What to expect at Oracle OpenWorld

Big announcements could include a new database, clarity on cloud pricing and new 'engineered systems'

By , IDG News Service |  

Last year at OpenWorld, it debuted two new systems, Exalytics and the Big Data Appliance. It's not clear whether the vendor plans to debut yet another new flavor of engineered system this year, and it already recently announced a major upgrade to the software stack that runs its Exalogic application-server machine.

One possibility, then, would be a new version or versions of Exadata. "On Exadata, assume that Oracle is always looking to improve how data gets allocated among disk, flash and RAM," Monash said.

OpenWorld showgoers will at the very least get a sneak peek at the product's road map, according to information in the online session catalog.

The show would also be a good time for Oracle to make a key announcement for its other hardware products, such as the SPARC-based M-Series and T-Series servers, said Eric Guyer, a consultant who helps clients negotiate deals with the company.

"[Co-President] Mark Hurd has been saying he wants the most profitable channel in the industry, which nobody really believes," Guyer said.

Therefore, it would be good for Oracle to loosen up on its past statement that it would sell directly to its 2,000 largest customers, and let hardware resellers in on more of the action, he added. "I don't think they're going to do that, but I think they need to do that to be successful, if they're going to be in the SPARC business."

Can Oracle clear up its cloud confusion?

Oracle initially announced its Public Cloud service at last year's OpenWorld, and followed that up with a launch event in June. But it's still not clear when all of its offerings, which include a Java PaaS (platform as a service), cloud version of Oracle's database and the full range of Oracle's next-generation Fusion Applications will be generally available.

Nor has Oracle provided public pricing for its cloud products, although it has said that they will use a subscription model, which is common in cloud services.

"I'd like to see them now say not that 'it's done,' but, 'here's the price,'" Guyer said.

Oracle, long used to the steady predictability of on-premise license sales and annual maintenance revenue, may be having a tough time figuring out how to price the applications via subscription for the mass market in a way that preserves its profitability. But it may end up solving the riddle by the time OpenWorld rolls around.

One thing is for sure: "Everything they sell they want to be able to deliver in a cloud delivery model," said Forrester Research vice president Paul Hamerman.

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