help users of products like Oracle Database 11g, Oracle Fusion Middleware, Oracle E-Business Suite, JD Edwards and PeopleSoft to name but a few understand how to get more value from their investments.
The key value prop for our participation in Insync hinges on the fact that the Fusion Platform can allow existing Application customers maximise the value and ownership experience of their existing investments while laying a software foundation in preparation for Fusion Applications. So the discussion hinges on the reduction of the cost of ownership of applications, the increase in agility that a business requires, and the reduction of risk when a customer wishes to upgrade to a new version of our applications.
Business applications have dominated the IT landscape for many years. Organisations have embraced these applications due to the functional, process-centric value they deliver to the bottom line. Every business though is unique in how they function. As a result, organisations customise, extend and integrate their business applications as their business models evolve. These customisations, extensions and integrations are often proprietary in nature, heavily scripted and very often undocumented. The more the business the business evolves, the more the application architecture becomes a tightly wound ball of string.
By utilising the Fusion Platform, many Oracle customers have realised more value from their existing Oracle Application investments by decoupling the traditionally coupled customisations, extensions and integrations. The Fusion Platform not only delivers immediate value to Applications customers in areas such as customised self-service experiences, ad-hoc exception handling, process visibility across applications and application data integration, but through its decoupled approach provides an underlying platform that enables the business application to be upgrade resilient; in other words the Fusion Platform will reduce the cost and risk of upgrade of Oracle Business Applications and reduce the traditional barriers to a customer receiving the functional benefits of a new version of their new business application. The Fusion Platform is not only certified for use with our Oracle Applications Unlimited today, but will be used as the core foundation for Fusion Applications, thereby reducing the risk of retraining staff and ensuring that the stable foundation you put in place today continues forward with your application journey.
Insync poses a great opportunity for customers to investigate how to get the maximum value from extending their applications today, how the role of applications is changing in architectures, the importance of a core platform to deliver business agility and flexibility, and the role that the Fusion Platform will play in Oracle’s application strategy moving forward. Speakers include thought leaders from Oracle, Oracle Ace’s and customers.
See the brochure here.
See you there if you’re attending!Rich
Tuesday, March 30, 2010
Chris is an Oracle ACE Director. To become an Oracle ACE, Chris has qualified according the following criteria:
- Track record of major contributions to the community, technical and/or community-oriented
- Good communication skills
- Ability to commit to participation in an honorary (non compensated) capacity
Chris recently presented to a series of User Group Meetings in New Zealand, Canberra and South Australia and kindly agreed to summarise his presentations in the following guest Blog for The Red Room.
"Web services != SOA" @ NZOUG's smelliest conference yet
Oracle's RedRoom invited me to write a guest post on their blog about my recent travels and presentations. As an Oracle ACE Director I have the chance to attend and present at conferences and events around the world. I specialize in the Fusion Middleware space, with a strong interest and background in the database.
NZOUG's 2010 conference
This March I was privileged to attend and present on Web Services to the New Zealand's Oracle User Group near-yearly conference, as well as present to both the ACTOUG and AUSOUG-SA members on the way home to Perth.
How would I sum up the NZOUG conference?:
Not the usual assessment of an Oracle User Group conference, but this conference on Lake Rotorua, a still active caldera, did take some getting used to thanks to the rotten eggs smell that hands over the small surrounding town.
Yet, this year's NZOUG conference, besides its smell, again proved the NZ event is one well worth attending, for the Oracle content and the friendly delegates and committee members. Of note to anyone interested in presenting or sponsoring the NZOUG event, NZ equalled the number of delegates and sponsors at the reportedly much larger 2009 Australian Oracle User Group conference in Melbourne. Being an ex-AUSOUG committee member I'm well impressed that a country with a fifth of the Australian population punched so much above its weight.
Web service extravaganza
SOAP web services and its newer complimentary cousin REST based web services have a number of significant advantages that organisations and their systems can make use of:
- The ability to share data in a near real time fashion, with the resulting business benefits of information "now", not tomorrow, next week, or next year
- To specify clear interfaces and data payloads between systems that can be validated at both design and runtime, to avoid sending or receiving invalid, unstructured data messes
- Utilise existing, prevalent Internet infrastructure, requiring no dedicated peer-to-peer network infrastructure, avoiding costly network setups
- Ignoring the other system's underlying technology implementation, who cares if one system is an Oracle system, the other .Net, Java, SAP or similar
At the NZOUG conference, and ACTOUG and AUSOUG-SA events, in order to address this challenge, I had the chance to give delegates a web service introduction, with two entirely different approaches.
