Technology leaps forward at the redemption of innovation and execution. The IT sector has witnessed the medley of competition and growth over the past 10 years. The times when the major business vectors changed invariably, "innovation" fueled up and kept the momentum going. Almost every organization has been hitting the brains to ignite new approaches to be on the cutting edge in the market. Realizing the need of the hour, organizations not only focus on the nourishment of ideas from adolescent to maturity level, but they do make planned investment on the cultivation of innovation and exhibit in the work culture. Even though many organizations started off fairly well but soon followed the down trajectory due to redundant services, lack of newness in offerings, ability to sustain in market, and retain their customer base.
Out of its contemporaries, Oracle was one of those companies which has rose from rugs to riches over the last three decades. Technology led innovation and business led forward thinking has brought inevitable sustainability and global visibility. While the technology led innovation helping it to open new areas of development, the business led forward thinking drove the business and be live in the news. These driving factors cohesively helped the organization to be in pace with the growing demands of software industry. Strategic acquisitions expanded the business verticals and patched in loyal customer base.
The Oracle way
The story of business and technology led innovation has not been a single day magic in Oracle. Its the gist of rigorous brain storming, market evaluation, calculated risks and eventful releases. I think the Oracle logo tag is the best highlighter of renaissance and focus. There was a time when Oracle was satisfied with the tag "The Information Company" which very well demonstrated their focus on software and services. It was the time when the RDBMS solution was a stabilized product in the market and reaching out well to the customer's trust who were seeking database solution for semi or unstructured data, maximum availability and sustainability. Many new products in Oracle were still at niche stage and creeping into the market with mixed responses. Once the focus radar shifted from software to hardware, the Oracle logo was tagged as "Software. Hardware. Complete". It was the time for the boxes to deliver and lead the business innovation. Very soon, the tag was re framed as "Hardware and Software - Engineered to Work Together" to flair the essence of engineering in the service.
In the database vertical, the key focus since 9i version has been on to enhance scalability and compatibility. The 10g and 11g database releases were solely based on grid infrastructure and undoubtedly, the cluster solution has done pretty well. The steady key factor over the period has been the technology exhibition and innovation. The technology in the boom was well nurtured, cultivated and cascaded over the complete product stack. With the arrival of cloud computing, not only the fusion middleware product are compatible, but the database product and application will also take the charge of its execution.
Let me briefly highlight the latest trends in technology as seen by Oracle in the recent past. I shall base my focus on few of the intrinsic accomplishments by Oracle in the recent times - Oracle's cloud, Engineered systems and Big Data technology.
Oracle Exa Engineered Systems: Processing 'Within the box'
With engineered systems, the technology peeps back into the time from where we started. Recall the ENIAC - the first general purpose computer capable of computing everything what one can think of. An engineered system today differs from ENIAC only on objective grounds. It is more focused towards the target, well engineered and cost efficient too. Companies like Netezza and Teradata signaled the emergence of data warehousing product stack with both hardware and software. Oracle, in collaboration with HP, unveiled its first database machine during OOW '2008. Later in 2010, with the landmark acquisition of Sun Microsystems, Oracle replaced the HP machines with Sun servers. Since its inception, the engineered systems have sung the fables for Oracle, crediting to the market capture and the business involved. Within the span of four odd years, Oracle announced the third release of database machines. During OOW '2012, CEO Larry announced the availability of X3 exadata machines as "If you thought the old Exadatas were fast, you ain't seen nothing yet".
Currently, Oracle offers six products under engineered systems category. The Oracle engineered system family includes Exadata (Database machine), Exalogic (Elastic cloud), Exalytics (In-memory machine), Oracle Database Appliance, Oracle Big Data Appliance, and SPARC super cluster T4-4. Apart from specific product features, the common characteristics of engineered systems is manageability, low TCO, reduced change management request (CMR) and single vendor support.
Exadata is the database machine which puts together the strengths of computing, storage, and networking in a single portfolio. It works on RAC infrastructure and employs advanced features like hybrid columnar compression, smart flash cache, intelligent storage and storage indexes for tremendous performance. Exadata machine comes in two flavors namely, X3-2 and X3-8 which differ in the system capacity and configurations. In addition to the flavors, exadata machines can be procured in quarter rack, half rack or full rack. Exadata machines find their application in OLTP environments where the database layer is expected to be highly optimized with extreme performance.
Oracle database appliance is the micro version of exadata which concentrates on simplicity and affordability of the product. The ODA box is equivalent to quarter rack exadata but its key focus is on the installation simplicity and management with minimal expertise. Troubleshoot operation follow a new automatic scheme known as ASR (Automatic Service Request) - an SR is automatically raised for certain hardware faults.
As exadata is for database, exalogic is for fusion middleware. The exalogic is used for running middleware applications and exhibits all the positives of an engineered system. The exalogic system promises substantial performance gains with application hosted on it, thereby assuring low latency and high throughput. Once again, as exadata is for database, exalytics is for analytics. Exalytics is the engineered system which works with business intelligence and in-memory database techniques for data analysis, business planning and modeling. Quite often we see an exalytics box coordinating with an exadata machine to work upon the data for business reporting purposes.
Big Data: The thought on the rolls
Today, the definition of "data" is conversely getting closer to that of "matter" - it can be created, but not destroyed. The massive data from social media like facebook and twitter, blogs, emails and responses - sources all together generate humongous amount of semi or unstructured data on daily basis. The challenges identified by Web2.0 firms and technology evangelists was to store the data, process it and analyze for business forecasting. The need to hold the big data provided strategic roadmap for developments revolving around big data. Seeing the efforts and investments, it is unarguably marked as the next revolutionary technology in the IT sector.
Oracle Big data platform offers a fully integrated and highly capable engineered system to execute big data strategy through a comprehensive software stack. The product portfolio consists of cloudera's hadoop solution, Oracle NoSQL database, big data appliance, big data connectors, and engineered machines like exadata and exalytics. Each component in the product portfolio is designated with a specific task. Cloudera's hadoop and NoSQL database take up data processing and distribution. The exadata machine gets loaded with the organized data through Oracle loader (OLH), direct connector for HDFS, or data integrator for hadoop. Exalytics and Oracle R head the analysis part. The process workflow is to "acquire" big data through channeled sources, logically "organize" it and finally "analyze" it for business purposes. The big data processing activity is carried out at a predictable performance i.e. low latency and high throughput and ensuring maximum availability at the same time.
The consolidated product portfolio strongly glimpses the power of cohesive engineering and implementation. Single vendor support for complete product stack adds to the product features.
Oracle Cloud: Reaching out to the sky
Cloud technology is the product of rapid and invariable technology dynamics to beat the process of demand and supply. Cloud can be best defined as - technology at your doorstep, anywhere, anytime. Increasing IT demands pushed the software vendors to think on having a "bench" of IT resources which can be securely accessed by the consumers to utilize a resource as service. Putting up all together - cloud is a computing paradigm which offers a multi tenant environment for IT resources like computing, networking, storage, and business apps in order to provide wide range of access to the customers. The benefits of cloud services would be visible in data centers with enhanced operational efficiency, and low IT cost.
Oracle, being an enterprise software provider, has accrued well to the cloud technology by appropriate positioning and adopting the transition. Though the cloud related developments like EM12c and public cloud did started around two years ago, but major announcements were held for the time. During Oracle Open World 2012, CEO announced that Oracle Cloud offering for a rich and wide spectrum will comprise of Software as a Service (SaaS), Platform as a
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