Tag: oracle

NHS doctors try to extract Ellison’s backbone

skeletonsThe NHS has purged the Oracle backbone from a national patient database system and recommended a course of Open Sauc NoSQL running on an open-source stack instead.

Dubbed Spine2, the new Ellison free backbone has gone live on x86 hardware.  Spine is the NHS’s main secure patient database and messaging platform.  It is a bit of serious technology logging the non-clinical information on 80 million Brits.

It also runs a messaging hub between 20,000 applications that include the Electronic Prescription Service and Summary Care Records.

The first version of Spine had run on Oracle under an out-sourced contract managed by telecoms giant BT, but the Health and Social Care Information Center (HSCIC) – the NHS organisation running the system thought that open source and NoSQL will be easier to live with.

Oracle’s relational database has been replaced with a NoSQL distributed system called Riak, from Basho.

Other open-source elements are Redis, Nginx, Tornado and RabitMQ while Splunk has been used for logging and reporting.

The Spine2 contract was awarded under the Cabinet Office’s G-Cloud framework, which encourages government types to buy from small providers like Basho.

It seems to have been much cheaper too some of that is not having to pay an Oracle license, or a maintenance fee, but some of it was also managed by consolidating the hardware.

Riak is up to two times cheaper than Oracle while the infrastructure will cost five per cent that of the old setup.

What is also odd is that HSCIC has saved money by bringing Spine2 back in house with on-going development. This is bad news for BT, but could be the start of a backlash against open sourcing.


EU watchdog investigation approves Micros takeover

watchdogEU watchdogs, which have been snuffling around the hindquarters of Oracle’s $5.3m takeover of Micros have barked that the deal has come up smelling of roses.

Oracle’s $5.3m takeover of retail and hospitality technology firm Micros Systems still has to get shareholder approval.

However, the EC said the planned purchase of the Columbia, Maryland-based company, announced in late June, raises no competitive issues as far as the EU was concerned and can go ahead.

The commission thought that the combined market share of Micros and Oracle was limited and many strong competitors would remain after the acquisition.

Micros sells mobile and cloud services, consulting, hardware, and point-of-sale software for restaurants, hotels and retail. Its own board unanimously approved the transaction.

It had been suggested that Larry Ellison only wrote a cheque for Micros to divert attention away from a series of disappointing quarterly results from Oracle, a cloud strategy that is still forming, and concerns about application growth.

It was the biggest deal that Oracle had done for a long time. In fact, it was the largest since Oracle bought Sun Microsystems in 2010 for $7.4billion. In 2008, it paid $8.5bn to take over BEA Systems but its most expensive purchase remains PeopleSoft, bought for $10.3bn in 2005.

Oracle president and CFO Safra Catz said that the sale would make Oracle a lot of dosh straight away and help the company to expand over time.

Micros management and employees will form a dedicated business within Oracle.

Shark hunter says Ellison needs a bigger boat

jawsTop security analyst David Litchfield has returned to hunting holes in Oracle software, after a comparatively less daunting task of finding Great White Sharks, and he apparently found  Larry Ellison’s team has not improved during his time off.

Litchfield retired a few years ago from his job of creating major headaches for Oracle and went scuba diving and looking for sharks. Apparently, the sharks gig was dull in comparison to his job hunting holes in Oracle software so he returned to dry land.

Litchfield has been looking at Ellison’s new data redaction service called the Oracle 12c. The service is designed to allow administrators to mask sensitive data, such as credit card numbers or health information, during certain operations.

However Litchfield told the Black Hat USA conference that it is packed with trivially exploitable vulnerabilities

If Oracle had followed any sort of software development life cycle instead of just paying lip service to it, every one of these flaws would have been caught. It is kindergarten stuff, he said.

Litchfield found several methods for bypassing the data redaction service and tricking the system into returning data that should be masked.

Litchfield said that it was so simple to hack the service he did not feel right calling them exploits.

He said Oracle was still not learning he lessons that people were leaning in 2003. He said that in the space of a few minutes he could find a bunch of things that I can send to Oracle as exploitable.

