I’m attending a couple days of Oracle OpenWorld 2009. This won’t be quite live-blogging, but I’ll be updating this entry with more notes and observations as I get chance to add them. Update: Sections are in inverse chronological order, but within sections the notes are in forward order. I’ve also added details on the Fusion application suite demo and on the Treasure Island party.
Customer Appreciation Event (evening Wed Oct 14)
As a speaker I received a full conference pass, including a pass for the big party on Treasure Island. This was quite a privilege, as apparently Oracle employees (not even speakers) don’t get to go to this party.
[7:30pm] Hundreds of people are lined up to take chartered buses to Treasure Island. There’s apparently no parking there so buses and cabs and taxis are the only way for party guests on and off the island. We arrive and the place is big. Staggeringly big. Mind-bogglingly big. It’s like they’ve set up a county fair here for just one evening. There are two big tents each with several buffets, rows of booths with more food, more booths with an open bar, carnival midway games (ball tossing, whack a mole, darts etc.) with stuffed animals as giveaways, and carnival rides like a ferris wheel, a drop tower, swing carousel, etc. Oh, and then there was the music.
[9:15pm] Aerosmith arrives onstage at the outdoor theater. There are probably a couple thousand people standing in an open area in front of the stage, and there are a couple thousand more in bleacher seats around them. The bleachers are pretty tall, maybe 40 rows high. They even have luxury boxes at the top, for the conference sponsors of course.
There was more music than talk, but here are some choice quotes from banter with the audience:
We almost didn’t make it tonight, not because of the [B.S.] you heard about in the press, but because of some Mac event. But when we had to choose between Apples and Oracles we knew we made the right choice. — Steven Tyler
What’s the difference between Windows and viruses? Viruses keep getting better! — Steven Tyler [I think that joke would have worked better at the Apple party.]
This is the biggest frat party we’ve ever played. — Joe Perry
Not being a huge Aerosmith fan, I didn’t recognize several of the songs they played. But they did play their big hits. Here’s a partial setlist:
- Dream On
- Walkin’ the Dog
- Love In An Elevator
- Livin’ On The Edge
- Walk This Way
- Sweet Emotion (it looked like Perry played one note on a theremin)
— encore —
- Joe Perry live duel against his Guitar Hero avatar
- Train Kept A-Rollin’
[10:50pm] Aerosmith’s set ended, so I wandered over to where Roger Daltrey was playing. His stage was set up in a large indoor tent area. It wasn’t quite as large as the Aerosmith stage but there was probably space for a couple thousand people. Unfortunately the sets overlapped, so he was already in the middle of his set when I arrived. I did hear a couple songs: Ring Of Fire (Johnny Cash style) and Won’t Get Fooled Again.
Other bands up were the Wailers and Three Dog Night. It was getting pretty late at this point though so I decided to skip them head home.
Keynote (afternoon Wed Oct 14)
[2:30pm] The Moscone North foyer (bottom of the escalators) is incredibly crowded. The Oracle logo, is everywhere. Banners, carpets, every surface you can think of. It’s hard to believe this is the same place where JavaOne happens. It looks so different.
The shoe-shine stand is open. Hm, they didn’t have the shoe-shine stand at JavaOne. I wonder why? 🙂
[2:50pm] Charles Phillips, Oracle President. Roger Daltrey stepped on stage and said a few words; promo for tonight’s “customer appreciation” concert.
[3:00pm] Kris Gopalakrishnan (founder InfoSys, a platinum sponsor) spoke on IT innovation in industry. Gap between intent and action in IT innovation: 78% of banks think innovation is important, but only 37% have an innovation plan. IT is about interconnection. We no longer should think about a value chain, but a value web. “No man is an island” — similarly, no enterprise is an island.
[3:35pm] Larry Ellison takes the stage.
- Status update: Oracle Enterprise Linux and Virtual Machine. Very pleased with uptake. 65% of Linux installations running Oracle RDBMS run Oracle Enterprise Linux. Smaller percentages for Red Hat, SUSE, and others.
- Exadata 2: Sun/Oracle Announcement. This is a Linux/Intel box. Different from the Sunday announcement, which set the TPC-C records, which is a SPARC Enterprise T5440 machine running Oracle Database 11g on Solaris. (IBM is challenging Oracle’s claims of 16x their performance; they say it’s really only 6x the IBM machine’s performance. “They might be right. IBM also forgot to point out that their machine consumes 6x the energy of ours.”) Exadata 2 shows really impressive numbers. For example, a single rack Exadata 2 will do 1 million random I/O operations per second. Two racks do 2m, etc. Exadata 2 is fault tolerant, while IBM is not; Exadata 2 costs about a quarter of the competing IBM product; Exadata 2 is modularly expandable, whereas IBM’s need to be replaced entirely to be upgraded. “The fastest business computer that has ever been built.”
