OpenWorld 2012: What's in store

A wealth of software, hardware and "engineered systems" news is on tap

By , IDG News Service |  Software

Bottomless cups of Java: The JavaOne conference, which starts Sunday, will give attendees a look at where the open-source Java programming language is going from a number of perspectives.

A keynote covering Oracle's future strategy for Java, as well as a technical Java keynote, are scheduled for Sunday. Later in the week, a keynote covering Java community issues is on tap. This is all on top of some 400 planned sessions.

Oracle's Amazon Web Services?: Ellison also revealed during last week's earnings call that Oracle will announce a new IaaS (infrastructure as a service) offering at OpenWorld, but didn't mention many details.

The CEO may provide more information on Sunday, but it seems more likely that the nitty-gritty details will come on Wednesday during a keynote by Fowler and other executives.

One general question that may be answered is whether Oracle is interested in competing head-to-head with the likes of Amazon Web Services and Rackspace for all sorts of IaaS business, or mostly planning to offer the IaaS to existing customers who would ordinarily use those other services.

Overall, Oracle's entry into IaaS "is likely to mean one thing: lower prices for computing power from all of the big incumbents," Canaccord Genuity analyst Richard Davis said in a research note issued Friday.

This is good news for "disruptive technology startups" and SaaS (software as a service) vendors as well, according to Davis.

Bragging rights: San Franciscans are still reeling from the last big software event held at the Moscone Center, Salesforce.com's Dreamforce. That show reportedly drew 90,000 registered attendees, a figure helped by the fact there was no charge to attend keynotes as well as a number of musical events.

Salesforce.com CEO Marc Benioff crowed that this year's Dreamforce was the industry's largest-ever "vendor-led" enterprise technology event.

Given that he and Ellison have a long-standing rivalry, it's not so surprising that Oracle is offering a special US$75 "Discover Pass" to OpenWorld, which provides entry to keynotes, the exhibition hall, the Oracle music festival and other aspects of the show, albeit none of the 2,000 sessions.

Oracle isn't promising that more than 90,000 people will show up in San Francisco for OpenWorld, but the vendor is still making some big claims.

Some 50,000 showgoers from 123 countries will attend in person, on top of a cool million tuning in online, and the show will have a $120 million economic impact on the Bay area, according to an official blog post.

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