Mark Hurd: The Oracle Of The Channel

Mark Hurd lays the foundation for Oracle's channel charge

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If there is one product that represents just how dramatically Oracle has changed its sales march it is the Oracle Database Appliance. The product represents everything channel partners wished for when Oracle acquired Sun -- a system that Oracle hopes will redefine database price/performance in the broad SMB market. Database projects that used to take three weeks to design and implement on industry-standard servers now can be rolled out in three hours with the Oracle Database Appliance, according to partners. It includes pay-as-you-grow licensing flexibility and one-button support from Oracle that does away with the finger-pointing that had become far too frequent in database application rollouts. And that’s all with a starting price for the hardware at $50,000. Rhos Dyke, executive vice president of sales at Cloud Creek Systems, a Westlake Village, Calif., Oracle partner that up until now eschewed hardware sales, expects to double his company’s sales to $20 million in 2012 based largely on the strength of the Oracle Database Appliance. “I haven’t sold hardware since 1985 with Prime Computer, which doesn’t exist anymore,” said Dyke. “I don’t know anything about selling hardware. But this is not about hardware. What Larry [Ellison] has done is change the conversation. It’s not about bits, bytes, CPU speed and IO. It’s a case of one plus one equals three.”

The price/performance gains from the Oracle Database Appliance are going to “smoke” industry-standard server vendors, said Dyke. The first Oracle Database Appliance sold by Cloud Creek was purchased for $50,000 by a call tracking services company that determined it would have needed to spend $260,000 on an industry-standard server solution. And even at $260,000 there was no guarantee the company’s database solution would run as efficiently as on the Oracle Database Appliance.

Wade Nicolas, president of Enkitec, an 18-year Oracle services partner in Irving, Texas, that has added hardware to its mix with the Oracle Database Appliance and Exadata, expects to triple his Exadata business and sell as many as 250 Oracle Database Appliances this year. “The Oracle sales folks are all over us to help drive the Database Appliance business,” he said. “They are putting a big channel focus around it with actions that back up the words. We are very optimistic.”

The Database Appliance puts industry-standard server vendors into a hole that will be difficult for them to dig out of, Nicolas said. “They are going to have to come up with some kind of answer to this [product],” he added. “I don’t know what it is because they don’t own the stack. Customers are not going to pay them anymore to put this stuff together. They are going to expect it to come out of the box.”

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