Sunday, 18 April 2010

IBM-Oracle face-off

Having upset the open source community by legal action against TurboHercules, and worried its own customers and made life very interesting for third-party software vendors by counter-suing NEON Enterprise Software, IBM has now taken a swipe at the Oracle-Sun alliance by more the more conventional method of offering its own hardware and software to compete with their product.

IBM recently announced a new range of integrated systems for large-scale data analysis, which is clearly an attack on Oracle’s Exadata platform. Exadata first appeared in 2008, when Oracle partnered with Hewlett-Packard for the hardware. The 2009 V2 was meant to run on Sun servers. Exadata is an OLTP (OnLine Transaction Processing) database machine that Oracle claims is the world’s fastest machine for data warehousing and OLTP. By “world’s fastest” they, of course, mean faster than any IBM offering! As well as Oracle’s database and storage server software, it used Sun servers and FlashFire solid-state technology.

IBM’s response includes the pureScale application system plus Smart Analytics for System z and x86 machines. IBM is saying things like “deep compression” to reduce storage needs and an ability to handle “enormous amounts” of data. The pureScale application system comprises Power7 servers, WebSphere Application Server (WAS), and DB2 pureScale software. The Smart Analytics offering integrates Cognos BI and InfoSphere data warehousing software to handle business intelligence needs.

The mainframe Smart Analytics System 9600 is based on a System z10 Business Class (BC) mainframe with two logical partitions in a base configuration. There are six versions – the base 9600 has z/VM to manage the partitions and runs z/OS in one partition and Linux in another. The z/OS partition comes with DB2 and DB2 Utilities Suite for managing and tuning the database. The Linux part has Cognos 8 analytics and InfoSphere Warehouse.

Now in my opinion, this is a much better way of doing business – competition rather than litigation. Ordinary people – you and me, I mean – can then choose which they’d prefer, and go out and buy it (or rent it, or any of the other business models). With litigation, customers might be afraid that the products they have bought may become unlawful, or the company they bought from may be forced to cease trading, or they get so locked up in the court case that no further development of the product takes place. Now the cynical amongst you might suggest that that’s exactly what IBM hoped to get out of bringing in the lawyers. Maybe we really are returning to a climate of FUD (Fear, Uncertainty, and Doubt). Let’s hope not!

No comments: