I’m No Longer An Oracle ACE But Even I Know This: SPARC SuperCluster Will “Redefine Information Technology.” Forget Best Of Breed (Intel, EMC, VMware, Etc).

Before Oracle recruited me in 2007, to be the Performance Architect in the Exadata development organization, I was an Oracle ACE. As soon as I got my Oracle employee badge I was surprised to find out that I was removed from the roles of the Oracle ACE program. As it turned out Oracle Employees could not hold Oracle ACE status. Shortly thereafter, the ACE program folks created the Oracle Employee ACE designation and I was put into that status. In March 2011 I resigned from my role in Exadata development to take on the challenge of Performance Architect in the Data Computing Division of EMC focusing on the Data Computing Appliance and Greenplum Database.

Oracle Expertise Within EMC
Knowing a bit about Oracle means that I’m involved in Oracle-related matters in EMC. That should not come as a surprise since there are more blocks of Oracle data stored on EMC storage devices than any other enterprise-class storage. So, while I no longer focus on Exadata I remain very involved in Oracle Database matters in EMC—in at least an oblique fashion. So you say, “Remind me what this has to do with SPARC SuperCluster.” Please, read on.

So, my status in the Oracle ACE program has gone from non-ACE to ACE to non-ACE to ACE to non-ACE. It turns out that readers of this blog have noticed that fact. Not just two weeks ago I received email from a reader with the following quote:

Kevin, I read your blog for many years. I really like learning about system and storage topics and Oracle. You are not an Oracle ACE so I want you to remove the logo from you (sic) front page

I responded in agreement to the reader and am about to remove the Oracle ACE logo from the front page. She is right and I certainly don’t want to misrepresent myself.

Ace Director
Some of my fellow OakTable Network members started the paperwork to refer me into ACE Director status. They needed me to supply some information for the form but before I filled it out I read the ACE Director requirements. As ACE Director I would be required to speak at a certain number of conferences, or other public forums, covering material that helps Oracle customers be more successful with Oracle products. I gave that some thought. I certainly have no problems doing that—and indeed, I have done that and continue to do that. But, Oracle has acquired so many companies that no matter where I decided to go after leaving Oracle I couldn’t avoid working for a company that Oracle views as competition. To put it another way, Oracle views everyone in the enterprise technology sector as competition and everyone in return views Oracle as co-opetition or competition.

In my assessment, Oracle’s acquisitions have moved the company into a co-opetitive posture where companies like EMC are concerned. EMC and Oracle share customers. Conversely, EMC shares customers with all of Oracle’s software competitors as well. That’s the nature of industry consolidation. What does this have to do with the ACE program? Well, my current role in EMC will not be lending itself to many public speaking opportunities—at least not in the foreseeable future. For that, and a couple other reasons, I decided not to move forward with the ACE Director nomination put in motion by my fellow OakTable cadre. And, no, I haven’t forgot that this post is about SPARC SuperCluster goodness.

Oracle dominates the database market today. That is a fact. Oracle got to that position because choosing Oracle meant no risk of hardware lock-in. Remember “Open Systems?” Oracle was ported and optimized for a mind-boggling number of hardware/operating system platforms. I was a part of that for 10 years in my role within Sequent Computer System’s database engineering group.

This is all fresh in mind because I had dinner with one of the Vice Presidents in Oracle Server Technology just three nights ago. We’ve been friend for many years–about 15 or so if I recall. When we get together we enjoy discussing what’s going on in the IT industry today while wincing over the fact that the industry in general seems to enjoy “re-discovery” of how to solve problems that we already solved at least once over the period of our relationship. That’s just called getting old in a fast-paced industry.

So, while I’m no longer in the Oracle ACE program I can still enjoy putting aside my day job as co-opetitor-at-large (my role at EMC) and enjoy the company of friends—especially with those of us who, in one way or another, helped Oracle become the dominant force in open systems database technology.

Your Best Interest In Mind: SPARC?
With the topics from my dinner three nights ago in mind, and my clean-slate feeling regarding my status in the Oracle ACE program, I sit here scratching my head and pondering current IT industry events. Consider the meltdown of Hewlett-Packard (I could have wiped out 50% of HP’s market cap for less than 25 million dollars and I speak a good bit of Deutsch to boot), Larry-versus-Larry, Oracle’s confusion over the fact that Exadata is in fact commodity x86 servers) and how, on September 26 2011, we get the privilege of hearing how a has-been processor architecture (SPARC) in the latest SuperCluster offering is going to “redefine the IT industry.”

Redefine the IT industry? Really? Sounds more like open systems lock-in to me.

I personally think cloud computing is more likely to redefine the IT industry than some SPARC-flavored goodies. That point of view, as it turns out, is just another case where a non-Oracle ACE co-opetitor like me disagrees with Oracle executives. Indeed, could the pro-cloud viewpoint I share with EMC and VMware be any different from that of Oracle corporation’s leadership? Does anyone remember the following quote regarding Oracle Corporation’s view of the cloud?