The data redaction bypasses that Litchfield found have been patched, but he said he recently sent Oracle a critical flaw that enables a user gain control of the database. That flaw is not patched yet but is coming.

Intel builds custom chips for Oracle

oracleIntel’s new business building custom chips for punters who build their own servers appears to have been gaining some momentum.

Last year, Intel started offering custom chip designs to Facebook and eBay and now it has managed to get Oracle signed up.

The difference with the Oracle deal is that Chipzilla is making custom processors to sell to customers.

According to DatacenterDynamics  Oracle wanted a processor whose performance profiles could be changed on demand based on workload.

Intel built Oracle’s E7-8890 v2 on the Xeon E7-8895 v2 processor but gave it the ability to put its cores into ultra-low power states and then bring them back up as needed.

The 8890 v2 model is the top of the Xeon line, the only one with RAS capabilities and other high-end functions found in the Itanium and other RISC processors.

The 8890 has 15 cores running at 2.8 GHz and 37.5 MB of cache per core for high performance analytics or in-memory databases.

With the 8895, Intel allowed the processor to act like an 8890, 8891 or 8893 while in operation and without having to shut down and restart.

The technology was already there. Intel already does something similar with its consumer Core processors called Turbo Boost. If a dual core, 3.0GHz processor is running a single-threaded app, it will shut down one core and run the other at 3.4Ghz, for example.

The 8895 is used in Oracle’s Exadata Database Machine X4-8,an 8-processor rack system with up to 12 TB of system memory 672 terabytes of disk, 44 terabytes of high-performance PCI Flash, 240 database CPU cores, and 168 CPU cores in storage to accelerate data-intensive SQL.

There are limits to the deal. Intel will not be open to chip suggestions from Oracle’s hardware competitors like HP and Dell. The Oracle deal was oriented around its database and other business application software.

Avnet makes Benelux appointment

avnettsMarc van Ierland has been made country manager of its Benelux district which includes Luxembourg, Belgium and the Netherlands.

van Ierland has over 20 years experience in distribution and has been at Avnet since November 2007 after the company acquired ACAL.

Andrew Binding, VP at Avnet EMEA South said that he is a well known and respected individual  with a proven track record in developing and managing highly motivated teams.

He previously managed the IBM, Oracle, networking, security and document management business units in the region.

ITC builds on Oracle tech

consultoracleITC Infotech is introducing a Consumer Goods Business Process Services (BPS) offering based on Oracle’s Comprehensive Trade Management.

It’s built on Oracle’s Siebel Trade Promotion Management, made with a view to manage promotions and funds as well as to settle claims and forecast sales and liabilities. ITC’s kit runs predictive trade planning and predictive scenario planning, too, letting customers use an all-in-one service to boost trade spend efficiency and improve sales forecasting accuracy.

Potential customers may be interested because ITC promises the service will help them reduce costs and boost efficiencies.

ITC Infotech’s president, L N Balaji, said this can lead to better collaboration and relationships with customers.
“We expect it will immensely benefit companies in the consumer goods, durables, high tech and consumer healthcare sectors, and in general all companies that manage brands and promotions,” Balaji said.

IBM tops server charts, revenues fall

ibm-officeIDC’s latest worldwide server market figures are out, and IBM was top dog yet again despite a 10 percent yearly decline in factory revenue, and soft demand for System x and Power Systems.

Factory revenue overall worldwide decreased by 6.2 percent – but still netted $11.9 billion for the second quarter of 2013 alone. This was the second consecutive year of revenue decline as demand weakened in most regions around the world, while server unit shipments dropped 1.2 percent to 2.0 million units, the third consecutive quarterly decline.

Volume systems dropped 2.4 percent, while midrange system demand decreased a chunky 22.3 percent. High end systems decreased 9.5 percent.

HP was just behind IBM with 25.9 percent of the market. HP also experienced a 17.5 percent decline in factory revenue, as well as poor demand for the x86 ProLiant servers and continued declines in HP Integrity demand.

