REVIEW: FlexPod, Oracle Exalogic converged-infrastructure gear

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Two top makers of converged infrastructure devices – FlexPod and Oracle Exalogic – rank well among their users, but they have important differences, according to customers who have used the products.

In this review, real users who are members of the IT Central Station community weigh the pros and cons of each solution, sharing their insights and feedback with other enterprise tech professionals. They outline each solution’s valuable features, but also suggest where they see room for improvement.

[ Check out our What is hyperconvergence? and learn whether your network and team are up to hyperconverged storage. ]

The two vendors compete in the area of converged infrastructure, in which a single box comprises networking, storage, compute and server virtualization. It’s hardware-driven, so that each component can be separated and used independently from the other components.

Steve Cox of Oracle: Cloud’s Lure is Return on Investment

return on investmentSmall Business Trends: Can you tell us a little about your role at Oracle and your personal background?

Steve Cox: Sure, I have been with Oracle Accelerate Global Programs for Oracle, focusing on two programs for applications with midsize customers, Oracle Accelerate and Oracle Business Accelerators. I joined Oracle in 1997 as a consultant and since joining, obviously I worked as a consultant. I did three years in product development and since 2003, I have been focusing on the midsize segment.

Small Business Trends: Can you explain what Oracle Accelerate is?

Steve Cox: Oracle Accelerate is Oracle’s brand and strategy for midsize applications. Partners who are members of the Oracle Accelerate program offer complete package solutions for customers that include our applications, rapid implementation tools and methodologies, their services and their Internet property.

Oracle Business Accelerators, are cloud-based rapid implementation tools developed and maintained by Oracle, and only available through proven and qualified partners.

Small Business Trends: You mentioned they are cloud-based. How does this help companies get up to speed and moving in the Cloud?

Steve Cox: Cloud computing brings companies within reach of the same powerful technologies and latest innovations that the largest companies in the world enjoy.

The Cloud can offer the ability to compete with these larger companies with lower cost. You create a configuration that allows customers to have the flexibility they need to maintain what makes them unique, and what gives them a competitive advantage.

Small Business Trends: How quickly are you able to help these companies get started?

Steve Cox: Most customers that I speak to move through five key phases on their journey. Oracle, and our Partner Ecosystems, provide support and professional associates throughout each of these phases. So that first step is aligning your organization’s business objectives and goals. Understanding those goals and aligning with how you are going to consume your software – whether it is in the Cloud or on the premise.

Then they need to use a cloud readiness service to reduce complexity and automation. Are you ready for the Cloud? Is your IT system ready for the Cloud? You should get complete implementation of migration services that can deliver the best practice and tools to help you succeed.

Small Business Trends: When you say, “ready for the Cloud, ” what does that mean?

Steve Cox: First thing is, you need to determine a return on investment on your IT project. Whether you are going to purchase applications in the Cloud, or whether you are going to move your IT back into the Cloud, or whether you are going to be able buy SaaS services.

You need to understand what would be the return investment. You need to invest to support growth. You need to understand the opportunities that the Cloud and any IT system provides. I think you need to understand the jargon:

  • How do you make the most of a limited project?
  • Where are you going to invest?
  • Do you have the right resources in place in terms of people, time, etc?
  • Where do you start?
  • What are your business priorities?
  • Where do you have to invest first, to get maximum return on the investment, maximum bang for the buck, if you like?

Small Business Trends: Are your customers and prospects looking to go to the Cloud to get to the next level? Or are they going so they can be more efficient?

Steve Cox: They are doing it for economic reasons. When you come to the Cloud, there is a lot of promise there that you can improve your return on investment. It can lower the cost of the adoption, and that is always on top of mind.

Small Business Trends: What are some of the biggest challenges that companies face when they make the move?

Steve Cox: I have never come across a company that plans enough. If your organization is expected to grow with a compound annual growth rate of 20% or 30% or more, what effect is that going to have on your priorities and challenges? What are you likely to be facing this time next year, or the year after?

The next question is what other resources available? Nearly everyone I have spoken to has a real good grasp of their budget. And then there is time. How long does it take for me to realize the return on an investment?

The next one really comes down to time scale. That is a measure of patience. When do I need to do this? Do I need to do this because my business is changing and I have to maintain competitive advantages? Or to improve it? Do you need to do it now, or can you look forward and say, “By this date I need to achieve X and Y.”

Small Business Trends: What functional area are companies really looking to the Cloud to get up to speed with?

Steve Cox: The Cloud option has a head start in CRM and human resources simply because it is a model that has lent itself to those two business areas. But I would say that in every conversation I have had with every customer and every partner, they look at it on a very broad basis and they tend to look across all the areas. They want the back office to front office solutions. They want to be able to support human capital management (HCM).

Small Business Trends: You have already laid out where you see things going over the next two years. Is there anything else that you see that will make this kind of move, something that midsize businesses in two years will not have to think as much about doing? Is going to be that easy in two years to do it?

Steve Cox: We have talked about the time scale, budget, business priority and challenge. I think it is going to be a lot easier to make the decision to adopt having made that adoption a lot easier. But it is still a decision you need to think about.

This interview about return on investment is part of the One on One interview series with some of the most thought-provoking entrepreneurs, authors and experts in business today. This interview has been edited for publication. To hear audio of the full interview, click on the player above.


Oracle and Google Set to Replay ‘World Series’ of Copyright Trials

Oracle and Google Set to Replay 'World Series' of Copyright Trials

Oracle Corp. and Google step before a jury a second time with potentially $9.3 billion on the line, and the prospect of profoundly changing how software is protected and licensed.The “World Series” of intellectual property, as the judge who presided over the earlier trial dubbed it, was left at a stalemate four years ago with Google’s Android trophy untarnished.

