What You Missed At Oracle OpenWorld 20124:00 PM EST Fri. Oct. 12, 2012
Once again, San Francisco braced itself for Oracle OpenWorld and its 50,000 attendees. This year, the humongous show occupied not only the Moscone Conference Center, nearby Howard Street (seen here being transformed for the event) and the Yerba Buena Gardens as in the past, but a dozen other parts of the city such as Minna Alley and Union Square -- renamed "Oracle Square" for the week.
Attendees booked nearly 98,000 hotel room nights for the show and dropped an estimated $120 million in San Francisco during their stay.
Early attendees get registered on Saturday before the conference gets under way. Throughout the conference, Oracle executives referred to Oracle OpenWorld 2012 as the largest IT vendor-specific conference, even though rival Salesforce.com claimed an attendance of more than 90,000 at its Dreamforce conference in San Francisco just two weeks earlier.
Early Sunday in the Moscone Center before the start of the day's events.
Oracle CEO Larry Ellison delivered the opening keynote Sunday afternoon, unveiling plans to expand Oracle's cloud offerings to include Infrastructure-as-a-Service for public and private cloud applications.
Ellison also debuted the Exadata Database Machine X3, an upgrade of the database appliance that makes up Oracle's line of "Engineered Systems" that combine Sun hardware with Oracle software. Ellison also announced the Oracle Database 12c, the next generation of the company's flagship database software that's scheduled to ship in 2013.
The exiting crowd following Ellison's Sunday keynote was a big contrast with the empty steps just a few hours before. This area in Moscone North, outside the hall where the major keynote speeches were given, was often jam-packed throughout the day.
Following Ellison's speech, many attendees stuck around in Moscone North to check out the display of Engineered Systems, including the new Oracle Exadata Database Machine X3.
Here an attendee gets a demonstration of Oracle's SPARC SuperCluster server that's based on the SPARC T4-4 microprocessor. During Oracle OpenWorld, company execs disclosed that Oracle is working to develop the next generation of SPARC chips, the T5, which are now expected to be ready in 2013.
Earlier Sunday, during a number of sessions for members of the Oracle Partner Network program, Channel Chief Judson Althoff outlined a number of new initiatives to help Oracle's 25,000 partners expand into cloud services.
Topping the list is a new "specialization" for partners that builds private cloud systems based on Oracle technology -- particularly rewarding those that use the complete Oracle technology "stack." Partners can earn commissions on registered deals to sell Oracle's public cloud services. The Rapid Start Cloud Specialization provides systems integrators and resellers with Oracle expertise to build cloud solutions. And another initiative is designed to recruit ISVs to develop applications for Oracle's Platform-as-a-Service cloud service.
Almost as prevalent as cloud and Engineered Systems throughout the show were signs of the upcoming America's Cup sailing match races, one of the world's most prestigious sporting events. Ellison's boat won the trophy in 2010 and Oracle Team USA is preparing to defend the championship.
One of the boats being tested by Oracle Team USA was on display in Yerba Buena Park near the Moscone Center. Later in the week, another boat, #5, was moored at Treasure Island during the Customer Appreciation Event.
Throughout Oracle OpenWorld Yerba Buena Gardens was home to the America's Cup Pavilion and was one of the sites for the nightly music festivals. Performers included Joss Stone, Jimmy Cliff, The Hives, The English Beat, Astral, Macy Gray, The Crystal Method and Red Meat.
Singer Jimmy Cliff wowed the crowd at the Yerba Buena Gardens Pavilion Monday night.
In a keynote speech Monday and later in a press conference (pictured), Oracle President Mark Hurd outlined the four "pillars" of Oracle's strategy, the first being to develop "best-of-breed" products at every level of the technology stack, from storage hardware to applications. "Our objective is for each of those levels of the stack, each of those layers of the stack, to be the absolute best at the job they perform," Hurd said.
The other pillars are integrating those components into engineered systems, delivering the next generation of cloud applications, and using all that technology to develop industry solutions.
Oracle raised the curtain on Oracle Database 12c, the next release of the company's flagship database software that's expected to ship sometime in 2013. (The "c" stands for "cloud.")
While Ellison announced the new product Sunday night, Andrew Mendelsohn, senior vice president of database server technologies, provided details of the product's capabilities in a Monday presentation, including the new multitenant architecture that makes it optimal for cloud computing.
EMC CEO Joe Tucci (pictured) and Jeremy Burton, executive vice president, product operations and marketing, took the Oracle OpenWorld stage Tuesday to make the argument that "Big Data" represents one of the most transformative technology opportunities for businesses in at least a decade.
The two executives urged customers and solution providers to think beyond databases and consider bigger trends. "The intersection of cloud and big data has opportunity for each and every one of you," Tucci said.
John Fowler, Oracle executive vice president, systems, on Wednesday unveiled Solaris 11.1, the next release of the Unix-based operating system that Oracle acquired when it bought Sun Microsystems in 2010. The OS powers many of the vendor's top systems including the Exadata Database Machine and the SPARC SuperCluster T4-4.
Solaris 11.1 offers more than 300 enhancements including new cloud infrastructure features, what Oracle called "extreme availability" for mission-critical applications, and support for the new Federated File System (FedFS) standard for cloud-scale data environments.
Attendees needing a break could stop by the oxygen bar on the exhibit floor in Moscone South.
The Tranquility Lounge in Moscone South was another refuge for Oracle OpenWorld attendees seeking enlightenment -- or just a place to crash.
For those not into oxygen or Eastern religions, the Oracle Bookstore in Moscone West provided a place to escape.
The bookstore had a lot more than books, of course -- pretty much anything you could ever want with an Oracle logo on it.
The bookstore also offered -- surprise! -- Oracle Team USA sailing jackets.
The customer appreciation party on Treasure Island in San Francisco Bay is always a highlight of Oracle OpenWorld. This year Pearl Jam, in what was said to be the group's first corporate gig, was the headliner band. Also playing were Kings of Leon and the band "X."
Singer Eddie Vedder led Pearl Jam through some of the group's biggest hits including Even Flow, Black, Porch and Alive. Video of the band was projected on giant screens for a black-and-white noir effect.
In case anyone didn't get the message during the keynotes, these billboards on 4th Street conveyed the point that Oracle's major initiatives right now are cloud computing and engineered systems.