Dell came in third with 18.8 percent factory market share for the quarter, but factory revenues were up 10.3 percent compared to the same time last year, pitching Dell at its highest ever market share.

Oracle stayed at number four, holding six percent market share, with factory revenue decreases of 5.7 percent compared to the same time last year. Cisco was fifth with 4.5 percent share, but experienced a 42.6 percent yearly revenue growth, putting it above last quarter’s tie with Fujitsu.

IDC’s GM for enterprise platforms, Matt Eastwood, said: “Mainstream SMB and enterprise server customers around the world continue to focus on consolidation, virtualization, and migration initiatives aimed at increasing efficiency and lowering datacenter infrastructure costs. At the same time, challenging economic conditions are dampening demand for new IT projects necessary to grow the server market globally”.

“It is clear that the competitive dynamics in the server market remain fierce as the leading server vendors work to offset weak demand for generally higher margin Unix and blade servers with lower margin rack and density optimised servers,” Eastwood said.

Dell and Oracle cosy up

kissThe partnership between Dell and Oracle appears to be getting closer.

For a while now Dell has been packaging Oracle software and services with hardware, while Oracle optimised services for Dell’s products.

According to Sourcing Focus, the relationship is hotting up.

The two companies are starting to share customer support and engineering support services. Oracle is now listing Dell as a preferred x86 partner for deploying its software. At the same time, Dell highlighted Oracle as a preferred enterprise software provider for its hardware.

Oracle Co-President Mark Hurd described the shared relationship between the two IT giants as: “We test it together, we patch it together, we support it together.”
What is odd about the relationship is that the pair sometimes compete in different markets. Ironically, by working together, they hope to get a general competition advantage.

Dell has to come up with some new ideas as it tries to get back its market share after a downturn in its traditional PC markets.

It is not clear what Oracle’s advantage is, particularly as it has its own hardware business which is also not doing so well.

Hurd admitted that this more of a win for Dell and that this expanded alliance will enable Dell to “gain significant market share by delivering to its customers an integrated, optimized solution designed to deploy business critical applications”.

Oracle’s new G Cloud data centre is for Oracle

consultoracleOracle’s claims that it will be opening a data centre to support the UK government’s G Cloud service for the public sector are perfectly true, but appear to be designed as a boon to Oracle rather than the UK as a whole.

While G Cloud could, of course, always do with more power, an Oracle spokesperson confirmed to ChannelEye that the data centre will primarily be for existing or potential Oracle partners.

“Oracle will make Platform as a Service available to Independent Software Vendors (ISVs),” the spokesperson said. “Oracle’s PaaS provides Oracle Database and Java as a service, hence will be available to ISVs who run on this Oracle platform”.

“These ISVs will likely be existing Oracle partners, but we of course welcome new partners to join the Oracle Partner Network,” the spokesperson added. “The ISVs themselves need to have their cloud services accepted onto the CloudStore catalogue”.

Although presented as a helpful boost to the British economy, the plan appears to be fully Oracle’s with a light dab of spin.

“This investment is funded solely by Oracle,” the spokesperson said, “justified through our internal business case criteria and assessment of market opportunity, and is being made in advance of any contracts or orders from government”.

Oracle opens data centre for UK G-Cloud

consultoracleOracle is opening a data centre in the UK to support the government’s G-Cloud procurement project, designed to provide more choice to public sector departments.

This data centre will be designed specifically to support cloud service provisioning within public procurement, including those procured through G-Cloud Framework and CloudStore.

In a statement, Oracle said the data centre will be compliant with the ILS information assurance standard, as required by government departments looking to use cloud services. Some independent software vendors will also be able to use the facility.

The company boasted it will bring further jobs to the Thames Valley area, where Oracle’s British HQ is based.

HP exile and Oracle president Mark Hurd said in a statement that Oracle is “committed to working with public administrations around the world” and that the company applauds the G-cloud programme, believing it to be a “significant step change in the provision of public sector IT services”.

