OpenWorld: Oracle Expands x86 Infrastructure Reach With Dell Relationship

Dell on Wednesday expanded on its budding Oracle relationship with the integration of Oracle management software for Dell solutions, as well as other software and services offerings, in a move that could make it easier for Oracle to expand its presence in the cloud.

Dell CEO Michael Dell unveiled the new Dell-Oracle integration and expectations for further integration going forward during a Wednesday keynote at the Oracle OpenWorld conference.

Dell is finalizing a move to take the company private as a way to transform it into an enterprise solution-focused organization, and Michael Dell in his keynote said his company has invested $13 billion over the last five years as part of that goal.

[Related: New Dell-Oracle Alliance To Bring Engineered Systems To Dell Customers, Partners ]

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"We have to invest for the next five, 10, 20 years. ... Dell's a company 100 percent focused on the customer and investing in their success," he said.

Dell is pushing hard to get a bigger stake in the data center, said Rick Gouin, CTO of Winslow Technology Group, a Boston-based Dell partner.

"An enhanced relationship with Oracle adds legitimacy to Dell's goals," Gouin said.

An enhanced relationship between the two could also help Oracle be more relevant in the cloud, wrote Paul Teich, senior analyst at analyst firm Moor Insights & Strategy, in a Wednesday research note.

Oracle's 2009 acquisition of Sun Microsystems gave Oracle both SPARC-based and x86-based server lines, but Oracle has since focused its resources on developing the SPARC side of its hardware, Teich wrote.

However, he wrote, "Oracle has not yet managed to become a credible public cloud infrastructure supplier or even a credible multi-tenant hosting or private cloud infrastructure supplier. These server markets today demand x86 processors, and at a much lower pricing structure than Oracle's SPARC-based solutions."

Dell, in the meantime, is the world's second-largest server vendor, just behind Hewlett-Packard. However, Teich wrote, Dell's server shipment numbers may be undercounted by analysts because Dell Data Center Services (DCS) produces servers for hyperscale deployments, an area where server numbers are hard to count.

"Oracle is so far behind the learning curve for low-priced, high-volume hyperscale systems that a native development program would siphon away a significant amount of their SPARC R&D spend, and most likely would prevent Oracle from creating a competitive SPARC product offering. Dell has the enterprise-grade server technology and volume server business model to do credit to Oracle's volume software stack," he wrote.

NEXT: Understanding The Dell-Oracle Relationship

The expanded Dell-Oracle relationship stems from the May 2013 Dell Enterprise Forum where Dell surprised solution providers and customers by unveiling a new relationship with Oracle that the companies said will bring Oracle's business-critical software to market on Dell's x86 server platform.

Under that new worldwide alliance, Dell was named a preferred x86 server partner by Oracle, while Oracle became a preferred enterprise infrastructure partner of Dell.

Oracle President Mark Hurd unveiled the partnership in a video presentation at the Dell Enterprise Forum during which he said that his company will work with Dell to deliver integrated hardware and software solutions, with software optimized to run on Dell's x86-based servers.

The news Wednesday from Dell was not nearly as dramatic.

Michael Dell said his company has entered an engineering-level partnership with Oracle under which Oracle Enterprise Manager 12c is being integrated with Dell OpenManage, a systems management solution that uses inherent management capabilities in Dell servers, storage and networking devices to automate tasks and control maintenance schedules.

With the integration, customers will have a single interface to view their entire infrastructure from hardware to applications, Michael Dell said.

It is slated to give businesses visibility into both their Dell infrastructure and the Oracle databases present on the hardware, he said. "This new level of visibility and integration will help optimize performance and ensure that optimum levels of service will be achieved," Michael Dell said.

Dell on Wednesday also introduced Oracle Linux and Oracle VM virtualization support to the Dell Active Infrastructure.

Dell Active Infrastructure is Dell's converged infrastructure solution that combines the company's server, storage, networking and management technology into a complete system.

The new Dell Active Infrastructure for Oracle solutions means that customers get access to first-call support from Dell Services and can purchase and renew Oracle Linux and Oracle VM support services directly from Dell.

"And Dell Active Infrastructure for Oracle will be the basis for future integration with Oracle," Michael Dell said.

NEXT: More On The Dell-Oracle Relationship

Dell is very focused on its Active Infrastructure, Winslow's Gouin said.

"As a Dell partner, the more Dell adds, the more we have to point to at Dell," he said. "This absolutely will help us gain more data center floor tiles."

Other Dell and Oracle news unveiled Wednesday included an update to Dell's Toad database development and administration solution that delivers support for Oracle Database 12c and provides such new functionalities as multitenancy, diagnostic messaging, upgraded extraction, transformation and loading (ETL) capabilities, and more.

Dell also unveiled Toad Mac Edition, a no-cost application to help provide database development capabilities for Oracle, MySQL and PostgreSQL.

Also new is Dell support for Oracle Database 12c in its Dell SharePlex software, which is targeted at Oracle database replication. Dell also unveiled a new SharePlex Connector for Hadoop to provide near real-time replication from Oracle databases including Oracle Database 12c directly to Hadoop HDFS and HBase environments.

Finally, Dell also introduced a new suite of end-to-end services for large- and medium-scale implementations of Oracle's Agile Product Lifecycle Management (PLM) solution.

Dell said the integration between Oracle Enterprise Manager and Dell OpenManage will be available early 2014, while Dell Active Infrastructure for Oracle and the new versions of Toad for Oracle and SharePlex are currently available.