Friday, 5 February 2010

Oracle versus IBM and DB2

Oracle’s Larry Ellison threw down the gauntlet recently when he made claims about the superiority of Oracle over DB2. IBM has, of course, responded. Below are the Oracle claims and the IBM rebuttals. Enjoy!

ORACLE: "We blew the doors off of IBM. We crushed them." [Referring to TPC-C benchmark results] In a machine that took up less than 10% the floor space, of IBM's record setting computer. We ran faster, we ran a lot faster: using a tiny fraction of the floor space, a tiny fraction of the power, cost less."

IBM: Until late last year, DB2 enjoyed a massive 49% lead over Oracle. With Oracle's most recent result, they have taken the lead by 25% (and by the way, they used more than six times as many CPU cores to do it). We are confident that DB2 will retain its lead this year. Also, remember that DB2 has dominated TPC-C performance leadership over the past seven years, with almost twice as many days of leadership as Oracle Database.

Regarding the claim of using less space and power, this is a result of Oracle using flash memory and comparing it with an IBM benchmark using conventional disk technology. If Oracle compared its benchmark to an IBM system using flash memory, they could not make these outlandish claims.

For a more detailed look at Oracle's outlandish claims, see

ORACLE: "SAP chooses the Oracle Database to run under SAP in almost all their large accounts."

IBM: SAP themselves favor DB2 for their own systems. They operate more than a thousand SAP systems, and all of those systems run on DB2 ( Not only that, but the past couple of years has seen literally hundreds of SAP clients ripping out Oracle Database and replacing it with DB2 ( They have been migrating off Oracle Database and on to DB2 to lower costs, improve performance, and ease administration.

ORACLE: "We have the best Unix in the world"

IBM: AIX has demonstrated performance leadership with 7 of top 10 TPC-C performance results ( Also, the ITIC 2009 Global Server Hardware & Server OS Reliability Survey Results reveal that AIX is 2.3 more reliable than the closest UNIX competitor.

ORACLE: "The Oracle Database scales out, IBM DB2 for Unix does not. Let me see, how many servers can IBM put together for an OLTP application? Let's see, how many can they group together? Um, one. They can have up to one server attacking really big jobs. When they need more capacity, they make that server bigger. And then they take the old server out, put a bigger one in. And when you've got the biggest server, that's it. That's all the can do for OLTP."

ORACLE: "They can't scale out, they can't do cloud, they can't do clusters, the can't do any of this."

IBM: This statement has been false since the inception of DB2. DB2 Parallel Edition was brought to market in 1995, along with the capability to scale to a system of over a 100 Unix servers. DB2 for LUW scalability is proven in many of the world's largest OLTP environments. In fact, IBM believes that DB2 for LUW powers one of the largest OLTP system in the world, if not the largest ( As regards support for clusters, DB2 pureScale was introduced to market in 2009. For a cluster of 64 nodes, DB2 pureScale maintains 95% efficiency. At 128 nodes, DB2 pureScale maintains 84% efficiency. This is important because if you are growing a cluster to handle bigger workloads, you want your hardware to be doing productive work, not handling system overhead. On the other hand, Oracle RAC [Real Application Clusters] has a 100 server limit. And to my knowledge, Oracle has yet to publish any efficiency numbers.

ORACLE: "You would've thought, years ago, that IBM would have come out with a database machine. I mean its so obvious, they've got hardware, they've got DB2. Why in the world didn't they come out with a database machine? It's fascinating."

IBM: Remember that IMS and DB2 have made System z a database machine for more than 40 years. In recent years, IBM has also brought “database machines” to market. In 2005, IBM introduced an integrated offering for data warehousing that has evolved into the IBM Smart Analytic System. In 2009, IBM also introduced DB2 pureScale, an integrated hardware/software stack for OLTP.

ORACLE: "IBM doesn't have the same assets, and that's a big problem for them. They don't have Java, they don't have the Oracle Database. What they've got is a problem."

IBM: He's right. IBM does not have the same assets as Oracle. We have more. Oracle does not have System z, the world's top performing, most reliable and secure server; does not have business consulting arm such as 4,000 business analytics consultants with industry specific expertise and IBM Research - a leader in developing patents for the 17th year in a row.

ORACLE: "They're so far behind, I don't think they have any chance at all. I'm serious. I mean they've been working on this DB2 thing for I don't know how long, and they still can have up to one. I would say in database, they're a decade or so behind us. I'm serious."

IBM: IBM has led the industry in developing patents for the last 17 years. In 2009, IBM produced 4914 patents while Oracle did not even place in the top 50 patent leaders. A search of the US Patent office database reveals 1588 patents with "database" in the patent description while Oracle produced only 184 patents. (

ORACLE: "They are not competitive in the database business, except on the mainframe. The IBM DB2 product on mainframe is a good product. In fact the two best databases on the planet are IBM on mainframes and Oracle. The trouble is that Oracle runs on modern computer systems and IBM on mainframes runs on mainframes.

IBM: Larry is on record saying, "Our vision for 2010 is the same as IBM's in the 1960." IBM has added 50 years of experience in hardware software and services since then. Oracle is giving IBM the sincerest form of flattery by attempting to imitate IBM.

I just thought you’d like to know.

1 comment:

Kumaran said...

Nice debate for a company who is century old.