 ChannelEye has approached Oracle for further comment, but has not received a reply at time of publication.

Enterprise software driven by Cloud, Big Data

cloud 2A report from IDC said the market for enterprise software worldwide showed conservative growth during 2012.

It estimated that the worldwide software market grew 3.6 percent year on year – half the growth rate of 2010 and 2011.

However, some market segments grew by between six and seven percent, including data access, analysis, CRM applications, security software and collaborative software.

IDC said that the management of information for competiive purposes is pushing along applications associated with Big Data and analytics.

From the vendor standpoint, Microsoft was the leader of the applications primary market in 2012 with 13.7 market share, followed by SAP, Oracle, IBM and Adobe. Of these vendor, IBM showed the highest growth rate.

System infrastructure software made up 27 percent of total software revenues but that only grew 3.3 percent during 2012, compared to the previous year.

Economic turmoil wreaks supply chain havoc

supply-chain-managementThe never ending economic crisis was to blame for more supply chain disruptions last year than insolvencies and horrible weather. According to a survey by Dynamic Markets, commissioned by Oracle, more than half of major companies in Europe, the Middle East and Africa (EMEA) suffered supply chain disruptions caused by economic woes.

Channel faces legal pitfalls after Oracle ruling

courtThe final appeal is out and Oracle has lost its appeal against a Californian judge’s ruling that it will have to keep porting its software to Hewlett-Packard’s Itanium-based servers.

But as the cleaners clean the blood off the court room walls, it is clear that the case will have some impact on the way suppliers do business.

The case centred on the so-called Hurd Agreement, which HP and Oracle negotiated after Mark Hurd left the company and joined Oracle. Oracle felt that the agreement was a statement that the two companies would work together as they did before their spat. Oracle co-President Safra Catz claimed that such a statement was a non-binding “public hug”.

The judge thought that public hugs should be considered legally binding, depending on who was doing the hugging. He pointed out you can’t write down a phrase like “Oracle will continue to offer its product suite on HP platforms … in a manner consistent with that partnership as it existed prior to Oracle’s hiring of Hurd” and hope that no one would take you literally.

“The sentence can only be reasonably interpreted as requiring Oracle to continue offering its product suite on HP’s Itanium platforms,” Kleinberg wrote.

It went without saying Oracle appealed, but other judges also nodded sagely and said that it did not matter what Ellison thought he had signed, the agreement was there in black and white.
While the situation is extraordinary, it could herald a new era of partner agreements.

The case effectively said that any agreement has to be written down carefully and mulled over by the legal team before it is signed. It also says that anything put in writing has to be looked at as if it was chiseled into Egyptian granite for all time.

While this might seem obvious, it clearly was not in Oracle’s mind it has some of the most expensive, er, best, lawyers in the world.

Already analysts are muttering that you will never see another “public hug” deal like this again. Every agreement between suppliers will have a start date and an end date.

This is one of the reason why the channel should be dusting off their legal contracts with their suppliers post haste. Many of them will find that they have signed vague expressions of love and devotion which could get them in hot water.

Some of these contracts are like a pre-nuptial agreement, which are signed when the partners are in love and only reviewed when they are arguing custody over the CD collection.

Software deals in particular can be problematic, which are particularly ripe for a major legal row when something goes wrong for a mutual customer.

Fortunately a lot of lawyers have written in clauses into such for the contracts to be reviewed, or renewed. The problem is that if they are not renegotiated it is possible, as HP did, to stand up and demand it be taken literally.

The Itanium case also proved that trying to get out of a deal with bad grace might also backfire. Oracle really hates having to support Itanium, but if it assigned its worst developers to make sure the porting was stuffed, Ellison could be back in court facing a contempt charge.

Because the court has become involved, Oracle is painted into a corner and must be a dedicated follower of Itanium. Its ability to duck out of the plan is even more restricted than Intel or HP.

No company would ever want their partner to have that much power over their business decisions. So it is probably better to check out what those old contracts look like before you pick a fight with your channel partners.