[4:00pm] Special surprise guest: Arnold Schwarzenegger! “This conference is about pumping you up.” California is the world’s technology leader. Technology can help reduce errors in medical care; can help fight global warming; biotech and stem cell research can help Alzheimer’s sufferers; can grow algae for ship fuel; electric cars (Tesla); improved efficiency in the power grid (Smart Grid). Acknowledges two great California technology companies, two great success stories: Oracle and Sun, Larry Ellison and Scott McNealy [applause]. Employers of 16,000 people in CA and 150,000 people worldwide. Wishes the combined companies great success. California’s state IT infrastructure also improving. GIS being used to help firefighters’ helicopters drop fire retardant more accurately even if the area is obscured by smoke. People’s lives and homes at stake. Confident in the future: we face enormous challenges that can be overcome with technological innovation. Global warming negotiation going on in Copenhagen. We hope this goes well but it’s a political negotiation. The real work is done here, in technology. “When this conference is over, don’t go home. Stay in California and spend money! We need the revenue!”
[4:30pm] Larry Ellison returns to the stage.
- New Product Support System. Proactive problem prevention. Keeps track of configurations; can alert potential problems experienced by other customers with similar configurations. Unification of Enterprise Manager and MyOracle service. A couple demos of service management by Richard Sarwal who has returned to Oracle from VMware.
- Fusion Applications. Customers have made a huge investment in Siebel, JD Edwards, Peoplesoft,etc. Committed to support these product lines for a decade. [Mild applause.] Oracle has $3bn R&D budget. Can maintain software you’re running today, but also develop new software you can migrate to tomorrow, next year, or in ten years. Fusion is brand new. SOA. Easily connected to existing suites. Fusion coexists with existing applications, can replace individual apps as needed or augment with new ones. Not developed in isolation; developed in close collaboration with customers. Has a “modern UI.” Enormous project: 6000 tables, 20,000 views. Fusion v1 code complete, in test with customers, will be delivered next year. Only suite built on standards-based middleware. All standards-based, all Java-based Fusion middleware. No custom components. UI is business-intelligence driven; “exception-based”. Steve Miranda, Chris Mayo: demo of Fusion. The demo included fixing a problem with an Exadata V2 order from Stark Industries. “We really need to fix this problem, because you know what happens when Tony Stark gets mad.” I don’t think anybody got the joke though.
[5:15pm] Session ends. I now have some dead time until the evening event. This is totally not a geek conference. There are bean-bag chairs at the foot of the escalators in Moscone North (kind of like JavaOne) but they’re only half occupied. Power and network are easy to come by. There are still guys getting their shoes shined.
Oracle Bloggers Meetup (evening Tue Oct 13)
Pythian sponsored a bloggers meetup at a bar in the Metreon this evening. Thanks to Alex Gorbachev for arranging it. Richard and I both went. This was pretty cool. We met a few Oracle folks there. There were also some Sun folks there (including blogger extraordinaire Tim Bray).
It’s not like this was a substantial session or anything but some of the conversations got me thinking about Oracle’s strategy in buying Sun. One perspective is that Oracle is an Enterprise Software company. After all, that’s what they do today, and they have a $23bn business doing it. From this standpoint Oracle would mine out Sun’s software assets (primarily Java) and jettison the rest. But that rests on the assumption that Oracle is simply going to continue to be an Enterprise Software company. That’s not necessarily the case. So, where will Oracle go next?
Some clues are emerging at OpenWorld. Sun hardware has played quite a strong role here. First there were the Sunday announcements of the TPC-C record on Sun’s T5440. Then there’s the Exadata 2 announcement, which is based on Sun hardware. (I’m writing this in retrospect, but Ellison’s Wednesday keynote segment on the Exadata 2 was all about hitting IBM repeatedly and very, very hard.) So maybe Oracle is no longer going to be an enterprise software company, but instead an enterprise systems company.
What does this mean for JavaFX? Of course, nobody knows for sure. But any enterprise systems company is going to have to figure out what to do about the client side. Will Oracle settle for open technologies such as Ajax, or will they rely on other companies’ proprietary technologies like Flash and Silverlight? When Ellison spoke at JavaOne he talked about how important Java and JavaFX are. So maybe that’s a hint at the answer.
Our JavaFX Talk at Oracle Develop (afternoon Tue Oct 13)
Richard Bair and I gave our introduction to JavaFX talk in the “Develop” stream of Oracle OpenWorld. The talk went pretty well. We deviated from the slides a lot though… Rich spent a lot of time typing live code into NetBeans and demonstrating immediate results. This actually went quite well. I think the audience (which consisted entirely of Java developers) appreciated the live coding exercise much more than slideware.
I did my part with a live demo of the JavaFX Production Suite, exporting artwork from Adobe Illustrator using the Suite, and bringing it into a simple JavaFX app in NetBeans and displaying and rotating it.
We were in a fairly small room (capacity 100) and there were about 25 attendees. This seemed small to us compared to JavaOne, where a small room fits 500. But I think this was typical for the Develop talks. While OpenWorld is a huge conference — I think I heard 37,000 attendees — it’s a business conference, not a developer conference. Oracle Develop was relegated to the “ghetto” of the Hilton San Francisco. It was crowded, but the space was much smaller than Moscone. I think Oracle Develop might have had only on the order of a thousand attendees. Compared to JavaOne, a developer conference that usually attracts over 10,000 and has had up t0 25,000, Oracle Develop is quite small.
Having a small audience had its advantages. There’s a lot less pressure, it’s more interactive, and while not quite intimate, it was easier to create personal connections with people in the audience. There were some good questions and a couple attendees hung around with us afterward and had in-depth conversations. I think they learned a lot from our talk, and in turn we learned a lot from talking to them. In that respect the talk was a success.