The first presentation "Back to Basics: Simple database web services without the SOA headache", a somewhat glib title was designed to draw the predominately SQL and PLSQL proficient delegates at the conference to learn about web services. It's always easier to learn something if you already have skills required to solve a problem. The presentation harnessed the attendees' skills and showed them through the Oracle database how they consume and publish their own web services using the Oracle database's own features.
My second presentation, "JDeveloper 11g Web Services – as easy as 1-2-3" took the more traditional approach to web service development, introducing the contemporary JEE solution using Oracle's own JDeveloper IDE. For some JDeveloper has been a dirty word in the Oracle development circles, with extremely complicated development resulting in steep learning curve and failed system development. But since 10.1.3, and especially the 11g version, JDeveloper like much of the Java arena has tidied up its act and made contemporary Java development easier, a product Oracle is very excited about. My second presentation looked at the simple acts of creating a web service in the IDE through the generation of an XML Schema using a diagrammer, a web service WSDL also using a diagrammer, then finally the Java code via wizards & editors. The funny thing about the presentation is it takes me more time to explain than it actually does to implement the web service – surely a statement that should sell web services itself.
But does SOA have a place?
The nice thing about both these presentations is once delegates have obtained a knowledge of SOAP- based web services, be it through the database's features or JDeveloper, it then allows us to use that new found knowledge as a stepping stone to learn and understand SOA's approach to the broader issues of system integration and a service-based focus. Without the knowledge around the pros and cons of web service development, the leap to appreciating the challenges SOA attempts to address is a hard one. Instead if we provide a learning path between their traditional skills and the new technology, this will address a large segment of people who are essential in getting on board the SOA approach.
The question, will SOA work for you and your organisation is really up to you to decide. Yet, I think it a valid approach to learn, experiment and try out web services first, in order to see if SOA maybe a larger solution that may work for you. And even if it doesn't, web services alone may provide value to your organisation beyond your current implementations.
With thanks to Oracle's Red Room to inviting me to post this guest post, and also with thanks to the NZOUG, ACTOUG and AUSOUG-SA committees for inviting me to present, and the members for attending.
Chris is an Oracle Consultant and Technical Lead and Trainer based in Perth with SAGE Computing Services .
You can follow Chris on Twitter here: http://twitter.com/chriscmuir
Thursday, March 25, 2010
So if you're running multiple Oracle Databases on dedicated, scale-up infrastructure then there are great savings to be had by consolidating your database workloads onto a low-cost, agile grid. The Sun Oracle Database Machine is an ideal platform for such a consolidation.
Monday, March 1, 2010
This week, I stumbled onto an article in CIO, written by Randy Heffner, VP at Forrester Research. In his article, Randy covers two points that really piqued my interest. The first was with regards the adoption rate of SOA, and the second point was aimed at what CIO’s really need to know about SOA.
While the hype around technologies such as Cloud computing is at a high according to Gartner, SOA has been quietly maturing, resulting in a sound adoption rate (68% adoption by end 2010 according to Forrester), and delivering sufficient business value to warrant 52% of organisations using SOA to expand its use. While my views are not empirical like Forrester’s, the conversations I am having with organisations has shifted from “what is SOA?” and “is it voodoo?” discussions; to “what are the actual steps we need to follow to facilitate the IT transformation we need to go through” and “how do we govern our architecture to ensure maximum service reusability”. I believe that a contributing factor behind this shift in discussion, and an increase in maturity, is that many COTS applications today are service enabled. These pools of available services have allowed IT practitioners to change the way they do application integration, and now they are at the point of asking how to expand and control their SOA initiative. As this is traditionally an IT driven initiative, the drive is towards new development approaches and potentially service reuse. I agree with Randy in that service reuse is only part of the picture and the true power of adopting a SOA approach is not being realised.
