Sunday, May 15, 2011

Oracle Throws Another Jab at HP

If you are running your business on HP Itanium servers and Oracle software, what can you do?  Do you have to move to Oracle/Sun servers and Oracle Exadata?

Oracle drops Itanium support at customers’ expense
In 2008 Larry Ellison announced the new Oracle Database Machine and Exadata Storage Servers based on HP hardware. In January of 2010, after Oracle’s acquisition of Sun, they immediately dropped support for HP hardware and told all customers that they had to move to the Sun/Oracle Exadata System. In March of 2011 Oracle threw another jab at HP with the announcement that Oracle was stopping all future support for their software on Itanium processors, the base on many of HP’s most popular servers.

You decide what software and hardware you want to run (not Oracle)
Because of Oracle’s track record with HP servers and storage, many customers are concerned about the future of the systems and applications that they are using to run their businesses. Oracle would have these customers believe that they need to move the application servers, databases, etc. to Sun hardware so that they can continue to run their applications, but that is absolutely not true, and I’ll tell you why.

Fear Not the Oracle
IBM WebSphere and DB2 software both run on Itanium processors. WebLogic works great with DB2 and WebSphere supports Oracle Database. So you have a number of options, and none of them require you to immediately rip and replace all of your servers. If you are running Oracle WebLogic or the Oracle Database on an Itanium based server, you could:
  1. Replace WebLogic with IBM WebSphere which supports Itanium processors and continue to run on the same servers
  2. Replace Oracle Database with DB2 which supports Itanium processors and continue to run on the same servers
  3. Replace WebLogic with IBM WebSphere and Oracle Database with DB2 and consolidate them onto a single Power7 server,  reducing your data center footprint and increasing performance

You don’t even need to do this in a big bang approach. You choose which part of your application landscape to leave on HP Itanium and which part you might consider moving to another platform. You choose which application server and database to use and what platforms you want to run them on. Most importantly, you can make the right moves and not disrupt your entire business.  (Read the executive take on these options here). 

And if you must change server platform, consider IBM
If you are being forced to change server platform, then consider IBM one of your options.  IBM offers the industry’s leading server platforms (Sun comes in a distant and dwindling third place in market share).  When you combine IBM’s commitment to meetings its client needs, with its pace-setting performance and reliability, you provide your organization with the best option for future stability and growth.  Running IBM software on IBM servers is the best option of all!

IBM can help take the pain away
Migration to IBM WebSphere and DB2 is painless and very low risk.  Even if you were to move to an x86 based HP or Sun server and not change any of the software, you would need to recompile and rebuild your application.  Take a look at your options, the cost and risk associated with each, and then look at the track record of the companies involved.   Why not assess the predicament that you are in and ask why you are here. It looks to me like Oracle unilaterally put your company into this situation.  It’s time to distance yourself from the culprit.

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

When IBM Innovates, Everyone Benefits - Oracle Make Everyone Pay

When Oracle beta customers were testing Oracle Database 11gR2 many were praising the new fangled columnar compression that helped reduce their databases to a more manageable level. Many of these customers used the beta code on their existing test systems and their test data to see what benefits they would get when they upgraded to the latest release.

Imagine their surprise when Oracle thanked them all for their loyalty and testing, and restricted the use of hybrid columnar compression to "Exadata Only" systems, when the beta showed that this capability is built into the Oracle Database software, and has no reliance on Exadata at all.

Oracle will even let you backup a table space on Exadata that has data that is columnar compressed and restore it to a non-Exadata server. You cannot query or access this data after the restore, but if you alter the table and "un-compress" it you can. This also shows that the Oracle Database can read and understand the columnar compressed data.

IBM on the other hand makes enhancements available to existing customers, on their existing platforms. When index, XML, and temporary table compression were introduced in DB2 9.7, all existing DB2 customers could immediately take advantage of these enhancements when they upgraded to this release.

Who would you rather do business with?  The company that innovates and makes these enhancements available to all customers, or the one that adds features, but restricts access to only those that buy new hardware and specialized software licenses that are not even needed for the feature? 

Monday, May 02, 2011

IBM benchmarks against today's latest and greatest. Oracle benchmarks too - against yesterday's best

Be careful what you believe – Google is your friend

Before you take what you read to heart, check the facts. In the past month or so, Oracle has been making a lot of noise about Linkshare’s migration from a DB2 data warehouse to Oracle Exadata.  While Linkshare did not explicitly mention that they had been running on an older DB2 system (with older hardware), the articles do say that “A Google search of past LinkShare coverage turned up several article references to a conventional DB2 database deployment in a clustered Linux environment.” 

If you read Oracle’s press releases when they discuss the performance of Exadata, you would be led to believe that “Exadata met that benchmark out of the gate”. But, if we dig a little deeper into this, Google shows us that Linkshare employed the services of the Pythian Group to help the migration. And the Pythian group provided “LinkShare with consulting and technical expertise for the planning, configuration, deployment, management, administration and ongoing operational support of their migration project. This includes re-engineering the database, adjusting the data model, redefining table structures, creating new indexing schemes and re-writing and tuning SQL queries, among other tasks.”

I might be in the minority here, but out of the gate does not mean after paying a highly skilled consulting team for months to re-engineer the whole database schema to work on Oracle RAC / Exadata, and re-writing / tuning queries that would not run fast enough.

At IBM we know that our workload optimized systems are the easiest to use, and the fastest in the industry. We compare ourselves to the latest and greatest competitive offerings all the time, not to 5 year old systems running software that is 3 or more releases behind the times. Check out this link for an interview with Steve Mills where he discusses one of these tests.

In my opinion the proof is in the pudding. Do not trust press releases,  do not let vendors run benchmarks on their site…  Always