My grandson’s first grade class often starts the day with show and tell time.  The same is true for the keynote sessions at OpenWorld.  As I write this Michael Dell is up at the front of the class telling an embarrassingly small percentage of the 40,000+ people here about Dell’s product line.  Right now he is droning on about the C4-10X a server featuring 7,000 microprocessor cores with 16 teraflops of power.  Does he really think that very many of us traveled to San Francisco to hear vendors other than Oracle talk about the esoteric features of their product lines? 

Every single keynote at OpenWorld has started with a vendor presentation.  HP, Fujitsu, and Intel have already taken turns.  Infosys gets the stage before Ellison returns later.  Among them Intel came the closest to making an interesting presentation that conveyed information that might actually be useful to some of the attendees.  The rest were painfully poor and completely out of tune with the needs of the audience.  Sadly, I am sure that each of these vendors paid Oracle a great deal for these slots. 

Oddly, Oracle has made no coherent attempt to explain itself to a huge captive audience of its customers and vendor ecosystem.  Plenty of sessions deal with the esoteric details of specific products but nothing has been presented to tie it all together.  I came here hoping to learn what has changed at Oracle now that it is a full-fledged hardware vendor and how it intends to play that role.  Understanding what Fusion Applications are and how they will impact existing customers was my second priority.  Learning what Oracle thinks about the big issues of the day in IT was also a goal. 

So far, Oracle is 0 for 3 with Ellison due up to bat this afternoon.  The vendors who paid so much for my attention are also 0 for 3 with a last one due up as a warm up act for Ellison.  The customers I have talked to here share my disappointment. 

The one theme of consequence that has come out of the conference so far from Oracle can be stated over-simplistically as: Public cloud computing – bad, Oracle based private cloud computing – good.  A good article reinforcing this view can be found on the CRN web site ( ). 

Oracle is not making it easy to figure out what it is up to here, but I am not one to give up easily.  I intent to plug away until some semblance of clarity emerges.  Please be patient until then.