April 7, 2010

Thoughts on IBM’s anti-Oracle announcements

IBM is putting out a couple of press releases today that are obviously directed competitively at Oracle/Sun, and more specifically at Oracle’s Exadata-centric strategy. I haven’t been briefed, so I just have those to go on.

On the whole, the releases look pretty lame. Highlights seem to include:

Disappointingly, IBM shows a lot of confusion between:

While both highly important, those are very different things. IBM has not in the past shown much impressive technology in either of those two areas, and based on these releases, I presume that trend is continuing.


I see from press coverage that at least one new IBM model has some Fusion I/O solid-state memory boards in it. Makes sense.

A Twitter hashtag has a number of observations from the event. Not much substance I could detect except various kind of Oracle bashing.


14 Responses to “Thoughts on IBM’s anti-Oracle announcements”

  1. Serge Rielau on April 8th, 2010 8:41 am


    I was disappointed not to see you at the event.
    Those analysts and press who were there certainly did not indicate they found lame what we and more importantly the customers and partners on stage, had to say.
    In fact we had lots of good feedback on the DB2 pureScale and Oracle compatibility demos.
    Some jaws dropped when we enabled a (small) Oracle application live.


  2. Curt Monash on April 8th, 2010 9:29 am


    Honestly, if I’d been invited to the event, I would have been unlikely to fly cross-country for it anyway. I’m not big on mass events, and IBM evidently doesn’t seem to think it’s worth the trouble to brief me otherwise.

    As for jaws dropping because you demoed the Oracle compatibility you licensed a year ago from EnterpriseDB, who have shipped it for several years … OK. But that still doesn’t provide a new reason to use IBM technology over Oracle’s.

    Maybe when you have better technology IBM will choose to talk with me more about it.



  3. Curt Monash on April 8th, 2010 10:09 am

    Also — those press and analysts who were impressed — I assume they’re the ones who don’t write and don’t tweet? I haven’t seen much in the way of glowing praise from what’s been posted so far.

  4. Serge Rielau on April 8th, 2010 10:20 am


    I think we discussed the “licensed from EDB” part a year ago. So I won’t try again set the record straight.

    You are absolutely right that there is nothing new about the Oracle compatibility feature, except one small detail:
    There were a number of customers and partners on stage reporting how SAP and Oracle App migration worked for them.

    Of course it is not feasible to fly in a dozen or so customers and partners for a one-on-one briefing with an individual analyst.

    Aren’t real life proof points newsworthy anymore?

  5. Curt Monash on April 8th, 2010 11:11 am


    Among the press and analysts I most respect, IBM is a joke for its habit of announcing the same thing multiple times and claiming each reiteration is noteworthy.

    Other vendors do that too, but IBM is one of the worst offenders.

    Anyhow, the press releases talked a lot about ecology, performance, and so on, without persuasive details, plus partner financing. The latter is surely newsworthy for the partners. Otherwise, I didn’t see much substance.

  6. Todd Fin on April 8th, 2010 5:55 pm

    Curt, that was quite interesting.
    Serge, do you your homework before making bold statements here 🙂

  7. Curt Monash on April 8th, 2010 7:25 pm

    Peace, Todd. Serge is one of the good guys.

    A strong majority of his comments on my blogs are very helpful.

  8. Serge Rielau on April 9th, 2010 11:43 am

    Well, I’m I don’t expect analysts to sing high praises within in minutes of an event. That wouldn’t leave much time to analyze I suppose.
    A difference to the press.

    Just searching for #ibmsmartsys on twitter I quickly stumble upon Noel from Forrester.

    Now I don’t know who sees whom as how important or relevant in this world of opinion making.
    But I’m told he ain’t a pushover.

    Again, I’m just a techy who thinks what he does is far from lame. It’s no secret that I’m not a fan of IBM marketing.


  9. Curt Monash on April 9th, 2010 1:40 pm

    Yep, typical feed from analysts there. No opinion of his speaking favorably, really; just summarizing what was said.

    The actual presentations evidently were a whole lot of me-too, showing that IBM can run Oracle applications and/or can exploit bundled hardware configurations. In a few cases they showed that new IBM equipment ran things faster than old non-IBM equipment, or something like that.

    The press releases — i.e. the marketing messages — were worse than that. 😉


  10. Curt Monash on April 9th, 2010 4:58 pm

    By the way, Serge — calling a particular ANNOUNCEMENT “lame” isn’t the same as saying that about the whole product line. It’s just saying that the delta vs. what was known before about the product isn’t very large. 😉

  11. Conor O'Mahony on April 15th, 2010 10:55 am

    Hi Curt,

    The event was intended to:

    1) Reinforce that IBM has been successfully developing integrated hardware/software systems for decades.

    2) Announce the latest set of integrated systems. While these sytems are not necessarily ground-breaking from a new technology point-of-view, they do make it easier for clients to deploy systems, make it less expensive, make it easier to get support, etc. So there are tangible benefits for clients. The event really highlighted business value, rather than technology.

    3) Highlight the fact that IBM’s approach is fundamentally different from the Oracle one-size-fits-all Exadata approach.

    4) Show some of the cool work around workload-optimized systems that is happening in IBM Research.

    5) Let clients tell their own story about why they switched from Oracle to DB2, and what their experiences have been.

    On this last point… we didn’t want to be another vendor making loud and baseless claims. Instead, we let our client and partner panels tell their own stories. And this is where the meat of the event lay. In the stories that evolved as the audience at the event asked their questions about why those clients left Oracle, about their migration experience, and about the benefits they are now seeing.

  12. Curt Monash on April 15th, 2010 11:00 am

    Thanks for clarifying, Conor.

    Given that I wasn’t invited to the event (let alone prebriefed), I only had the press releases to comment on. (I’m sure space and attention are limited to the knowledgeable and influential database technology analysts.)

    But congrats to you for getting .005% or so of Oracle’s user base to successfully and easily convert to DB2. It’s a start!

  13. Conor O'Mahony on April 15th, 2010 11:18 am

    Regarding coverage of the event, I’ve seen coverage from 6 analysts so far. Here is the publicly available coverage:
    – Merv Adrian: http://mervadrian.wordpress.com/2010/04/14/ibm-gets-feisty-%e2%80%94-mobilizes-analytics-for-oracle-battle/
    – Judith Hurwitz: http://jshurwitz.wordpress.com/2010/04/13/ibms-hardware-sneak-attack/

    Again, please keep in mind that the intention was not to necessarily rock-the-technology-world with a ground-breaking set of technology announcements. It was to show in a very real way that our focus is on providing compelling business value to a diverse set of clients (from multiple continents), and to encourage everyone at the the event to openly and candidly discuss these topics.

  14. Nancy Kopp on April 21st, 2010 6:55 pm

    Hello Curt- I would be more than happy and certainly not troubled to make sure you are briefed more often by us at IBM. You have my personal apology. Please contact me at my email and that would give me a chance to introduce myself and we can establish a better way to communicate more often.

    Best Regards,
    Nancy Kopp Program Director, Data Warehouse Solutions, IBM

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