Wheeling And Dealing: 12 Scenes From The Oracle OpenWorld Sales Extravaganza

Setting The Scene

Oracle's annual OpenWorld has grown over the years into an event that is impossible to ignore, and not only for San Francisco residents who must deal with the crush of 60,000-plus people descending on the city's downtown.

OpenWorld, simply put, is a place where deals get done. It's a place where well-oiled sales pitches are put to the test; a place where marketing strategies meet the road; and perhaps most of all, a kind of World Series for Oracle sales superstars to shine.

CRN was there to take it all in, and following are 12 scenes that illustrate the intense background hum of tech deals being struck at the event.

Official Oracle Executive Transportation

Oracle had a fleet of black SUVs waiting outside the St. Regis Hotel in downtown San Francisco, which many OpenWorld attendees used as a base of operations during the conference.

Oracle made sure no one got confused in assuming these vehicles were from ride services Uber or Lyft, clearly indicating what and whom these vehicles were intended for.

Basking In The Glow Of Commerce

Outside the OpenWorld conference, there were tables, chairs and even a stage where musicians performed throughout the event. It certainly helped that San Francisco was enjoying sunny, warm weather, which hasn't always been the case at previous OpenWorld conferences.

If things got too crowded inside, OpenWorld attendees could head outdoors and hammer out deals under the blazing sun. CRN witnessed several meetings taking place here that looked like big software deals, though that couldn't be independently confirmed.

Oracle Still Doing America's Cup Victory Lap

Oracle Team USA won the America's Cup last year while the OpenWorld event was going on, and Larry Ellison raised some hackles by skipping a scheduled keynote in order to watch the race.

Oracle is still fired up about that historic win, and here, the company presented one of the boats in the race so that OpenWorld attendees could catch a glimpse of nautical racing greatness.

Oracle's Blazing-Fast New M7 Processor

John Fowler, executive vice president of systems at Oracle, showed off a specially designed SPARC M7 processor during a press conference. It uses technology Oracle gained in its 2010 acquisition of his former employer Sun Microsystems.

Oracle CTO Larry Ellison has described the SPARC M7 as "the most important thing we've done in Silicon" because it offers dramatically faster database and app performance. It's slated to arrive sometime in 2015.

Gigantic Line To See Larry Ellison's Keynote

One of the unofficial traditions at OpenWorld is long lines for Larry Ellison's annual conference keynotes, which, of course, is inevitable when you have 60,000-plus people cramming into a conference hall.

Everyone was willing to queue up because they wanted to hear Ellison talk about his latest and greatest technology. But this year offered the added intrigue of Ellison just having stepped down as CEO to take the CTO job.

Patience, Perseverance Pays Off

As the queue empties into the conference hall where Ellison would be speaking, a palpable surge of excitement rippled through the crowd. And for good reason: Ellison gave his own tech demos during the keynote, joking that this is something he would've had help with had he been CEO.

In the end, because Ellison has been driving technology direction at Oracle since the get-go, things went off without a hitch.

Oracle's Cloud Platform

Ellison used to think the term "cloud computing" was silly, but he's softened this rhetoric over the past few years. At OpenWorld, Oracle's Cloud Platform was front and center, occupying a huge amount of attention.

With SaaS, IaaS and PaaS, Oracle said it now boasts a cloud portfolio that no other company can match. In this photo, attendees were still settling into their seats to hear Ellison speak when the CTO took the stage.

Over To The Expo Hall

Oracle has lots of ISV and technology partners, and many of them were on hand to hawk their latest products on the expo hall show floor. Vendor ThoughtSpot had this intriguing banner, which encouraged people to tweet about their horror stories using business intelligence software.

Anything Can Happen In The Field

Sweden-based IFS Applications reminded everyone that anything can happen in the field, using the example of a goat chewing through telecommunications cables and disrupting phone landline service to 46,000 customers as an example.

IFS Applications said anything can happen to software in the field, too. It sells an on-premises software solution in partnership with Oracle, and a cloud-based offering through its partnership with Microsoft running on its Azure cloud.

Rare Lull In The Action

The normally chaotic scene outside the event mellowed a bit in the afternoon, after everyone headed off to close deals and check out technical sessions about Oracle's latest hardware and software. And, of course, the downtown San Francisco setting was ideal for off-site meetings as well.

All About The Cloud

Oracle OpenWorld this year was pretty much all about how the company has caught up to everyone else in the cloud market, and is poised to start wreaking havoc on other cloud players, including Amazon.

Beer And Coffee

Tech Mahindra sponsored this lounge, which served coffee to OpenWorld attendees until 2 p.m., then added beer to the menu. If coffee is for closers, how do you categorize beer?