It turns out that Oracle’s new small appliance isn’t really an Exadata Mini-Me. Rather, the Oracle Database Appliance is — well, it seems to be a box with an Oracle DBMS in it. (Plus Oracle RAC and so on.) The whole thing is priced for and targeted at the SMB (Small & Medium Business) market, whatever that means to Oracle.
I’m not hugely optimistic about the Oracle Database Appliance. Rather, my thoughts — lightly edited from a chat with a reporter — include:
- This doesn’t solve Oracle’s SMB problems, which include:
- Oracle software is too difficult and costly to administer. The appliance will make a modest dent in that one, but it’s not any kind of game-changer, because the issues relate to the antique design of the Oracle DBMS. (I.e., I think ongoing database administration is a bigger deal than, say, one-time system set-up.)
- SMBs use third-party applications whenever they can, with an increasing preference for SaaS. Application and SaaS vendors prefer non-Oracle alternatives when they are feasible.
- Thus, Oracle is not well positioned to thrive in the SMB market … except maybe through its MySQL subsidiary, but that has a long way to go too.
- Clayton Christensen’s The Innovator’s Solution teaches us that Oracle should focus on selling a thick stack of technology to its highest-end customers, and that’s exactly what Oracle does focus on.