The Summer quarter is always a little less active than the rest of the year, but that won’t stop us for reviewing and analyzing the DBMS market in this edition of The Database Report. Let’s dig
right in… starting with Oracle.
Number 9, Number 9…
Oracle is keeping its promises regarding servicing its PeopleSoft customers and keeping the software updated and viable. Toward the end of the second quarter, in late June, Oracle released Version
9 of the PeopleSoft Enterprise application suite. Highlights of the new version include features that improve regulatory compliance and governance, CRM capability and usage improvements, and better
enterprise level planning capabilities. Additionally, support was added for additional vertical areas, including the public sector, health care, financial services, communications and higher
education. And in keeping with its integration intent, Oracle integrated PeopleSoft 9 with its Fusion middleware. The Fusion middleware allows applications that weren’t designed to interoperate to
run together. Keep in mind, though, that this is not the upcoming Fusion applications, though, that will combine Oracle’s acquired applications into an integrated suite. That “monster” is not
expected to be unleashed for another couple of years, sometime in 2008.
Later in the quarter, toward the end of August, Oracle continued its PeopleSoft overhauling by releasing PeopleSoft Enterprise Performance Management 9. This is the analytics portion of the
PeopleSoft suite. The focus of the release is similar to the applications suite released earlier in the quarter, providing additional integration, improved enterprise planning and forecasting
capabilities, and additional compliance capabilities.
What About Siebel?
Well, in mid-July Oracle announced that it found a buyer for the OnTarget sales consultancy that was part of the Siebel acquisition. This comes as no big surprise as Oracle had announced several
months ago its intent to sell the OnTarget business. The acquirer is Select Selling, a provider of sales training and sales methodology services. As a result, the combined company (Select Selling +
OnTarget) is renaming itself The TAS Group – the TAS stands for Target Account Selling. And good news for TAS, Oracle will establish a relationship with The TAS Group as a sales methodology partner
for itself and its customers.
The Latest on Fusion
In late August, John Wookey, the senior VP at Oracle in charge of applications development, spoke to Computerworld about Oracle’s on-going Fusion project. For those who don’t know what Fusion is,
it is Oracle’s on-going project to integrate and assimilate all of the acquired applications into a seamless offering. No small task, that.
In my opinion, these are the highlights of that interview:
- He reiterated that Oracle will offer support for its acquired applications until 2013 – and that is a long time in this industry.
- The target for delivery of applications using the next-generation Fusion technology is sometime in 2008.
- Oracle does not plan to push customers to the Fusion applications when they are available, but expects the technology will pull customers to it.
- Wookey claims that Oracle, with Fusion, will be delivering the first standards-based, commercially available applications all written in Java and XML.
As the Quarterly Patch Turns…
Oracle released its regular quarterly critical patch update on July 18th, offering fixes for 65 security vulnerabilities across its product line. Oracle’s July critical patch update provides
solutions for 23 problems in the database products, 1 for Oracle’s collaboration suite, 10 for Application Server, 20 for the e-business suite and applications, 4 for Oracle Enterprise Manager, 2
for PeopleSoft’s enterprise portal and 1 for the J.D. Edwards software.
CNET News reported that 27 of the 65 bugs were significant because they could be exploited remotely by an anonymous attacker. The good news, though, is that the patches fix the problems, so the
sooner everyone applies the patches, the better.
Oracle Warehouse Builder 10g Release 2
In late July Oracle announced the general availability of Oracle Warehouse Builder 10g Release 2. This is a database design and Extraction, Transformation and Load (ETL) tool for managing the
lifecycle of data and metadata. This new release introduces new data quality, integration and administrative features. The new data quality features include name and address cleansing and
match-merge (de-duplication) functionality. Another new feature of Oracle Warehouse Builder 10g Release 2 is the ability to design relational and OLAP database structures, making it easy to store
data in a common Oracle Database repository and offer users a choice of BI tools such as Oracle Business Intelligence Suite, spreadsheets, and many others. Additionally, following a recent trend
with Oracle database tools, Oracle Warehouse Builder 10g Release 2 now includes support for targeting non-Oracle databases.
Oracle also introduced new pricing and packaging for Oracle Warehouse Builder 10g Release 2. The core database design and ETL capabilities of Oracle Warehouse Builder 10g Release 2 are now included
with Oracle Database 10g Release 2 Enterprise Edition, Standard Edition, and Standard Edition One at no additional cost.