As the judge said then, there can be “only one winner” in the end. If that turns out to be Oracle, Google will have to pay fees for the operating system used in 80 percent of the world’s mobile devices.

The central question of the trial starting Monday in San Francisco federal court will be the same as in the last one: Did Google cheat by using part of Oracle’s Java programming language to develop Android without a license? Oracle, saying monetary damages alone won’t compensate for its loss, also seeks a court order “reasonably tailored” to the case that it says would put an end to Google’s infringement.

(Also see:  ‘Little Risk for Google in Retrial Versus Oracle Over Android’)Several potential witnesses are repeats from the 2012 trial, including Oracle founder Larry Ellison and Safra Catz, who became the company’s co-chief executive officer during the interlude. On Google’s side, CEO Larry Page may be there with Chairman Eric Schmidt for the company now called Alphabet Inc.

“This case has revived the possibility of using software copyright much more broadly than it had been used for the previous two decades,”said Tyler Ochoa, a professor at Santa Clara University School of Law who has followed the case closely since it was filed in 2010.

If Google wins, nothing much will change, Ochoa said, because software copyrights are limited in scope.

“If Oracle wins, software copyrights become much more powerful and much more important than they have been since the 1990s,” he said. An Oracle victory would make it more likely other software companies will try to use copyright to sue competitors, he said.

Even though Google came close to an outright win four years ago, it’s a “fool’s errand” to try to predict the outcome of the case with a new jury, Ochoa said.

Ochoa was one of 41 academics who agreed with Google that the code at issue didn’t merit copyright protection and urged the US Supreme Court to take the case.

The high court declined last year to intervene, leaving in place a federal appeals court ruling that the Java coding at issue is copyrightable and setting the stage for the new trial.

The case hinges on whether Google made “fair use” of 37 Java application programming interfaces, or APIs, when it developed Android. Java’s APIs are critical shortcuts that allow developers to write programs that work across software platforms.

The 2012 jury concluded Google infringed Oracle’s copyrights, but was deadlocked on whether the use was justified under the legal doctrine of fair use. Jurors will again be asked to determine whether Google’s use was permitted without Oracle’s consent. Google argues that was allowed, partly because it transformed the use of the code by adding something new rather than merely copying it.

Oracle didn’t obtain the rights to Java until January 2010, when it acquired Sun Microsystems for $7.4 billion, almost three years after Android was introduced.

Google has said it wasn’t until May 2010, after a meeting with Ellison failed to produce a “business relationship” over Android, that Oracle began “rattling its litigation saber.”

The search engine giant will argue that it wrote original code to build Android. In a filing, Google said it used Sun’s “free and open” Java programming language, and copied only the “labels attached to the 37 APIs.

Oracle will argue to the jury that Google made a business decision to copy “thousands of lines of Oracle’s computer code,” as well as the organization of Java’s APIs.

“When licensing negotiations broke down, Google faced a choice: It could forgo use of Java or it could copy Java without permission,” an Oracle spokeswoman, Deborah Hellinger, said in a statement. “It did the latter.”

By Oracle’s reckoning, Android has generated revenue of $31 billion and $22 billion in profit, which a lawyer for the company said shows the “extraordinary magnitude of commerciality” in Google’s infringement.

Both sides face risks in the new trial, according to Michael Risch, a law professor at Villanova University School of Law in Pennsylvania.

He said it will be “tough” for Google to establish that it made fair use of Oracle’s copyrights. But he voiced skepticism about Oracle’s attempt to link its damages claim to Android profits.

“The money is only big if you follow Oracle’s view of the world,” Risch said. “It’s not at all clear that the profits fall the way Oracle claims.”

© 2016 Bloomberg L.P.

Tags: Android, Apps, Google, Internet, Java, Lawsuit, Mobiles, Oracle, Tablets

Oracle Ordered to Pay HP $3 Billion in Itanium Case

Oracle Ordered to Pay HP $3 Billion in Itanium Case


  • HP’s Itanium processor is made by Intel Inc.
  • HP said it had an agreement with Oracle that support for Itanium would continue
  • ‘It was a clear breach of contract’, said HP

A California jury ordered Oracle Corp to pay Hewlett-Packard Enterprise Co $3 billion (roughly Rs. 20,235 crores) in damages in a case over HP’s Itanium servers, an Oracle spokeswoman said on Thursday.

Oracle said it would appeal the verdict.

The Itanium processor is made by Intel Inc.

Oracle decided to stop developing software for use with HP’s Itanium-based servers in 2011, saying that Intel made it clear that the chip was nearing the end of its life and was shifting its focus to its x86 microprocessor.

But HP said it had an agreement with Oracle that support for Itanium would continue, without which the equipment using the chip would become obsolete.

In the first phase of trial in 2012, Santa Clara Superior Court Judge James Kleinberg ruled that there had been a contract. The jury on Thursday decided damages.

“HP is gratified by the jury’s verdict, which affirms what HP has always known and the evidence overwhelmingly showed,” John Schultz, executive vice president and general counsel of Hewlett Packard Enterprise, said in an e-mailed statement, saying that Oracle’s decision to stop the software development “was a clear breach of contract.”

In a statement, Oracle general counsel Dorian Daley said the company had been providing all its latest software for Itanium servers since Kleinberg’s decision.

“Now that both trials have concluded, we intend to appeal both today’s ruling and the prior ruling,” Daley said.

© Thomson Reuters 2016

Tags: Hewlett Packard Enterprise, HP, Intel, Laptops, Oracle, PC