So what is the other half of the coin that is missing? I would call it strategic business thinking. Randy eloquently stated that CIO’s need to understand that SOA is about having the capability of designing software (business services) around the business capabilities required by their business. These business services utilise the value of existing applications yet hide the complexity of the underlying architectures. The end result is a business that has the capability of rapidly assembling business capabilities to address their transforming business. Hence the mantra of SOA bringing agility and flexibility to a business. If I played “bingo” on the word “business” in this paragraph I would be a rich person! But that is what it is about. CIO’s need to understand the business strategy, the business transformation strategy and the business capabilities that will be required in the future. By combining a business and reuse approach, the value of a business service will be determined not only by its technical level of reuse, but the value it delivers to the business capability requirements.
So, we IT practitioners should not be asking ourselves the question “how do we make SOA successful?” SOA will deliver value to your business when it is utilised as an architectural approach to develop business capability. If that message gets diluted in any way, you will end up with a costly, moving part in your architecture that does not live up to its full potential.
Wednesday, February 3, 2010
Quite often in the software industry we come across the question of whether to use the latest version of a product or technology.
There are pro's and con's for being the first with a new product, using either the latest version, or the tried and trusted version that everyone else is using.
In my capacity as being an IT Manager, and now a consultant for a software vendor, this issue has cropped up many times. So what exactly do you need to know in order to make that decision, that ultimately could be the difference between a successful implementation, or an expensive failure?
Being first cab off the rank has its advantages... someone has to be first! What can that mean for you? On the other hand, knowing that someone else has already gone through the pain is an easier pill to swallow for your Senior Management, those we have to justify our decisions to, or get the funding from.
There are a few areas of consideration which I've touched on below. It's not an exhaustive list by any means, and I would encourage any comments/suggestions.
Risk would be the most compelling reason not to use a new piece of software. Risk is probably the first thing on the mind of those with the cheque book.
Obviously, no-one releases software that hasn't been tested (!) But testing for the infinite combinations of computer systems is impossible. Testing for human behaviour would cover for only small percentage of users. Data models and quality of data is also something you couldn't expect to have been tested to exhaustion. That leaves your own testing. Only you can test a product on your infrastructure, with your data. How critical is the software to your business? What is the impact of a failure, in terms of cost, reputation or time if you go with an immature product?
Let's not forget that most new versions of software are there to address bugs or deficiencies. The latest version may fix a critical item on your requirements list. Improvements in workflow or compatibility may directly be pertinent to your situation.
Knowing that the software is in production somewhere is a comforting thing. Knowing that someone in your industry is using the same technology successfully offers further reassurance. Even if someone else has taken the bold step to be first, is no guarantee for your business.
Being (one of) the first may enable you to be first to market with your offering. Competitive advantage can often come from your systems. You may be competing in a busy market place. Having leading edge technology could be the differentiator you've been striving for.
Functionality is a major factor in choosing software. The latest version may contain that one piece of functionality you really need. In some cases, a newer version may omit critical functions (perhaps to be included in later releases).
Using an older version may mean you'll have to add customisations or work-arounds. They'll have to be costed into your implementation, and then of course future consideration of upgrades (see below)
Certainly integrations tend to get better with newer versions. Product suites such as Oracle SOA Suite have moved toward a common (application server) platform. In the past you might have had to implement different server technologies to realise business functionality.
If you do decide to go down the tried and trusted path, you're almost certainly going to want/need to upgrade at some point. That then throws up present and future considerations.
Depending on the version you go with, there may not be a smooth migration path to a newer version. One click migrations are few and far between. If you've made customisations then there's a good chance you might have to do them again! Data migration and the subsequent testing can be a costly exercise, particularly if you have to do it multiple times.
Here's the clincher.. maybe! Risk mitigation may come in the form of support. You can almost guarantee that if you're considering implementing leading edge technology before anyone else, then you've probably already caught the eye of your vendor. Leveraging that attention can be an opportunity for you. In a previous life, I was in the position where I took the first Australian license for one of the Oracle SOA Suite products. In return for getting on the Early Adopter Program, and being a reference site, I received direct access to the product developers, and a substantial amount of local support. Of course we had teething problems, but Oracle made the process somewhat painless. We got involved in the Client Advisory Board, and had many of our suggestions and feedback on our experience incorporated in subsequent versions.
When negotiating with your vendor to take on a new release, you'll probably want to get some commitment from them that they'll have the cavalry standing by. Just how much that might positively influence your stakeholders will be for you to find out!