All is Not Quiet on the Acquisition Front
And if you thought that Oracle was done with its acquisition binge, think again. In late August, Oracle completed the acquisition of the intellectual property assets of Sigma Dynamics. The Sigma
Dynamics software offers real-time decision support offering customer insight into business requirements to foster better decision making capabilities. Oracle will promote the Sigma Dynamics
software in combination with Oracle Business Intelligence Suite and Oracle Fusion Middleware as a means for businesses to be able to combine both historical and real-time data sources to drive
Oracle plans to make the Sigma Dynamics offerings available standalone and in conjunction with Oracle’s full range of enterprise applications.
Financial details of the deal were not disclosed.
And What of Oracle’s Future Acquisition Plans?
In an investor meeting in late July, Charles Phillips, Oracle president, indicated that Oracle will continue to be on the lookout for additional acquisitions, but most likely smaller ones than its
acquisition of PeopleSoft, which cost more than $10 billion.
Evidently, Oracle feels as if it has come up with a good model for on-going acquisitions. The company will use specialist sales forces and development teams for its different product lines. In
other words, after an acquisition Oracle will add the acquired salespeople and developers to its operations in a way that minimizes disruptions to existing operations.
Phillips also hinted that future acquisitions may be made in the systems and network management space, and that Oracle is likely to deliver more software as a service offerings.
Additionally, and not surprisingly, Oracle indicated that it plans to win market share from its biggest rivals, such as SAP and IBM.
Phillips was not the only Oracle executive in a talking mood in July, so was the always entertaining CEO of Oracle, Larry Ellison. In an interview with Forbes Magazine, Ellison again talked about
Linux. If you recall, Ellison made news back in April when he talked to the Financial Times and said that Oracle should distribute and support a full software stack , including Linux.
The interesting “quote” is this: “What I said was that the interesting thing about open source is that the intellectual property is available to all of us. So what that means is that any company
can take the Red Hat Linux and use it at no cost, so long as they’re willing to support themselves. Well, that actually includes us.”
So it looks like Oracle might actually be interested in distributing Linux. When the interviewer asked Ellison what he will do with Oracle’s cash, he responded: “We can buy back our stock. We can
buy…I’ll give you a list. We can buy BEA and buy our stock back. Buy a lot of our stock back and buy Business Objects. Buy a lot of our stock back and buy somebody else.”
Interesting, no? If you’d like to read the Forbes interview it is available at: http://www.forbes.com/technology/2006/07/27/oracle-ellison-interview_cz_vmb_0727ellison.html
Oracle’s Quarterly Results
In mid-September Oracle announced its fiscal 2007 Q1 earnings. Earnings per share came in at 13 cents, up 28 percent compared to the same quarter last year. First quarter total revenues came in at
more than $3.6 billion, up 30 percent and net income for the quarter was up 29 percent to $670 million.
Total software revenues were up 29 percent to $2.7 billion with database and middleware new license revenues up 15 percent and applications new license revenues up 80 percent. Services revenues
also increased at $846 million, up 33 percent compared to the same quarter last year.
Discounting the impact of recent acquisitions and additional factors, Oracle’s net income rose 26 percent to $931 million compared with the first quarter of fiscal 2006, while revenue was also up
26 percent, and EPS grew 24 percent to $0.18.
All in all, it was a very good quarter for Oracle. Why? Well, according to the Motley Fool, Oracle’s sales growth (26 percent) “is very impressive for a company as big as Oracle.” And according
to Capital IQ, only 22 of the 298 companies with revenues above $2.7 billion in the year-ago quarter can match or beat Oracle’s 26 percent top-line, year over year growth.
And Up in Redmond…
Most of the news from Microsoft this quarter focused on the WinFS file system. This is the one that was supposedly going to be featured in the upcoming new Vista operating system. Well, Microsoft
dropped that and instead plans to include it with the next version of SQL Server (which is code-named Katmai).
What is WinFS and why is this news of interest? Well, ostensible WinFS was supposed to be a relational file system for Windows. Its intent was to deliver an information rich storage technology for
So, what happened? Well, the announcement, to me anyway, seems like the concept of WinFS is dying or dead. If it is a file system for the operating system what good will it do to include it with
And earlier, when WinFS was delayed the reason was that the next version of SQL Server was coming (that was SQL Server 2005, which is now available). Now we hear that WinFS is no longer in Vista
because another next version of SQL Server is coming. Sounds like problems to me… of course, we will have to wait to hear about Microsoft’s post Vista operating system plans. But for right now,
the focus is on delivering Vista and no one at Microsoft is talking about that.
Open Source and Related News
We have some news from the world of DBMS open source for the third quarter. First up is a joint press release from IBM and Sybase from early July. The two companies announced that Sybase Adaptive
Server Enterprise for Linux running on an IBM System p5 520 set a new transaction processing performance record for 2-core systems by delivering 81,439 transactions per minute (tpmC) on the leading
TPC-C benchmark. This new record beats the previous 2-core HP/Itanium2 and Oracle 10g performance record for Linux by 58 percent. It also beats the previous 2-core HP/Opteron and Microsoft SQL
Server performance record and is less expensive by 23 percent.