What is it? It’s complete gibberish. It’s insane. When is this idiocy going to stop?

We’ll make cloud computing announcements. I’m not going to fight this thing. But I don’t understand what we would do differently in the light of cloud.

Don’t understand what to do in light of cloud computing? Is that a mystery? No, it’s called DBaaS and vFabric Data Director is most certainly not just one of those me-too “cloud computing announcements” alluded to in the quote above.

Life Is A Series Of Choices
You (IT shops) can choose to pursue cloud computing. You can choose x86 or SPARC stuff. You can choose to fulfill your x86 server sourcing requirements from a vendor committed to x86 or not.  You can fulfill your block and file storage requirements with products from a best of breed neutral storage vendor or not.  And, finally, you can choose to read this blog whether or not I hold Oracle ACE program status. I’d prefer you choose the former rather than the latter.

By the way, Oracle announced the SuperCluster about 9 months ago:  http://www.oracle.com/us/corporate/press/192208

I lost my Oracle ACE designation because I became an Oracle employee, SPARC Supercluster isn’t going to redefine anything and I still remember the real definition of “Open Systems.” I also know, all to well, what the term co-opetition means.

17 Responses to “I’m No Longer An Oracle ACE But Even I Know This: SPARC SuperCluster Will “Redefine Information Technology.” Forget Best Of Breed (Intel, EMC, VMware, Etc).”

  1. 1 Ofir September 26, 2011 at 7:38 am

    short and direct, as usual 🙂
    From what I read, Oracle moved from 16 cores / socket in T3 to 8 cores / socket in T4, but to compensate it increased the core multiplier from 0.25 on T3 to 0.5 on T4:

    Click to access processor-core-factor-table-070634.pdf

    It will be interesting to see Oracle performance of Solaris 11 on T4, they claim to be able to provide decent single threaded performance. Especially compared to Oracle on RHEL 6 on 8-core Xeon E5 (sandy bridge).. Once Oracle agrees to certify on RHEL 6, that is.
    Although in every practical sense, the world has moved on to intel/linux(/vmware) long time ago.

    • 2 kevinclosson September 26, 2011 at 2:08 pm


      Yeah…long, I know.

      When mentioning Xeon E5, best to make sure to stipulate “real Sandy Bridge” which is LGA-2011 so as to not confuse with the “little brother” SocketB2 (LGA-1356) parts. I should blog that one.

  2. 3 Gary September 26, 2011 at 9:35 am

    You could request to be acknowledged as a ACE Alumnus


    I don’t think that you need it though

  3. 5 Tim Hall September 26, 2011 at 11:06 am

    Now you are no longer an ACE I refuse to believe anything you say… 🙂



    PS. Gonna miss you at OOW this year.

  4. 7 Noons September 26, 2011 at 11:45 am

    Hmmm, I never cared much for that idiocy called “Oracle Ace”.
    Call me weird, but something that is DEFINED as a reward for Oracle advocacy, suddenly turns into YAOCS – Yet Another Oracle “Certification” Scheme?
    What, marketing and advocacy are now a synonym for technical ability and professionalism?
    Welcome back to the sane world, Kevin. And I don’t give a fig about what shows in badges in this site – matter of fact, had never noticed there was one of those badges here!
    Ah yes: and SPARC redefining the industry?
    (back off slowly, keep eye contact…)

  5. 9 Jay Weinshenker September 26, 2011 at 3:22 pm

    Hey, even Commodore has made a comeback, why not Sparc?

  6. 11 Hemant K Chitale September 27, 2011 at 8:16 am

    The two important phrases :
    “choosing Oracle meant no risk of hardware lock-in.”.
    Yes, it was “run Oracle on hardware from any vendor” in those days !

    “sounds more like open systems lock-in to me”
    Now, that’s a new one but something people must think about. Just a few days ago, I was wondering to myself …. there are many systems dependent on one single architecture Intel-Linux. What if it breaks / fails some day ? Not for lack of marketing, but from some serious architecture flaw ?

  7. 13 Anonymous Coward September 27, 2011 at 5:35 pm

    Reminder: You haven’t removed the ACE logo yet as you promise in the blog post.

  8. 15 neerajbhatia October 7, 2011 at 5:48 pm

    Interesting post Kevin 🙂


  1. 1 Little Things Doth Crabby Make – Part XV. Oracle SPARC SuperCluster Is Much Faster Than IBM Power Systems! No Squinting Allowed! « Kevin Closson's Blog: Platforms, Databases and Storage Trackback on October 20, 2011 at 4:07 am
  2. 2 Little Things Doth Crabby Make – Part XV. Oracle SPARC SuperCluster Is Much Faster Than IBM Power Systems! No Squinting Allowed! « Ukrainian Oracle User Group Trackback on October 20, 2011 at 3:34 pm

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