In terms of support, older versions of products are sometimes given a shelf life i.e. they're not going to be supported forever. The different levels of support offered by your vendor may mean that if you do experience problems in the future, you could be on your own. You may not want to be running business critical systems on software that is on End of Life.
When looking at any technology, you'll want to ensure that your internal team has the skills to implement and manage your systems. You might want to supplement your team with partners, contractors or vendor personnel. Upskilling your team or hiring contractors might prove costly, especially for the rarer skills. Vendors will most likely have a good supply of experts and backup support to be able to provide services for you and present an opportunity for your internal staff to pick up the skills on the job.
The luxury of time is something most of us don't have. Looming deadlines and compelling events are always against us.
Implementation time. How long might it take to implement either a previous version, or the latest version? For new software or technology, your vendor might not be able to give you an accurate expectation of implementation time. If they do, you can bet they will err on the cautious side! A mature product will have many veterans to call on to share their experience.
Getting onto a beta program is a great way to "play" with latest technology before anyone else. Oracle has a Beta Program for its technology products, that was used by LogicalTech to give some comfort to their customers. "Some database owners were renowned for being reticent to upgrade" ... "in case it introduced instability issues".
With unlimited time, we could test everything and mitigate most risk. Just how much effort do you want to put into product suitability and system testing, when your stakeholders and users are keen to get into UAT?
All in all there are many reasons to go with either option. Each implementation will have its own requirements, justifications, and objections. Hopefully I've given a few things to think about when starting out on this journey!
Friday, January 29, 2010
Congratulations to Agreon for winning the Zenith Award for Identity Management Partner of the Year. This is a well deserving award to a partner who has been committed to the use of Oracle’s technology and successful in delivering implementations of Oracle’s Identity Management technology to our customers.
If I recall back to 2006, when the Oracle Identity Management practice was initially established in Australia/New Zealand, things were very different back then. We were seen by others already in the game as being late-to-market. We had no committed partners in this space and even though we had the best-of-breed technology in our portfolio – we had no proven deployments locally in any vertical. Many had doubted our technology, commitment, focus and ability to execute.
Agreon was already an established and respected Identity Management Systems Integrator back then. They saw the strategic nature of a close partnership with Oracle and stepped up to be a valuable Oracle partner, which was followed by many successful deployments of Oracle’s Identity Management technology.
Three-and-a-half years on, and we are now getting comments from external parties that we have the most focused team in Identity Management, the strongest momentum in the market and the best suite of products and technology in this space. We have now proven strength in all the major verticals including Financial Services, Government, Manufacturing and Retail. How things have turned around in such a short time. What made the difference? Three things in my mind…
Firstly, I think being “late-to-market” played to our advantage.
For the early adopters who already have an existing solution on Identity Management, a lot of them were looking at ways to revamp their Identity Management strategy on how they can take it to the next level. We were able to help them by offering our advice based on our technologies and experience on what other successful customer deployments have been able to achieve. For example, in addition to Identity Management for internal users (e.g. HR-driven provisioning for employees to reduce cost and improve productivity), we are also seeing a huge interest in "Extranet Identity Management”, especially for business partners, retail and corporate customers for the best return on investment in the technology.
For customers who are now starting to look at Identity Management, we were able to leverage our knowledge and experience, together with partners like Agreon, to better guide our customers so they could avoid making the same mistakes as some of the early adopters in the past. For example, Identity Management deployment best practices in terms of how to phase a project deployment, prioritisation, integration approach, communication, etc.
Secondly - Our Focus. I think the focus that Oracle has in this space has significantly contributed to the growth and momentum that we have seen in Oracle Identity Management in this market.
Last, but not least – Our Partners. Having skilled and experienced partners like Agreon to help deliver the technology to our customers, means that we have a much higher ability to execute on IDM deployments and most importantly, making our customers happy and successful.
I think we are only beginning to see the adoption and acceleration of Identity Management, which is becoming an increasingly topical and important topic for organisations especially those who are subject to strict compliance or regulatory requirements, or are looking at strategic computing approaches such as adopting Cloud Computing services – where Identity, Access and Security Management is critical.
And now the future of Oracle Identity Management has just got a lot sunnier :)