In other open source news, in late July Ingres announced that it had acquired Thinking Instruments, a German service provider. “The acquisition of Thinking Instruments serves as the latest
milestone in Ingres Corporation’s progress as an independent company,” said Terry Garnett, CEO of Ingres Corp. The acquisition will improve Ingres’ ability to reach European customers and
prospects. According to said Jorg Harnisch, former president of Thinking Instruments, “the acquisition will greatly benefit our customers because they will have at their disposal the resources of
a multi-national company intently focused on their customer satisfaction…” Harnisch remains with Ingres Corporation as vice president of emerging markets.
There was news on the MySQL front, as well. In late July, Solid Information Technology Inc. made the beta version of solidDB for MySQL available for download. Solid announced its intent to deliver
back in April and plans for the final production version of solidDB to be ready in the fourth quarter of 2006. If interested, SolidDB is available for download at http://dev.soliddb.com/download.
Also, there was a new release of MySQL, MySQL 5.0.24 Community Edition (GA). This release addresses some security issues and corrects several bugs. A complete list of changes available here:
In perhaps even bigger MySQL news, support for the BerkeleyDB engine is being dropped from MySQL. According to a post on the MySQL web site (http://dev.mysql.com/doc/refman/5.1/en/news-5-1-12.html), any existing tables that are in the BerkeletDB format will not be readable
from within MySQL from 5.1.12 or newer. You should convert your tables to another storage engine before upgrading to 5.1.12. I’m sure this is a reaction to Oracle’s recent acquisition of the
BerkeleyDB engine. Oracle acquired this engine when it bought SleepyCat Software Inc. in mid-February. This shouldn’t be too big of a problem for users because BerkeleyDB is not extremely popular
in terms of being used with MySQL.
Finally, for open source anyway, EnterpriseDB won the best “database” award at the Linux World show in late August. This represents the second consecutive year that EnterpriseDB has won this
award. For those who don’t recall, EnterpriseDB is an open source RDBMS designed to be compatible with applications written for Oracle.
Big Blue News
There wasn’t a lot of news to report at IBM, other than some rumors. In mid-July there was an analyst report that speculated that IBM might be looking to acquire Cognos, but nothing has come of it
yet. Such a move would be a significant acquisition for IBM, although it would bolster IBM’s already impressive business intelligence offerings.
During the quarter IBM announced its second quarter earnings, which rose 11 percent. This results was slightly better than analyst expectations. Even so, IBM executives recognized weaknesses in
IBM’s two biggest divisions, services and hardware.
IBM earned $2.02 billion ($1.30 per share) on revenue of $21.9 billion. The consensus analyst estimate was for earnings of $1.29 per share. After the earnings announcement, IBM shares rose 1.5
percent in extended-session trading. In the same period last year, IBM posted earnings of $1.83 billion, or $1.12 per share, with revenue of $22.3 billion. Keep in mind, though, that quarter
included one month of PC sales before the PC group was sold to Lenovo.
Revenues from Software (the third largest product line at IBM) were $4.2 billion, an increase of 5 percent as reported and adjusting for currency compared with the second quarter of 2005. Revenues
from IBM’s middleware brands, which include WebSphere, Information Management, Tivoli, Lotus and Rational products, were $3.2 billion, up 4 percent versus the second quarter of 2005. Operating
systems revenues decreased 6 percent to $558 million compared with the prior-year quarter. Revenues from other software and services increased, led by solid growth in the Product Lifecycle
Management portfolio of products. Revenues for Information Management software, which includes DB2, increased 6 percent.
And In Other DBMS News This Quarter
In other news, early in September Sybase announced that it plans to acquire Mobile 365, a messaging firm. Sybase secured Mobile 365 in an all cash deal for $425 million. Mobile 365 supports
inter-carrier multimedia message service (MMS). MMS is a standard for a telephony messaging systems that allow sending messages that includes multimedia objects and not just text messages. The
company currently powers several MMS interoperability agreements between various U.S. carriers, including Verizon Wireless, Cingular Wireless and U.S. Cellular. Upon completion of the deal, Sybase
plans to operate Mobile 365 as a Sybase subsidiary under the brand Sybase Mobile 365.
That concludes our report for the third quarter of 2006. It was a slow quarter, but that is not unusual over the Summer months. Be sure to check in again with The Database Report next quarter for
an update on what is happening in the DBMS market.