Oracle finds a way to make each OpenWorld conference quite different from all the others.  This year the huge crowds were gone and little that was unexpected or all that dramatic was formally announced.  At the same time it became crystal clear that when complete, the Sun Microsystems acquisition will propel Oracle into a very different role in an industry that it now hopes to seriously disrupt. 

The conference opened with Sun Microsystems founder Scott McNealy recapping the glorious history of Sun (leaving out any explanation of why it was necessary to shop the business around).  When he brought Larry Ellison on the stage, an explanation of how the two businesses might fit together seemed likely.  Instead we got a detailed view of the first joint product offering along with promises not to dump any of the key technologies that Sun will bring to the combined entity.  The big surprise was a vitriolic attack on IBM that left no doubt as to who is now at the top of Ellison’s least favorite competitor list. 

Ellison returned to the stage Wednesday afternoon for his scheduled annual keynote and as noted in a previous posting he provided the first look at the long awaited Fusion Application suite.  Even that, however, had to wait until he spent more than 30 minutes once again hyping hardware – this time a second generation of a high-end storage and processing engine tuned to run Oracle’s database and anything that uses it at blinding speeds.  It was abundantly clear that at this instant in time Ellison is personally fascinated with the prospect of shaking up the hardware market and that other issues interest him less. 

The Fusion discussion was fascinating and will be the subject of a number of future postings after I do some more homework.  To net it out, the first production release of Fusion Applications will arrive next year, likely by summer.  Finance, Distribution, HCM and CRM will be included on day one but not Manufacturing.  The main selling points offered were: 

  • As the first true SOA built app suite Fusion will be exceptionally easy to integrate.
  • Business Intelligence will be built in and will not require an external infrastructure.
  • A new user interface will focus the attention of users on dealing with problems and exceptions. 

None of the opinions I offered a few weeks ago about the impact of Fusion on the JDE community were changed by what Ellison presented this week.  I do not believe that Fusion will represent a viable alternative to JDE until 2012 for nearly the entire installed base. 

I have lots more information from OpenWorld to share so stay tuned.  It will take me a few weeks to get it all digested and turned into posting so please be patient.

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